February’s movies with $ for charity

I started using Letterboxd last month thanks to Sandy.  If you are interested in rating your movies and keeping tabs on your friends, check it out (sort of like Goodreads).  I’m stacybuckeye if you want to follow me and get a few more than 5 words about the movies I watched.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $14

Clearing movie poster.jpgThe Clearing, 2004 (Cast-Robert Redford, Helen Mirren, Willem Dafoe)           Grade B

Chilling, quiet well-acted thriller.

 Not happy, too tragic.  (Michelle)

Winter's tale (film).jpgWinter’s Tale, 2014 (Cast-Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith)   Grade B

Sweet love story for Valentines.

 Muddled mess of a movie.   (Kathy)

Colin Farrell: kind of magical.  (Tony)

Madagascar3-Poster.jpgMadagascar 3, 2012 (Cast (voices)- Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwinner)    Grade B

Solid sequel, with a circus!

Fun sequel and bright colors!  (Heather)

The Monuments Men poster.jpgMonuments Men, 2014 (Cast-George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray)                   Grade B-

Stealing Stolen Art from Hitler!!

The Shape of Things Poster.jpgThe Shape of Things, 2003 (Cast-Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Mol, Fred Weller)           Grade C+

Power of suggestion = screwed up

A man, wearing a white jacket with a gun on his back, walks through a destroyed bridge. The tagline "Earth is a memory worth fighting for" appears on the top while Tom Cruise's name, the title of the film, the rating and the rest of the credits appears on the bottom.Oblivion, 2013 (Cast- Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Riseborough)     Grade C+

Visually beautiful, Convoluted alien plot

Great premise, a SciFi paradigm  (Michelle)

 Plot holes were too much.  (Heather)

Primaryposter.jpgPrimary Colors, 1998. (Cast- John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Adrian Lester)     Grade C+

Ladies man Bill gets elected.

Wait, Clinton is the hero?  (Tony)

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with AutismThe Reason I Jump. Finished 2-25-14, autism memoir, 150 pages, pub. 2007 (English translation 2013)

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

 In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.

from Goodreads

Reading books told from the perspective of a person with autism is hard for me.  It’s difficult to imagine my Gage having to deal with all of that on a daily basis, but I read the introduction written by bestselling author David Mitchell, whose own son suffers from autism, and decided that this one would be worth the read. And it was.  Yes, there was a place or two I cried, but overall this book gives some hope and clarity.  This is a 13-year-old boy who can’t speak and yet has the ability to communicate his feelings letter by letter, word by word, paragraph by paragraph.

I think everyone should read this book.  It’s short, the book contains illustrations and a few pieces of short fiction by Higashida, but the bulk of it is Higashida showing the world that autism does not mean unintelligent or unaware and that they are hurt when they disappoint the people they love.  Every person with an autism diagnosis is not the same, not even close, each one having strengths and problem areas- just like every other kid, but everyone will gain a better perspective after an hour with this book. He does not speak for every autistic child, like he sometimes says he does, but he does offer a real insight into his emotional world.

I wish there had been more, but what there was is good. Did you know that in the U.S. 1 in 54 boys is being diagnosed on the spectrum?  I think everyone should take the time to learn a little more.  Here’s a taste of one of the questions…

Why do you ask the same questions over and over?
It’s true, I always ask the same questions. “What day is it today?” or “Is it a school day tomorrow?” The reason? I very quickly forget what it is I’ve just heard. Inside my head there isn’t such a big difference between what I was told just now and what I heard long ago.

I imagine a normal person’s memory is arranged continuously, like a line. My memory, however, is more like a pool of dots. I’m always “picking up” these dots – by asking my questions – so I can arrive back at the memory that the dots represent.

But there’s another reason for our repeated questioning: it lets us play with words. We aren’t good at conversation, and however hard we try, we’ll never speak as effortlessly as you do. The big exception, however, is words or phrases we’re very familiar with. Repeating these is great fun. It’s like a game of catch. Unlike the words we’re ordered to say, repeating questions we already know the answers to can be a pleasure – it’s playing with sound and rhythm.

I checked this out from our library.

Weighty Issue Quiz – guessing closed

In 2010 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and also became the not-so-proud owner of an extra 40 pounds.  This is the year I’ve decided to get rid of 30 of those pounds.  It’s too hard for me to be the mother I want to be with the extra weight.  I’ve lost 10 pounds so far and can fit back into one old pair of jeans, only 10 or so more pairs to go 😉  I’ve been too skinny and I’ve been obese (according to those stupid BMI people) and I’m shooting for somewhere in the middle.  It’s not vanity but a health thing – Gage needs me around for a long while and I need to quit stress eating at the drive-thru.

Let’s see if you can match these fictinoal characters who have all struggled with their weight or body images issues and the books you find their stories in.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extras can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize.

1. Cannie Shapiro          C. Good in Bed

2. Truly Plaice               E. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

3. Minerva Dobbs          D. Bet Me

4. Heather Wells           F. Size 12 is Not Fat

5. Benny Hogan           A.Circle of Friends

6. Dolores Price             I. She’s Come Undone

7. Ignatius Reilly            J. The Confederacy of Dunces

8. Holly Brennan           B. Big Girl Panties

9. Arthur Opp                 G. Heft

10. Edie Middlestein       H. The Middlesteins

Answers to last weeks Sports Quiz here.   Details and Leaderboard here.

Mailbox Monday – February 24

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

A few kid’s books arrived from Red Feather Productions, all by the author Carole P Roman.  (The Treasure of Snake Island, Whaley’s Big Adventure, If You Were Me and Lived in…India) Thank you!  I’m planning a week long activity fest with Gage using all of the country books we’ve collected so far!


On Saturday after a lovely dinner Jason and I walked to the local indie bookstore and I bought a few things. I got the two books for $1 each (Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris, One True Thing by Anna Quindlen) and I paid whatever they asked for the beautiful box of 100 Jane Austen postcards. The box is very nice and I shared a few of the postcards so that you can see how cool they are!  If you are an Austen fan and want one mailed  your way, let me know 🙂


So what arrived in your mailbox this week?

Saturday Snapshot – Good for a Giggle

For years, every summer we would spend the better part of a week on Kelley’s Island with my parents.  One house that we walked past a few years ago seemed to have one of those summer long yard sales so my mom and I took pity and stopped in.  I actually did buy some beautiful Japanese tea cups, but it was this that gave me a giggle.  And inspired me to take a picture.


I just love that this man was trying to sell his old relatives for $2 🙂  I’d ask a few dollars more for my own, what about you?

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress: A NovelThe Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress. Finished 2-19-14, rating 4.75/5, historical fiction, 308 pages, pub. 2014

A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930-Justice Joseph Crater’s infamous disappearance-as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden.

from Goodreads

Since joining the women at She Reads last September I have received a monthly treat in my mailbox – a book that I may not have chosen, but once read, I loved.  This was no exception. I definitely would not have picked this up on my own (gangsters, prohibition and showgirls are not my thing really), but once I started I was immediately drawn into their world.  I could feel the smoky rooms, smell the liquor and hear the jazz of the early 1930’s.  The fact that this was based on a true story, the disappearance of a New York Supreme Court judge, that has never been solved added extra interest.  Now that I’ve read Lawhon’s take on it I am more curious about what really happened and I’m in good company since this is a mystery that tantalized the public for a good 50 years.

Told from the perspective of the three women in Crater’s life, his perfect wife, his flashy mistress and his hard-working maid, this book keeps you on your toes as you jump from one woman to another.  There were also changes in the time frame thrown in that kept me off-balance but in a good way as it kept momentum moving forward.  I loved the women, although Stella did perplex me at times, and was rooting for them all to have their happy ending.  There was no shortage of very bad things happening to people in the story, so a happy ending was not in the cards for everyone.

This book really did have a little bit of everything. There were really bad bad guys, politicians without morals, the glitz of New York City, sexy showgirls, hardworking people trying to better themselves, lies, heartbreak, and, of course, murder.  I loved it.

If you want to see the real pictures of the major players and find out why Lawthon was intrigued, read here.  Also, there is an awesome giveaway for book clubs with very cool shot glasses here.

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.

Sports Movie Quiz – guessing closed

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extras can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize 🙂

Tell me what sports movie each quote is from.

1.  If you build it, he will come.  Field of Dreams

2. Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don’t forget to breathe, very important.  The Karate Kid

[walks away, still making circular motions with hands]

3.  [preparing to dynamite the gopher tunnel] In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher’.  Caddyshack

4. In Virginia, high school football is a way of life, it’s bigger than Christmas day. My daddy coached in Alexandria, he worked so hard my momma left him, but I stayed with coach, he needed me on that field.   Remember the Titans

5. Welcome to Indiana basketball.  Hoosiers

6. You’re 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.   Rudy

7.  Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!  A League of Their Own

8. These are the ground rules. I hook up with one guy a season. Usually takes me a couple weeks to pick the guy – kinda my own spring training. And, well, you two are the most promising prospects of the season so far, so I just thought we should kinda get to know each other.   Bull Durham

9. All I’m saying, mon, is if we walk Jamaican, talk Jamaican, and *is* Jamaican, then we sure as hell better bobsled Jamaican.  Cool Runnings

10.  ADRIAN!  Rocky

Happy guessing!

Details and leaderboard  here.  Last week’s sibling quiz here.

Valentine’s Day with Gage

This year I was happy to find Shrek Valentine cards, he’s one of Gage’s favorites.  He practiced writing his name on them – with lots of help.


I was invited to his class party where we decorated bags to collect cards and had snacks.  Doesn’t he look so grown up passing out his cards?


After school and lunch with Grandma where we went through his bag, we went to the community center and passed out more Valentine’s Day cards.  I have no pictures of this because I was too busy encouraging and enjoying the fun.  We had extra stickers and on Thursday Gage let me put Fiona on his hand.  As of this morning she was still there.  Must be true love.



We had lots of fun this year and he loved redecorating his Valentine’s with the stickers he received from his teacher.

I hope you all had a day with as much fun!

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter: A NovelBlackberry Winter. Finished audio 2-6-14, rating 3.75/5, fiction. pub. 2012

Unabridged audio 10 hours 6 minutes.  Read by Tara Sands

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…

from Goodreads

I read The Violets of March a few years ago and loved it, so I was happy to see a quick return visit to our friends on Bainbridge Island in this book.  I still love Jio’s writing, but this one missed the mark of being great read for me.  Still good, still want to read her other books, but this one won’t be making my favorite list.

I like the alternating storylines, and that’s a good thing since everyone seems to be doing it these days, and Jio does it so well.  We start with Vera, a very poor single mom trying to raise her young son during the Depression-era.  She has to work at night and sometimes has to leave Daniel alone in their small apartment above a tavern.  As the story moves along we learn who Daniel’s father is and why he’s not in their lives anymore.  Claire is the modern-day storyline.  She is a reporter who has married into a very wealthy family, but has suffered a loss that is causing the crumbling of her marriage.

As with any alternating storyline plot there are always going to be coincidences that connect the two, you expect it and accept it, but there were just so many in this one, too many for my logical brain to accept.  And I did have a likeability problem with Claire. She was whiny for much of the book and I get that that was the place she was in at the time, but it didn’t make me all that invested in her story.  It was Vera and Daniel’s story that drew me in. I wanted to know what had happened to him!

A note about the audio production, I hated the voices the narrator used for the men.  She was fine otherwise, but the men in the story suffered.  I checked the audio out of the library.

I liked this one, didn’t love it, and can’t wait to read more from Jio.