Showing posts from December, 2010

Working, working, working: Catching up and boring you with the details of this last week

No...this week hasn't been a total bust. In fact, lots of great things happened because I got a chance to catch up with a lot of people I rarely get a chance to see these days:

1. I got to see my cousin, T. (Theron), who lives in Oregon. He and his sister and his parents (my dad's older sister and her husband) drove up from Dothan (T. came home for Christmas). We had a nice lunch (grandma went, too! So great to see her up and walking again) and a great visit.
2. I got a chance to have a short coffee break with my former student, Lisa. It was a lot of fun and I wish that I could have stayed around longer!
3. I had lunch with my friend Melanie who is pregnant with her first child! It was great to see her.
4. My friend Kelly came into town for two nights and we had a blast! We spent each evening together, having dinner and shutting down Books-a-Million's coffee shop each night! I miss her already! But, we will have a great time in NYC this summer.

As for movies:
I have seen …

Cary Grant rocks my world...

I own way too many books. This is a known fact. However, perhaps less known, is that I own way too many movies. I recently went through them and decided to get rid of several (esp. those old VHS tapes...don't know why I still had a lot of those!). So, now, after going through everything in a brutal fashion, I have a moderate DVD collection (though, I did keep some movies on VHS because they haven't been converted to DVD just yet...weird...). Anyway, like I said, I did this a few days ago and last night I decided that I wanted to watch an older film. So, I began to go through my collection and stumbled across Charade (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn).

A very bad summary of the film:In this film, Audrey Hepburn discovers that her husband (who she planned on divorcing but then didn't have to because he ends up dead) has been living a double life. He has stolen money and several people (his spy friends) want it back. They threaten her, people die, but it all comes down to identi…

December 25, 2010: Family photos and snow!

Well, another Christmas has come and gone--and it was another great one! It was my first Christmas without my grandmother Frances, so, of course, I miss her. But, overall, things were great.

(Casey in front of the Christmas tree.)

We began the day rather late because we all slept in a bit (Dad was up late having way too much fun reading Twas the Night Before Christmas aloud). Mom, dad, and I opened gifts around 9:30 or so (awesome gift: a 1964 Life magazine that covers Richard Burton in Hamlet!!) and also celebrated Casey's birthday. He is fifteen today! I just can't believe he is that old! He is still doing well, although his back legs give out a bit. Still, he had a great day because he had lots of special treats and...get this...we actually had snow!

YES! SNOW!! Here in ALABAMA! On CHRISTMAS DAY!! No, it didn't stick, but we had lots of big flakes fall. And Casey absolutely LOVES the snow. (Sorry for the is just in me today.) So, as always when it snows, I took …

Merry Christmas

Peace on Earth.

Be kind to one another. Love one another.

Another good day! (and a book "review" on the side)

Well, today we traveled to Demopolis, Alabama, to visit with my mom's cousin from Florida (and her family) and my grandfather's sister (i.e. my great aunt). We had a really nice time and it was wonderful to see everyone. Though I see my great aunt occasionally, I haven't seen my cousins from Florida in years.

After coming home, I took a really long nap (didn't sleep at all last night). After, I made cookies (dough was a bit much for the Good Housekeeping "we tested it three times" assurance). Anyway, I fixed it up and it turned out fine! My dad is such a cookie monster, so he would eat them even if they tasted terrible (which, thankfully, they didn't!).

Now for the book review:

(Source: Photo and another book review)

Like I said in a previous post, I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to read next. So, Monday night, before I took my father (he can't drive anymore) to play in the band at Shelton for graduation, I stopped by Books-a-Mi…

A Great Day

This morning, I drove to Birmingham to meet up with a friend of mine, Melissa. We met when both of us joined Team in Training and prepared for a full marathon back in 2004...I can't believe it was that long ago! We were both fairly slow, but over the many miles that we walked and ran/jogged, Melissa and I forged a friendship out of stories (funny, sad, personal), show tunes (to get us through those miles when you "hit the wall"), and our woes about graduate school. At the time, she had just started her PhD program in Marketing and I was finishing up my master's degree in English. Last year, I was in her wedding and this is the first time that I have seen her since then (because she and her husband live in Indiana now).

(Melissa and I at her graduation party a couple of years ago.)

Anyway, we had a long lunch and then another chat over coffee. It was great to see her again! It is too bad that she lives so far away. :(

On the drive up to Birmingham, I started thinking ab…

New post coming...


I wish that I had seen this last year!!


Seeing the good

I am amazed at and in awe of my friend who is going through such a sad time. Though she is experiencing a tragic loss, she is keeping track of every good thing that is happening during this time, even if that thing seems incredibly small and insignificant. This is something that we should all do.

What to read?

I just found out that a close friend of mine is going through a very tragic situation. I feel so terrible for her and her family. It makes me so sad.

I just can't read anything funny or light right now, because all I think about is her family. I like to keep track of my reading on this blog, but I am changing my mind about the next book on my list, I think. I just can't engage in light-hearted material right now. Some people might find that therapeutic, but I can't concentrate unless the book helps me get through whatever emotion I have. Does anyone else go through this? So...the question is: What to read next?

I am trying to get through my TBR ("to be read") pile...after work, I will go through it and choose something.

One of my worst qualities and a New Year's resolution:

My inability to express anger. It is true. I cannot express anger well, even when I have legitimate reasons to be angry. I don't know why this is except that it mirrors the way girls are raised in the south.

I spoke to a friend about this, and she thinks the same thing. As children, many southern girls (and probably girls, in general) are taught silence or flirtation as means to an end in certain situations.

Be nice. Don't be loud. Be sweet. Don't be loud. Don't be mean...

You get the point. And it isn't that being kind to people is a bad thing, of course! But it is destructive if you sacrifice yourself and your dignity in the process. So even if it sounds crazy, this is something I should work on!

The problem is that I developed the habit of covering up anger (and, even lesser unpleasant emotions) to an insane degree. I don't have problems listening or rocking the boat when necessary in my professional life, but in my personal life...well, being strong enough…

Top Ten Fictional Friends

Just saw a post for this on So Many Books. The idea is to list ten characters from fiction that you would want to consider as friends in your own life. My list is a bit wonky and I am not choosing these people because they necessarily have high morals or anything (some do, but others don't). I choose them because they are here goes:

1. Ariel Manto from Scarlett Thomas's The End of Mr. Y.

2. Lyra Belacqua from Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.

3. Hermione Granger from Rowling's Harry Potter series.

4. Severus Snape from Rowling's Harry Potter series.

5. "Pandora" from Rice's short novel Pandora.

6. Paige Winterbourne from Armstrong's Dime Store Magic.

7. John Thornton from Gaskell's North and South. (Really, I just want to marry him.)

8. Jo March from Alcott's Little Women.

9. Richard Papen from Tartt's The Secret History.

10. Lady Dedlock from Dickens's Bleak House. (You can't say that the woman doesn't know how…

Caught up in the holiday chaos...

Now that the semester is FINALLY over and I can take a moment to breathe a little bit (which, really, for me means that I am ignoring all of the other things I need to be doing in favor of reading really cheesy books), I am trying not to fall into my inevitable holiday state of mind that borders somewhere between grouchy and angry. I love the holidays--but only when I am doing things like spending time with my family or friends. I REALLY DISLIKE the craziness that surrounds the holidays, especially in the retail stores.

As I said in an earlier post, my father's side of the family opted out of gift giving in favor of an optional (for each member) donation to a chosen charity. (We are donating to a charity that supports autism research this year.) But, we are still giving a gift to my grandmother. I also had a few other gifts that I had to buy for other people. So, yesterday, a MONDAY, I thought that I would go ahead and finish up my shopping. And I did. But not before I wanted to …

I wish that I had more to say this week... (and an eventual rant on Meyer's Eclipse)

I really do wish that I had more to say this week, but I am really just trying to make it through till the weekend! It is final exam week here on campus, so I have been grading and averaging until I am sick of it. I am also reminded, once again, how amazing it can be when people suddenly start to worry about their grades AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER. Tip to all students out there: don't do this. Stay on top of your grades and seek help before the final exam. Always a good thing.

Anyway, other than that, I have had a major breakthrough in my dissertation that involves a lot of Dickens research that I have done. So, it looks like my second chapter on Dickens will focus more on Great Expectations than Little Dorrit...and I am so happy about that!

In other news of my boring life: I recently had the opportunity to watch Eclipse (the 3rd Twilight saga movie, for those of you dead to Stephanie Meyer and her clutch on American youth). Don't get me wrong. I have read the books. As I think …

Thinking about...

...Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. I have read it before, but thought that I would read it again. It is one of those books that I come back to again and again...and I am still not sure what I want to say about it. Well, when I finish this read-through, I will post something.

Feeling restless...

It always happens at the worst times. I love to be writing and working...but, then, I just want to jump ship. I would love, right now, to get on a plane and hide away in Oxford or somewhere in Scotland. I feel inspired already, but I want to be in the land that surrounds me with constant inspiration. Oxford and the Highlands feed my soul in ways that I just can't get anywhere around here. Some might laugh, but I can say that, when I was in Scotland, I felt truly at home. It was as if I had returned to the place where I belonged. I love Oxford and all of the literature and history surrounding it...but Scotland...yes, it is the home of my most very distant ancestors...and maybe there is still a memory encoded in my DNA somewhere.

So, to beat the frustration, I throw myself into work and books. I am in the very frustrating stage of revising a chapter right now (not fun at all...I would rather be writing a new one!). I love my scholarly research, but I would also like to publish a nov…

Scarlett Thomas: Our Tragic Universe

I am a fan of Scarlett Thomas. I loved The End of Mr. Y (multiverse theory) and Pop Co. (codes and things). The characters, depressed but thoughtful, always appeal to me, and I love the overarching theories explored in each book. So, I have had her new book, Our Tragic Universe, on my wish list for quite some time.


I searched around for a review that said it just right...and I came across this quote from a New York Times review: "I wanted to root for this novel and its brain-bending, occasionally contradictory signifiers; I also found myself yearning for a way in."

I totally agree.

I wasn't thrilled with the new novel. I didn't hate it. I didn't really even dislike it. But it isn't something that I will remember fondly. Basically, the book is a novel about a novelist writing about how hard it is to write a novel. This in itself is fine. Thrown in there are bits and pieces of id…

No Life

Sorry, everyone! Real posts to follow! We are nearing the end of the semester and I am super busy! Lots to grade and write! Will post soon!!