Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How I spent Easter and the week that followed

Trips to the park: Approximately 15.

Chocolate consumed: Countless.

Smingus dingus antics: None. Completely overlooked. I'm devastated by this realization.

Bottles of wine consumed: Not nearly enough.

Shopping expeditions: Mostly pointless, overly long, and unfair to small child.

Number of televisions playing at excessively loud volumes for excessively long periods of time and setting my whole body, not to mention my temper, on edge: Two.

Tempers lost: Mine, for reasons I don't yet have the perspective to wholly define. I won't count the little girl's episodes of frustration as they were hardly meltdowns, and none of them her fault but clearly attributable to boredom, glitches in routine meals and disrupted bedtime rituals, and not being paid attention (!). I have much griping to do actually, and am still waiting for my temper to fully settle before venturing an exposition of multigenerational family female dynamics.

Migraines suffered: Two, one of which is ongoing.

Despondent Leafs fan in a days-long funk: My brother.
Exuberant (perhaps overly so) Habs fan: That would be J-F.

Books acquired (at bargain prices):
Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women — to correct the oversight in my reading education.
MiĆ©ville, China: Iron Council — because I've been dying waiting for the mass market paperback, and this remaindered hardcover was super cheap.
Pinker, Steven: The Language Instinct — because my old copy was never returned to me.
Pearl, Matthew: The Dante Club — just because.
Wallace, David Foster: Infinite Jest — because some people think it's a big deal.
Walsh, Bill: The Elephants of Style — because I've been meaning to.

Books recovered from my mother's basement:
Boston, Lucy M: The River at Green Knowe
Clifton, N Roy: The City Beyond the Gates — both of which I have no recollection of, and I'm curious to rediscover why I thought them worth saving.
Collodi, Carlos: The Adventures of Pinocchio

DVDs acquired:
Watership Down
Middlemarch — Yay! With Rufus Sewell. Yum! Am deliberating how best to watch it: In one late-night 7-hour marathon? In daytime lunch-hour snippets? Daytime viewing should be postponed till after I've delivered a batch of work this week, and till after I've done my effing taxes. Consecutive evening showings would have to wait till the Habs are eliminated from the playoffs. Should I dispose of the child for a weekend? Do I make J-F watch it with me? Salty snacks or sweet? How many bottles of wine for 7 hours?

Movies watched:
The Adventures of Pinocchio
Saw II
Miami Rhapsody
History of Violence
Creep — which is excellently creepy!

Books read:
Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women
I did not read it as a young girl and thought I should. Frankly, I'm glad I didn't read it as a young girl, as I'm afraid to think what effect all the moralizing and godliness might've had on me. Ugh. The last few chapters were just awful. Still, I suppose there are some worthwhile lessons to take from these women regarding formation of character, so long as one has the ability to identify the timeless from the hopelessly dated. Weird, too, to read it on the tail of Middlemarch, to see the contrast between American and English sensibilities at a similar time period, although holding it against the mature and complex workings of Middlemarch also highlighted how juvenile Little Women is, not only in that its intended audience is young, but in how simple (and I mean that derogatorily) its construction and messaging is. I did enjoy its soapiness, however, and I suspect it's probably better read while not under the influence of PMS.

Buchanan, Andrea J, ed: It's A Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters
Blog book tour alights here May 5.

Glennon, Paul: The Dodecahedron
That is, I finally finished it. I have much (good) to say about it.

Walsh, Bill: The Elephants of Style
I love this guy, and trust him. He's funny; his points are well reasoned, and the reasoning is consistent and common-sensical.

The denouement
Bouts of car-sickness: Helena, just once, on the return trip, about 3 blocks from home.
First thing on arriving home: birthday party for 11-year-old cat, complete with hats and cake.
Hiding under the bed from excessive displays of toddler affection: one 11-year-old cat.


Diana said...

Oh, now you've got to read March!! In this book Marmee is actually a human with faults and their marriage is... real, with cracks and weaknesses. I was wishing that LW was fresher in my memory but life is too short to reread it, ya know?

rachel said...

One of my dirty little secrets is that I never finished Little Women. Hated. it. It's a dirty secret because I have often PRETENDED that I read it. I know what happens. I liked the movie with Susan Sarandon as Marmee. But I could not hack the book, even as a voracious ten year old.

(welcome back!)

Raehan said...

Little Women!! Enjoy. Try to become 12 again when you read it.

Middlemarch. Definitely watch Middlemarch only by yourself or with another woman, unless J-F is good and shutting up and letting you enjoy.

Watch it in three two-hour stints....if you can hold back.

Suzanne said...

Welcome back!

I've been meaning to read Bill Walsh's book; I love The Slot and its blog.

patricia said...

Welcome back! I missed you!

Here's my confession: I will NEVER read 'Little Women'. I saw the old movie and that was enough for me to realize how pedantic and just plain annoying it would be in book format. I think I will manage quite well as a woman without that reading experience.

Ahhh....cats and toddlers! Not a good mix, for sure! My two kitties end up hiding in the cupboard underneath our bathroom sink whenever little ones come knocking.

Martha said...

So glad to have you back, Isabella! Aren't family visits wonderful and awful and hopelessly complex, all at the same time? At least they are to me, especially since my Dad seems to be in the very first stages of some kind of age related dementia which makes him have uncharacteristic intense outbursts of rage at the most unexpected times. Woohoo.

I have Iron Council too, waiting on my stack of books to be read. I'm fascinated by China Mieville, and his bizarre, prodigious imagination. I've heard of the Dodecahedron, but have no idea what it is. I'll be looking forward to some kind of review or discussion about it.

Glad you weathered you visit, and that Helena did too. And too bad about the too few bottles of wine.

Arethusa said...

I have fond memories of "Little Women" probably because most of the moralising had...little to no effect whatsoever, having honed the skill of ignoring such devices with all the "children's bible storiess" I had to read (*shudder*). I'm still pissed about Jo and Teddy though.

Book Close Outs rocks.

Isabella said...

Rachel: I'm relieved to hear you say it. I mean, I ate it up, but I can't get rid of this unpleasant aftertaste.

Danielle said...

It sounds as though you had quite a full vacation! I don't remember reading Little Women as a child--I know the story well, but I think it is just from watching the movies. I have the book--now I am curious about it. I grew up Catholic, so it would have fit right in with my education. Not sure what happened to me, but the moralising might just grate on me now. Hm. I am looking forward to watching Middlemarch as soon as I finish the book. I guess I will have to find the Rufus Sewell version as he sounds so dishy.

Julie said...

My grandma gave me a copy of Little Women for my tenth birthday and I adored it. Reread it many, many times. I imagine it would be quite different to read it for the first time as an adult, though.