Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy anniversary!

Today is the one year anniversary of imchattynatty. Last year my son helped me compose my first post about one of my favorite nights of the year- academy awards. I am in DC so won't be watching the oscars tonight like I normally do but no worry my in-laws are DVRing it for me and son and I will be posting later our reaction to this year's awards.

I have a lot of catch up to do on posts: mommy's project for this week, trip to DC and running/training log. But for now I am going to enjoy my sangria, dinner with sister and look forward to another year of blogging.

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my blog this year. Looking forward to another year of being chattynatty.

PS Oscar is from Casablanca seen at national American history museum.

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Happy anniversary!

Today is the one year anniversary of imchattynatty. Last year my son helped me compose my first post about one of my favorite nights of the year- academy awards. I am in DC so won't be watching the oscars tonight like I normally do but no worry my in-laws are DVRing it for me and son and I will be posting later our reaction to this year's awards.

I have a lot of catch up to do on posts: mommy's project for this week, trip to DC and running/training log. But for now I am going to enjoy my sangria, dinner with sister and look forward to another year of blogging.

Thanks to all of you who have read and commented on my blog this year. Looking forward to another year of being chattynatty.

PS Oscar is from Casablanca seen at national American history museum.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Twas the night before LENT?

So I'm having my own little Fat Tuesday tonight- dining on Reese's peanut butter cups and a glass of wine.  Tomorrow somewhat starts the year's training.  I've so far done not so bad with mileage for the year, but my nutrition aspect of my training program has been lacking.  My BRB and I have sat down and looked at our running schedule in preparation for this year's running schedule, I've penciled in runs for March-October 10th in prep for 2 1/2 marathons and Chicago Full Marathon.  Why is it so easy for me to be goal focused when it comes to running, but when it comes to eating right- not  so much?

Did you know that if you type emotional into google bar the next word that comes up is eater.  I would consider myself an emotional eater, not in a negative way necessarily (although I do eat when stressed), but more so with a lot of "oh I've run 22 miles this week that extra couple of chocolate chip cookies, glasses of wine and Brie cheese is a reward for my hard physical work".  Now don't get me wrong I'm not obsessed about my weight nor do I have some crazy goal weight I want to go to, but I do wonder if shedding just 5 pounds would impact my running ability and running results.  They say that after you have run a few races you start to focus on bettering your time and this year I think is "my year" no not to qualify for any big races- aka BOSTON- I'm realistic and understand that I will likely be let into BOSTON when I'm 70 just due to my continued insanity to get out and run.  I'm not a speed work person and so that has to change or I'm likely not to get faster, but I also know that nutrition has to have some impact on my running fuel/ability.  So I have decided to do a few changes- I'm a "all or nothing" kind of gal so in honor of lent- which my friend Wikipedia  will now explain further...

The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer—through prayerpenancerepentancealmsgiving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events of the Passion of Christ on Good Friday, which then culminates in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxury as a form of penitence.
I have decided to give up sweets and not buy coffee at work or coffee shop in my home town.  Now I'm not going out to crazy- I'll be traveling this coming weekend- told you I would explain the "Politics for Dummies" book- for a nurse in Washington internship and so will likely need to buy coffee during my travels, but the coffee buying will be limited when it comes to work or locally.  

Now I'm not only about giving up something in honor of LENT, but my mom told me a while ago that she thinks Lent should be not only about giving something up, but giving to something.  I decided to give to my little reader/my youngest.  I gave/give a lot to my oldest during his younger years and even now.  Sometimes I feel like the youngest gets less.  So starting tomorrow in fact it is a "day of fun" with mom- no cleaning, grocery shopping, etc that I normally drag her around to do on my day's off, but instead a day filled of "fun" just the two of us.  I'll keep you posted on how the "Lent Goals" go.  I'm hoping that even after Lent ends I can continue the "no sweets" until my trip to Hawaii- yep my sister, mom and I are heading to Hawaii in May- celebrate my mom being 60 years young.  My sister and I are even looking into a 10 K run in Oahu- how cool will it be to say we ran a race in Hawaii.  Well here is to my wine and peanut butter cup.  

Let me know, if you want, what and if you are giving anything up for Lent.  

Kid's Reading Recommendations and other random reading things

So I wanted to do a little procrastination from reading my "Politics for Dummies" book last night- comment later-and so I started a post on my blog and uploaded the pictures below and then the computer froze- and I couldn't finish the post.  I've been struggling with my computer for awhile in regard to it is old, not a lot of memory/storage left and I am not technologically savy so had a lot of crap on it that probably needed to be cleared out.  I was desperate to get the computer fixed and so I signed up for one of those on-line software programs that is installed on your computer and cleans your computer up.  I went this route vs. Geek Squad because it was $30 vs the $200 quote I got today when I called the Geeks at Best Buy.  The software did clean my computer up, but my post screen was still frozen- Enter my BRB who also is a techno Goddess!  She set me up with a new browser to post from and a glass of wine later I'm writing again. YIPEE!  So here is the post I meant to send yesterday.

Here are some books the kids and I read recently and I highly recommend.  Picture books will never be obsolete or too young for my reading eyes- and I hope not the eyes of my children


The boy in the garden by Allen Say
This book is magical and takes place in "dream state" for a little boy.  My oldest reader loved this book and saw it at the Art Institute in the gift shop and said "mom that's the boy garden book".  So cool when your kids find some of their favorite reads in places other than libraries

This book was utter "chatty/natty" meaning perfect- it was a story about a boy named Clancy who moves to a new home and meets a neighbor girl named Millie and they bond and form a "very fine house" and this building of friendship and home make the move easier. 

So funny- both little reader and oldest reader loved this book and so did I.  Follows the Little Red Hen pattern, but you knew that.

Little Reader picked out this book and we all enjoyed the story- again most of the story takes place in a "dream state".  It has wonderful meaning and life lessons taught during the process of the book.  I loved the last page of the book/story and so share a little bit of it:

He saw in life that nothing lasts;
like a flame in the wind,
a star at dawn, 
or a flash of lightning
in a summer cloud.

But within life
Heaven can be found, 
and within Heaven is life without end.

EXCELLENT book and all of us readers enjoyed.  Marshall Armstrong is new to our school, a duh right, but what you find as the reader is that just because you may be new and do things a little differently your differences may end up being pretty neat or "cool". 

Book that talks about electricity in its many forms.  The kids and I were all educated by reading this book, but  it wasn't too sciency (if that is a word :)). The artwork helps tell the story.

I thought this was a new Richard Scarry book, because I had not seen it. It was actually published in 1991- 21 years ago- you gotta be kidding me.  I love Richard Scarry.  I love his artwork and his stories. Simple, easy to read, no fluff. 

This book was "magical".  It was all about what happens with a family the night the electricity goes out.  The pictures again help tell the story in more deeper way.  It always amazes me how picture books with such few words can sometimes be more powerful than the "John Adams" of the world.

O.K. a couple of other random reading things...
Have you heard about GoodReads?  I hadn't and love it and am going to use it this year and see how well it helps me keep track of what I read during the year.  It also is a way in which you can keep track of those books you want to read.  Go to http://www.goodreads.com/ to look at all the site has to offer.  For those of you who have phones with App ability you can upload the Goodreads App and away you'll go.  Most of us always have our phones with us, but many of us don't have our cherished "book wish lists" with us at all times, but this App allows you to keep track of all those reads you are hoping to dive into.  If you have a more high tech phone you can even just scan the bar code of the book and it will automatically upload and you can determine what list you want to place it in "currently reading, to read, read" and you can add your own list- thought of calling one "John Adams" meaning- not finishing, but not quite got the technology down yet.  And if you want to you can share your reads with friends, so think of a "facebook for bookies".  I went to this because I am not a good monitor of what I read, my year end review for books I posted at the end of last year after reviewing myself I realized I had left off some of my favorite reads of the year.  I have tried the 3x5 card catalog option my mom has done over the years, but for some reason I become lazy and don't have good record keeping.  So for now this will be my log keeper.  

Lastly did you know that Read Across America Week starts February 27 and runs through March 2nd.  I follow several reading blogs and found this info in the A Year of Reading: Read Across America Post http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2012/02/read-across-america-who-are-you-as.html- look at this if you are interested in learning more.  Promotion of reading is needed, especially in schools so the ideas that this blog post  came up with in regard to promoting reading by highlighting teachers and what they are reading was great.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In honor of Fat Tuesday- maple glazed sour cream doughnut holes

6 tbsp warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/8 tsp dry yeast
6.75 oz about 1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp sour cream
1 large egg- lightly beaten
Cooking spray
6 cups peanut oil
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp maple sugar
2 tbsp water

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Let stand 5 min or until bubbly. Combine 1 1/4 cup flour and salt in separate bowl. Add sour cream and egg into yeast mixture. Stir until smooth. Add flour mix until moist dough ball forms. Place dough onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Add remaining flour to dough to prevent sticking. Place dough into bowl coated with cooking spray- let stand 1 hr or until dough almost doubled in size ( I made dough and covered with Saran wrap over night in fridge). Punch dough down and divide into 36 sections- rolling into ball. Place on cookie sheet which is lightly sprayed with cooking spray and again allow to stand for 30 min. Clip candy thermometer to Dutch oven. Heat oil to 375 and make sure to keep oil at this heat. Combine remaining ingredients for glaze. Place dough balls in oil (9 at a time)and fry for 2 min- rotate dough so one side doesn't get over fried. Remove holes from oil and drain. Then place in glaze and remove with slotted spoon. Drain on cooling rack over a baking sheet. Repeat until all holes cooked and glazed.

Found this recipe in cooking light- which seemed like oxymoron to me but recipe is 1 serving= 3 holes and is 178 calories, 5.9gms fat, protein 2.4gms.

I thought it was fitting to make these prior to the start of lent. I'm giving up sweets- doughnut holes included. I am a fair food/white trash food junky and surprisingly had never made doughnuts from scratch. They were worth the labor involved. I'll be trying these again someday.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mommy's Project 52: family

I have been putting off the mommy's project topic for this week.  Due in part to not being able to focus on where I want to go with this post. I don't feel worthy of putting down in words what my "family" really means to me, but here I go.

My family is a lot of whom I am.  Before my current family (hubby and kids) I came from a family of 4.  My mom, dad, and younger sister.  I grew up in a great home.  My mom was a great mom who I think sacrificed a lot of herself for the well being of our family.  She is an amazing person and like me, sometimes doesn't realize all she has accomplished.  My dad instilled a lot about what it means to be "family" in both my sister and I at a very young age.  See despite living 13 hours from my father's parents and all of his siblings and extended family some of those relatives I'm closer with than some of my mom's family who lived only 20-30 minutes from where I grew up.  This closeness with the Virginia family cam from visiting three times a year before I started kindergarten and after that two times a year.  My dad's family lives in northern Virginia and I have so many fond memories of my time growing up there.  I was at the time very close to my cousins and really had a great "family" experience despite living so far away from these folks and only seeing them twice a year. 
I'm the cute one in the middle. Mom is holding me and to the right is my grandma and to the left is my great grandma.
The "favorite four".  That is what we called ourselves.  We loved putting on productions and this was one of our Christmas Carol Specials.  I'm on the far right. 
One comment after I put in all the above pictures- can you believe all the intricate wallpaper.  Maybe it will make a comeback someday.

My sister is not only my sister but best friend.  Despite living 5 hours apart we are very close and see each other almost monthly.  We talk at least three times weekly and love to spend time planning our next trip with or without kids.  In May my sister, mom and I are traveling to Hawaii to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday.  We have always been very close and I think some of my issues with girlfriends over the years stem from how high my expectations our about what friendship is because I compare it to what my relationship with my sister is and has been.  At her wedding I gave a maid of honor toast and afterwards was tidying up in the bathroom and this lady- total stranger- approached me and said she wished she felt the same way about her sister as I do about mine (that after hearing me recite my toast).  My mom has also commented that she has to be careful what she says about us- meaning our family of four -at work, due to some of her coworkers commenting about how they wished they were as close and saw their own children and grandkids as often as my mom does. 

Totally late 1970's early 80's motif going on. This is me and my younger sister.  Yep she looked a little like cousin Fester as a babe- Oh how I love this picture though. It reminds me of reading before bedtime.  The book I'm reading in the picture is one of the "Little Bear" books by Elsa Homelund Minarik. Great book series! Again can you believe the green jungle wallpaper in the background.

My mother's parents lived only 15 minutes away from us and we saw them quite often growing up.  We got together with my mother's other four sisters and their children mainly around holidays.  My mother was a big reason why we stayed connected with her sisters, because she was many times the planner (again another trait I picked up from her). It saddens me a little because I really don't feel as connected to my mom's sisters or their families- not like I still do with my Virginia relatives.  Sometimes distance doesn't make a difference. 

Oh how time changes and yet it doesn't.  I now have my own family of four. Hubby and I followed our "five year plan" and didn't have our first child until we had been married five years.  These five years were important for us in our establishing our family, but looking back we sometimes laugh at how much more we now cram into our lives "post kids".  My daughter was born three years after my son and to date I think they are pretty good friends.  It will be fun to see them grow and hopefully I can instill some of those "family values" my dad and mom instilled in me and my sister.  I hope they stay close and also hope they stay close to me as I have with my parents. 

I inherited another family when I married and I feel so blessed to have the in-laws I do.  They are like second parents to me.  I really couldn't be luckier.  They too realize the importance of family and are there for us whenever we need them.  I love going home to stay with both my parents and my in-laws even if hubby isn't with me.  One of my favorite trips-ever- with the kids occurred with their help.  Hubby wasn't able to go on spring break and so me, kids and in-laws traveled to Sanibel Island Florida and truly it was one of those magical trips that I will never never forget.  I am so thankful we were all together for it.
Inherited family- in-laws which aren't like in-laws to me, but second parents.

Me and the hubby have only had one x-mas alone, since married,while I was still working 12 hour shifts in the PICU.  Since then we haven't missed a holiday with our family.  I feel like I'm raising my kids the way in which my parents raised me.  They see me staying connected with my "family" via phone, letter, e-mail and visits.  They start to have grandparent withdrawal if it has been longer than a few weeks since last seeing one of the two sets.

I have lived much of my life not near my "family" and yet I am very close to many members of my "family".  Family is what you make it and no excuse like distance, time or money can be used when talking about continuing family relationships.  This post doesn't do my thoughts of my family justice.  Again thanks mom and dad for starting me out so strong with what "family" means.

My graduation with MSN.  My parents and sister haven't missed any of these big "life" moments yet.

Gosh I hope they love me and what to stay connected with me as much as I do with my parents.



Almost more importantly I hope they want to stay connected to each other and end up being best friends like my sister and I are.

Family of Four!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mommy's Project 52:dancing

Another week which I could just tell story, after story and get deep in my writing about what dancing means to me and my life.  No I'm not a Julliard prepared dancer nor have I ever danced professionally, but I have danced since I was little. I've been known to turn non-dancing establishments into dancing establishments.  I've closed down a couple of dance floors in my good old College Years.  I've danced so hard at dances that the soles of my shoes were permanently ruined. 

I started dancing with my sister in our living room listening to records as a young kid. I've put in two pics from records I use to dance to as a child.  As you can see the genres were varied (Mozart to Disco Mickey).  I think this was a foreshadowing of where my music would end up ( as seen by playlist that have Eminem and Mozart combined with Ralph Covert's "MOMMY Needs" song).  My sister and I loved dancing to the records my mom and dad had.  Some of the records were soundtracks (big surprise- again no wonder where I get my love for musicals), but others were from their era ("Up, Up with People" for instance).  After my sister started taking ballet and I started gymnastics we would get dressed in our tutus and leotards and leg warmers and dance around the room.


As I mentioned above from an early age I appreciated the combo of both music and dance.  I have copied in some pics of favorite dance numbers from some of my favorite musicals- I have too many to copy in so these will have to do. In no specific time line or order.
Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellwegger's last dance number from movie Chicago- phenomenal dancing and singing in this movie!


Jennifer Beal is a "Maniac, Maniac on the floor"- I loved this blue collar factory worker trying to become the Julliard dancer and falls for the White Collar CEO/Porsche Driving guy plot. This movie made Leg Warmers "in". I had a pair of red leg warmers and sister had a pair of pink.

Where would we be and where would Kevin Bacon be if he hadn't done this movie- so many great songs and so many great moves.

Fred Astaire is one of my favorites- His Fourth of July number in Holiday Inn- picture from movie above- was phenomenal- tap dancing while throwing bottle caps  (yep fireworks) down. He has so many other phenomenal numbers- again too many for me to list.

O.K.  So I already mentioned Fred Astaire above, but Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire that is like naming a whole number dancer- they danced so perfectly together.  One of my favorite movies is "Top Hat"- choreography great.

Judy Garland- phenomenal singer, but I also think great dancer- she had Tina Turner Legs before there was a Tina Turner- the above pic is from Summer Stock when she sings "Forget Your Troubles Come On Get Happy".  She also has many other movies/dance scenes I could note, but too many for this post.

Then I come to me and my dancing moves now.  I really haven't slowed down too much.  I'm known for lighting up the dance floor at weddings.  I love music and  dancing.  My body however doesn't always like it when I bust the Running Man out.  Sadly I have no shots of me to show for my dance moves.  Actually I was quite disappointed in the pictures of my children dancing too. We've been known to have dance night in the kitchen.  The kids request songs and I play them and we dance.  Some of our favorite dance songs currently:

 Black Eyed Peas "Tonight's Going to be a Good Night"
Taio Cruz "Dynamite"
AC/DC "Back in Black"- we live in Hawkeye country and my kids (correction my daughter) doesn't get that this song is affiliated with the Hawkeyes running out onto the football field at home games- however, they, especially my daughter, calls it her rock song (Side note- I'm a huge AC/DC fan and when pregnant with the kids loved to blast AC/DC and drive in my car and tell them that one day they would love the music too).
The Swing Kids Soundtrack (exactly what it sounds like- swing music)
Walk the Line Soundtrack (Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix did a wonderful job portraying Johnny Cash and June Carter)

 So I leave you with a few pics of the kids in dancing mode.
At recent mini dance marathon- it looks like my little one wanted to not lose her big brother.

Yep- kido in white- that's my son shuffling to the music.

Daughter's famous "rock star face"

Rocking out with her guitar.
The other day she was standing in the kitchen and she said "mommy my knees are dancing"- sure enough she was perfectly stable except for letting her knees move back and forth to the beat.  Love that my kids love to dance.  I hope they continue to love dancing and watching dancing as much as I have in my life

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oscar' Update- WWII week

This week was less treadmill watching, due to an annoying sinus cold, but I still started one movie on the treadmill and later finished it in bed, and did the same with the second- my two runs yet this week.  I don't think I really realized that I was picking two movies focused on WWII/Post WWII.  The first movie won the  Best Picture in 1946.  It really looks at what happened after WWII, when the "troops" came home.  The story follows three servicemen- in different stages of their lives, but all three struggle with coming home.  It was a good movie, but not a real "feel good" kind of movie.  The black n white picture did this movie good- wouldn't want to watch it in color.  I highly recommend this one.


The other movie won the Best Picture in 1953.  This movie takes place in Hawaii and the Pearl Harbor attack is just a minor part of the movie.  I love Deborah Kerr (King and I star), but struggled with her character in this movie.  I'm not a Montgomery Cliff fan so his character also did not a lot for me- which he was pretty much the lead story as Robert E. Lee Pruitt.  Frank Sinatra did a good job and wasn't heard singing too much in this film.  I also struggled with Donna Reed's character (known probably best for her being Jimmy Stewart's wife in "It's a Wonderful Life")- she played a hardened woman trying to make it rich in Hawaii as a "call-girl" type figure.  Don't get me wrong it was good story, again not a real "feel good" movie, but I guess movies about war shouldn't be "feel good" movies.  It is just hard when you have a certain view of an actress/actor and then they go and "act" and change your perception of the kind of actor/actress they are.

So it was a good week at the movies/in my bed.  Both of these movies gave me a greater appreciation of  what occurred both during and after WWII. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

So I finished the book and really enjoyed it. Although it appears overwhelming- pretty thick (534 pages)book. It is not too filled with written word. Instead it is full of beautiful pencil drawings, black and white photographs, and a lovely/ mystery really. I'm not sure my son is ready for this book and so I think I will hold off on reading it to him just yet, but it will stay on his TBR list. I won't say much because I really don't want to give the story away. Many of you have likely already read it, but if not pick it up sometime. Pretty happy with getting two books read within this last week and even happier that I enjoyed reading both. I attempted uploading picture to this post but alas my technology skills are lacking and the iPad just won't show me the way to uploading pictures. So find this book by Brian Selznick the next time you are at the bookstore or library- I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mommy's project 52: saving

So I'm being lazy and took pictures with my phone and am writing this down on phone too- too lazy to take nice pics with camera, upload to computer and write my post on computer and nicely edit pics, etc. So I will reference the above pictures and it will hopefully be not too confusing to follow.

Saving- what a loaded topic- no pun intended. I could write about so many things... Why is it easy for me to be disciplined about running but not be disciplined about my spending $$$ at the coffee shop at work? My memories of my yellow butter dishes that had their own special drawer in my childhood bedroom and were labeled church, saving and spending. How my hubby is able to "save for a rainy day" like no one I've ever known.

Nope- here is what I've decided to write in this post on saving. I'm a saver. I have always been a saver when it comes to items that have memories for me. No I'm not a hoarder. No I don't hold onto every onesie my child ever wore, but I do hold onto things others may question or not understand.

The following is in reference to the sequined peach, and brocade Jessica Mc Clintock prom dress. This may look familiar to some of my "bookies" who follow the blog. I a few years ago busted the prom dress out at one of our monthly book club meetings. We had talked the month prior about how some people hold onto things (exhibit prom dress) and some people don't. So I put on the dress ( which unfortunately only zipped up 1/2 way in the back) and did a few twirls for the girls. I love this dress. I wore it as a sophomore in 1992. I felt so great in that dress. Just looking at it makes me happy- even if I can't fit into it - appropriately- anymore.

The pictures of the photo book with pages in the book of what looks like masterpieces to me are another way I've dealt with wanting to save. Early on I knew I was going to have to come up with a way to save my children's art. So I did- I take pictures of their art and put it together in a photo book. The kids love looking at them. I wish I had them a tad bit more organized chronologically but in the end as long as I can look at their work and remember that time in their lives that is what is precious.

Lastly, the pictures of the 3 boxes are a way in which I further save memories. As the one pic depicts- the boxes are jammed full of letters, cards, presents(paper based) that I have received over the years. No I don't save every one but I choose those that come from special people in my life or if the item's message is meaningful. I will look through these boxes from time to time if I need a pick me up. Saving for me is a happy process. However, I have thought about what would happen if I lost these items I've been saving over a lifetime- I'd probably be very sad but would move forward and start saving again.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Reader


So my first book for the February Reading program at our local library is complete.  This was a quick read. Bernhard Schlink's The Reader is written well and I felt his writing was intelligent and at times beautiful.  It was a story that I found fascinating and yet wanted more detail; however, I think that was the style of this book that "less is more" to leave the reader to his/her own interpretation of what the details of the story were.  It is a historical fiction piece which starts pre world war II and ends long after Schindler's list came out.  Stories about the holocaust have always intrigued me and I enjoy reading about this time period, although it is not a happy period in history.  The Reader was a great start to my February reading.  I'm onto The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  My son is hesitant to read the book with me ( I think he is a little intimidated by the drawings, which are beautiful, yet a little dark done in pencil form).  I'm off to make Sunday School cookies and start another book.  What a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oscar's Update... 2 Down


So I started my Oscar Best Picture movie watching this past week.  Some of it done while on my treadmill, and some of it done while lying in bed late at night- pure enjoyment.  The first movie I watched was the above. It won the 1928/1929 Best Picture Oscar.  It was a little disappointing as I didn't really enjoy the lead actor Charles King.  However, Anita Page and Bessie Love were both fun leading ladies.  It is a story of the Mahoney Sisters trying to make it big on Broadway.  Many famous songs are heard in this film, and due to the age of the film 1929- I'm thinking these were the originals that have been so often used in other musicals and shows.  It was an o.k. watch, but I won't be buying it for my collection.

The second movie was a biography about Frenchman Emile Zola's life, but it was really more. This movie won the 1938 Best Picture Oscar.  It was about how a writer, Emile Zola, tried to prove another man's innocence Dreyfus in regard to being a traitor for France.  It was a wonderful black and white picture and I really enjoyed this movie.  It is not a musical, but a drama and has quite a bit of late 1800's French history interwoven throughout the movie.  This I would recommend to anyone, especially those who enjoy historical fiction. Not quite sure where my Oscar watching will take me over the month before 2012 Oscar's, but so far it has been enjoyable. 

365 Thank Yous


I just finished this book on the last day of January.  I'm onto February and have already started another great read, thus far, The Reader by Bernard Schlink.  I know, I know I still have 4 books left on my "marathon book list" that is suppose to end at the end of February.  However, I've found that reading is not like running in that as long as I'm reading, and enjoying reading it shouldn't much matter what I'm reading.  I hope someday soon to finish my "marathon book list" (Sophie's Choice, The Crimson Rooms, Jan Eyre, Lord of Discipline), but for now I'm just reading to read.

Back to the above book- it was excellent.  It wasn't all fluff.  John Kralik is at the bottom of his life at the beginning of the book and has a "come to Jesus" moment on January 1st.  He decides to deal with his awful life by trying to write thank yous in hopes to save his life.  It is a great story and I think many of us could benefit and get something out of reading this book.  As usual here is a line I connected with in the book...

Neil, his friend writes... "Only you can make choices to make you happy, no one else can, and I have learned you must choose to dwell in the present, appreciate what you and move forward."

If you are looking for an inspirational, real life, easy to read story- this one's for you.