Sunday, September 29, 2013


I have this really cute and smart nephew who is about 9 years older than Babycakes.  Boo Boo has a lot of hand-me-downs from this nephew's baby days and it is fun to compare the pictures.  Sometimes I try to recreate certain pictures of my nephew to make it extra fun, like this picture of him with my brother:

Here's our version:

Nailed it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Cousin Rachel: The Movie in my Head

I am currently reading Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel for the manyth time.  I love this book!  But I digress.  Sort of.  Anyway, for many years now I have had a movie cast in my head for this book.  It is not a practical sort of cast by any means, but I invariably picture the characters like so when I read it.

Philip: I have always dearly, dearly loved the idea of Ioan Gruffudd as Philip.  Maybe because he played another Philip (in Great Expectations) but mostly because in his younger days he was just perfect for the part!

(Also, remember how great Horatio Hornblower was?  Remember when A&E did awesome miniseries instead of a million reality shows ending with the word "wars"?)

As for Ambrose, I could never quite picture him for some reason.  Or maybe I never bothered to, since Philip was his doppelganger.  So hey, maybe Ioan Gruffudd could play him now that he's older!

(Even though he totally looks the same.  Did anyone else watch Ringer?  No? Just me?  Okay.)

As for Rachel, I always pictured Olivia de Havilland.  I'm not sure why, since I really only knew her from my one viewing of Gone with the Wind, but she just had the right look.  And here I must say my casting was spot on because I found out later she did play Rachel in the 1952 (so so) movie.  In fact, here she is as Rachel:

No imagination required!

As for Philip's godfather/guardian Nick Kendall, well, I cannot explain this, but here is who I have always pictured:
No, not Sandra Bullock, but Saul from While You Were Sleeping.  Not the actor, Jack Warden, but Saul.  I guess godfathers=Saul, always.  Sometimes I even read his dialogue with his voice, which is...interesting.

Here my casting kind of veers off the rails of feasibility, but they are great picks nonetheless!  Like Rainaldi:

Yes, the asylum owner in Beauty and the Beast.  Did you know he has a name?  It's Monsieur D'Arque.  Yuk yuk yuk. 

(I also sometimes picture the Vulture, from Spiderman, which makes...more...sense?
Or less.  Maybe less.)

And Seecombe, the faithful steward?  How about Edgar from The Aristocats:

In looks only of course!

Also, I imagine Louise like Suzanne from The Scarlet Pimpernel but alas, no picture was to be found.  You would think I might picture Louise from that movie, but I always liked Suzanne better.  So there!

Maybe one day when reality and time fold in on themselves it will be possible to make a movie with all of these players.  Until that day I will keep reading and writing rambling blogposts about it. 

(PS: It goes without saying that I heartily recommend this book to everyone, regardless of whether it is their taste or not [Sarah].  So read it [Marcue]!  And love it, as I love it.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Book Review)

Author: Neil Gaiman
Year: 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult

Plot Summary: When he was a small boy, Lettie Hempstock told him the pond was an ocean.  Now a middle-aged man, he's returned to his old neighborhood and the farm where Lettie lived.  There, sitting by the pond, he remembers the darkness of his childhood days and Lettie's place in it.  

Red Flags: Scary scenes and imagery, some sexual content very ambiguously described, death, menacing adults, a scene of attempted child murder  (Disclaimer: this list makes the book sound quite dark--and it is dark--but in execution the effect is intense and gripping but not nauseating or just plain old terrible to read.)

My Rating: A
I loved this book.  When Neil Gaiman is good, he is excellent and truly gifted.  While this has many of the plot elements in his other books (it reminded me most of Coraline), he executes it so well the similarities didn't matter to me.  I don't even know how to describe what I liked about this book without word vomiting all over the place.  Will a barrage of little sentences suffice?  Let's do.

The story was gripping--I couldn't stop turning pages.  The setting was so vivid, I could feel the dirt between my toes and see the lightning in the spooky night sky.  The spookiness!  Oh the spookiness.  It was so deliciously spooky and scary, BUT it didn't freak me out to think of it in the middle of the night later.  I appreciate that, as I always up in the middle of the night these days.  That's not to say it's not scary--it just wasn't that kind of scary.  Does that even make sense?  

Anyway, I loved reading it, and it was a bit sad when it was over, though I think it is the perfect length and missing nothing.  The story moves along, there are no drags or boring bits.  Also I liked that even though it is technically for adults, it's not nearly as adult in content as some of his other adult books.  The characters, half without any names, are unique and there are just the right number of them.  The narrator was endearing in his little boyness.  Also, one thing Neil Gaiman does so well in this book and in his others is not explaining things.  He doesn't spell out the supernatural elements or the mystical otherworlds, and he doesn't need to because he doesn't describe them so well.  (That was a lot of "doesn't"s, I know)  You don't need the long-winded explanations or back story, and yet you understand them anyway.  I'm not sure how he pulls this off exactly, but I think part of it is that he writes so confidently.  

My hat is off to you, Mr. Gaiman.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Four Leaf Baby

My scrumptious little Babycakes turned an illustrious four months old on Saturday.  He is getting more fun all the time (though I will confess to missing his tiny, fresh baby stage sometimes).  *sigh*

He also had his doctor's visit today, which confirmed the fact that he is growing like a weed and is very healthy.  It also confirmed the fact that he does not like shots.  But we learned from last time and gave him some medicine before the appointment and hopefully by keeping him dosed up the rest of the day we can avoid the evening meltdown this time.  Anyway, back to weed growing, he is currently 27 inches long (97%!), 16.27 lbs (76%) and his head percentile is 56%.  So he's about doubled his birth weight, and I think the only reason he doesn't look like a big ball of baby fat is because he is so long.

Here are some things he has been up to over the last month:

More Seven Peaks time!  Now that he's big enough for swim diapers, I think pool time is going to be even more fun.

Sleeping on his binky.  Ah, so comfy.

He loves to survey the land from atop my legs.

 Still loving his caterpillar friend.

 He's GENERALLY happy.

He does his best to squish his Pops.

 He wears out-of-season jammies...

...and does not approve.

He sits on his throne with his Sovereign's Orb.

He always sleeps at night in his crib and takes most of his naps there too, but I can't resist a snuggle nap sometimes...
...especially because it means I get to see expressions like this.  Hello, little old turtle face.

Step 1: Get something in hands.  Step 2: Put in mouth.  Step 3: Repeat.

Sometimes he and his wee-er cousin have the same outfits.  They also share an interest in the Sovereign's Orb.  

Sometimes no one smiles for the camera.

Sometimes he folds himself in half AND eats my finger at the same time.

Here are just some cute pictures, no additional explanation necessary:

Other tidbits from this month: He puts everything in his mouth.  He had his first sniffles but was happy throughout.  He gets a bit overstimulated sometimes and doesn't always like to be held by anyone but me or Drew (it's flattering to me, but a bummer for other wannabe holders).  He giggles a lot, sometimes for no apparent reason.  He still really loves bath time (see also: giggling).  He grew out of size 1 diapers.  We started going to the baby storytime at the library and he enjoys it?  I dunno, he's there and that's about the extent of his reaction.  Over the last few weeks he has really settled into a routine of: three or four naps a day, asleep in bed by 8:00, dream feed around 11:00 and then waking up once around 4-5:00 to eat, then back asleep until 7:30 or so.  I can dig it, baby.  

Anyway, the gist of this is that he is more fun all the time and is getting more aware of the world every day.  He recognizes things, chats and sings and is generally very happy most of the time.  Our battle with cradle cap continues and after a long hiatus, he started rolling again on Saturday.  Hey baby, you grow so good, baby.

Whew.  Well, that was a long update.  Maybe I should blog about him more than once a month??  Oh all right, if I insist.  

(Yes!  I do.) 

(Okay, one more.)
(Fine, two.)

(The end.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe (Book Review)

Author: Lauren Graham
Year: 2013
Genre: Novel
Reading Level: Adult

Plot Summary: Franny Banks gave herself three years to succeed as an actress when she moved to New York City.  Now it's 1995 and she's got six months left to make it or give it up.  Besides her acting worries, Franny's steady job is shaky, her bank account is lower by the day and she REALLY needs to call her Dad back.

Red Flags: Some language, some subtle sexual content, foot holding 

My Rating: B+
This was better than I thought it would be, but I didn't love it.  Here are some good things about it: Lauren Graham is a decent writer. Franny is a pretty endearing, well-rounded character.  It's not as stupid as most chick lit.  It has genuinely funny moments.  The Filofax pages were a great addition.  The story is engaging, and it's easy to relate to Franny's dream of making it in her dream career.

Here are some things I liked less about it: It dragged a bit for me in the middle.  I also felt like Franny's character and charm got a little obscured in the middle too--she didn't sound quite the same.  Some of the side characters blurred together (I did really like Jane) and some were just sort of bland.  The story is predictable (not painfully so but still), and the romance is pretty cliche.  At one point Franny herself even points out the cliches of the romance, which perplexed me.  If you KNOW it's cliche, why not make it less so?  

Overall, I did enjoy it.  It didn't blow my mind, and the end seemed to fall into the trap of deep, personal understandings conveniently coming all at once with descriptions like "Suddenly I realized..." and "It was all clear now that..."  Still, it was a fun read and it was fun to read about things like TV shows and acting when the author obviously knows what they're talking about.  

The book did leave me with some questions though:

--I'm curious about how much of this is based on Lauren Graham's own experiences in the acting world.  I don't know much about her or her career, but it would make sense for her to draw on her own life.  Write what you know, right?

--What was the purpose of setting this in 1995?  Are the 90s the new 80s for nostalgia?  Or was the story easier to tell without cell phones?  There was just no obvious reason for it to be set in 1995.  Unless you count being able to have little wink wink moments, like "[Phantom of the Opera has] been running for six or seven years already.  Who knows how much longer we'll have the chance to see it?"

--Does Lauren Graham know any musicals not by Andrew Lloyd Webber?  She mentioned no less than four of his but no others that I recall.

--Was she making a statement about certain actors who do cookbooks and sell perfumes?  Maybe she's not a fan of GOOP...