Archive for June, 2011
Today was a big day in the Speer household, and I mean a BIG day. For one very excited little girl, it must have seemed bigger than Christmas, her birthday, and the last day of school all rolled into one.
Today was the day we sent Crisana – our “baby” – away to summer camp for the very first time.
She was a great helper, labeling all her clothes and getting all her gear packed. Somehow we managed to get the suitcase closed.
We arrived at the Joann Fogg Service Center in Dallas with all the necessary forms and paperwork, properly labeled medications, not to mention the girly sleeping bag, pillowcase and required stuffed animal. Crisana could hardly contain herself as we worked our way through the registration process, having her feet checked for blisters and her hair checked for lice, turning in the medications, and loading up her store account.
As I was finishing up the check-in process, I discovered Matt talking to another dad in the waiting area. Turns out, they had both worked together at Matt’s last firm. They had an 8-year-old daughter who was also attending the same session of camp, alone, that Crisana was. We introduced them and they hit it off right away. They couldn’t wait to get on the bus and load their things.
As we said good-bye, we saw them sitting together, laughing and having a great time. God gave me the peace I needed to say good-bye without any tears, the reassurance to know He was with her, and the joy of watching her take these first big steps toward independence.
Sometimes I read a book because it looks interesting.
Sometimes I read a book because it’s by a favorite author.
Sometimes I read a book because the title intrigues me.
And sometimes I read a book because I want to seem fancy and intellectual.
That’s why I read this book. The cover is based of a Vincent van Gogh painting. That’s pretty fancy and intellectual, I thought.
The author is from Sicily and resides in both London and Sicily. That’s pretty fancy and intellectual, I thought.
The story is about a simple almond-picker-turned housemaid who has some mysterious connection to the Sicilian mafia, which is only discovered after her death. That’s pretty fancy and intellectual, I thought.
So I checked it out, so I could be all fancy and intellectual, too. And I carried it around with me for a few weeks: to doctor’s visits, to coffee shops and friendly lunches, to the pool and the gym, so I, too, could look fancy and intellectual, all the while secretly hoping someone would ask about my book so I could talk about it and sound fancy and intellectual.
But for all that fancy-ness and intellectual-ness, I was disappointed. There were too many characters, which I guess is understandable if you’re all fancy with the Sicilian mafia. The plot line was at points too complicated and too simplistic, which I guess happens when you’re all intellectual with the Sicilian upper crust. The moment of truth when the mystery is uncovered was nearly anti-climactic, which is completely unexpected in a book that appears to be fancy and intellectual.
Ah, well, at least I can tell people I’ve read the book, making me appear to be the fancy intellectual I long to be. And no one has to know the difference.
Welcome to Gallerie’ d’Crisana, the world’s only collection of art created by yet-to-be-famous Fairview artist Crisana Speer!
We begin your tour with a welcome sign and a friendly reminder:
Just in case you can’t read the fine print, it says: Do not toch exept for: family, relitivs, and Raegan, if she ever sees me againÂ I miss you Raegan.
Consider yourselves warned.Â And missed.
If you’ll allow me the privilege, I’ll be your docent on our tour today.Â We even have a window into the mind of the artist herself through her own words, written inside the placard beside each piece.Â It *is* an interactive gallery, mind you, to a certain extent (or if your name happens to be Raegan). Read the rest of this entry »
The boys are gone.Â For the next 7 days, the Speer household is devoid of any hint of testosterone.Â No stinky boys making dirty laundry.Â No sweaty, muddy shoes lining the stairway or littering the living room.Â No need to tolerate endless discussions of Poke’mon strategy, Bionicle creations, or Star Wars: The Clone Wars developments.Â No need to negotiate time between endless reruns of Poke’mon: Black and White or Ben 10: Alien Force or Johnny Test in the mornings.
Nope, this week belongs to the girls.Â This week will be filled with estrogen-laden fun and, by default, lots of chocolate, ice cream, or cookie dough.Â Maybe even all three. Read the rest of this entry »
And now for something completely different…
We’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous…or from flowery prose to gritty suspense…from artistic beauty to a psychological thriller.Â Or something like that.Â But, seriously, it’s about an architect for crying out loud.Â How could I not read it??
To be completely honest, I checked this book out last summer.Â And probably renewed it at least once.Â Ieven started reading it.Â But, unfortunately, I never finished it.Â Or at least I don’t think I did.Â Took me close to 200 of the 289 pages (not counting the blank ones in between chapters) to come to a part I didn’t remember reading before.Â So either I finished the book in my sleep, or I got 2/3 of the way through a book and gave up.Â Trust me, I realize neither possibility makes me look good.
I’ve never read any of Keith Ablow’s books before and I may never read another one, but this was certainly brain candy at its finest.Â Full of cliche’ and straight-out-of-Hollywood dialogue, this book was neither challenging nor enlightening.Â But it was fun.Â And sometimes, that’s exactly the point.
While most of the “good guys” in the story were fairly predictable and pedantic, I found the characterization of the “bad guy” – the architect, of course – fascinating.Â Not merely in the description of his professional abilities – the descriptions of the incredible structures he designed, the ability to create such beauty out of raw material,Â the artistic eye that saw beyond the picture and into his clients’ souls – but also in the mind of the sociopath he was.Â And though the ending was trite, it was satisfying.
So now, I think, it’s time for me to get into something meatier, something more meaningful.Â No more wading in the shallow end.Â It’s time to dive in and go deep.Â I’ve got a whole stack of books waiting to be read and the promise of a whole week with no husband to keep me company.Â Bring it on!
Ahh…the good old summertime.Â I look forward to summer for so many reasons, but one of them is that I get the excuse of carving out time to actually *read*.Â Like, as in GROWN-UP books.Â Books with chapters and multi-syllabic words.Â Books with hundreds of pages and small type.Â Books with at least 3 letters on the spine, not justÂ a big “E”.Â Books with NO PICTURES.
So, I’m going to return to the tradition I started two summers ago (and quickly abandoned last summer) and provide a book review of the books I read this summer.Â Feel free to comment or provide suggestions of great books you’ve read!
My mother is convinced I’m drawn to books with long titles.Â Whether or not that is true, I saw this book on the “new books” shelf at the library and thought the premise was interesting.Â It’s a book about writers – poets, specifically – at a writing school.Â Seemed a bit ironic, and since irony can be fascinating I decided to give it a try.
I was a little disappointed.Â About halfway through the book, I just stopped caring: about the characters, their issues, their angst, their effort at their craft.Â I found the main character, Roman, especially wearying: continually unable to be honest with himself and others; unable to loose himself of the perceived “burdens” of his past; unable to forgive his own weaknesses and celebrate his strengths.Â I finished the book, but felt no sympathy toward Roman, no sense of loss for what he suffered, no sadness at the turn of events that concluded the story.
All in all, I’d say I enjoyed the book, though it certainly didn’t live up to the hype on the back cover or the summary on the jacket.Â It was well-written with rich and beautiful phrases, even if the characters seemed shallow and 2-dimensional.Â But for the ease of reading, and the deft storytelling, I’d say it was a good way to kick off the summer reading club!