Saturday, March 28, 2009

What I read: "The Amazing Advertures of Kavalier & Clay" by Michael Chabon

Despite my aversion to overdue library books -- instilled in me by the librarian of my elementary school (who I loved and admired) -- I took me longer than the allotted three weeks to read and digest "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay."

I was prepared for a boyish romp through comicbookland. A buddy movie wrapped up in a Pulitzer Prize-winning package. What I got was a love story -- love of family, love of art, romantic love, love lost and found and true, deep, abiding friendship -- heart wrenching and heartwarming all at the same time.

"Late that night, Rosa and her father helped Joe from the taxi to the curb and thence along the narrow lane up to the steps of the Harkoo house. His arms were draped across their shoulders and his feet seemed to glide two inches off the ground. He had not touched a drop all night, on orders from the emergency-room doctor at Mt. Sinai, but the morphine painkillers he had been given had finally taken their toll. Of that journey from the taxi to the curb, Joe was later to retain only the faint pleasant memory of Siggy Saks's kolnischwasser smell and of the coolness of Rosa's shoulder against his own abraded cheek. They dragged him up to the study and laid him out on the couch. Rosa unlaced his shoes, unbuttoned his trousers, helped him off with his shirt. She kissed his forehead, his cheeks, his chest, his belly, pulled a blanket up to his chin and then kissed his lips. Rosa's father brushed Joe's hair back from his bandaged brow with a soft motherly hand. Then there was darkness and the sound of their voices draining out of the room."

Joe's story is both tragic and heroic, as are the stories of Rosa and Sammy. They're punished for loving too much or the wrong person. They struggle to live ordinary lives while dreaming of extraordinary things. Art and writing -- albeit in the form of comic books -- sustain them, give them hope and allow them to escape this world.

"Having lost his mother, father, brother, and grandfather, the friends and foes of his youth, his beloved teacher Bernard Kornblum, his city, his history -- his home -- the usual charge leveled against comic books, that they offered merely an easy escape from reality, seemed to Joe actually to be a powerful argument on their behalf."

And who couldn't use an escape from reality now and then?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not getting it

I recently joined Facebook. Honestly I'm not sure why -- curiosity perhaps. But I don't really get it. I'm not going to blame my age. And it's not that I don't understand computers. I do. And I get the Internet. It's just that Facebook is so strange. And hard to navigate. And counter intuitive. A friend -- who had encouraged me a while back to join -- tells me Facebook was better before they changed it. Maybe that's it. Maybe I'm not social enough. Maybe I just don't get it.


A powerful storm is bearing down on the Pikes Peak region and could dump up to 20 inches of snow in higher elevations, the National Weather Service said.

So far we just have these ominous-looking clouds rolling in. What's it doing in your part of the world?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Before and after


I love our "new" kitchen. The counter tops and backsplash look great, as do the new stainless steel sink and the fancy-schmancy faucet. Don't tell the appliances, but we're thinking of replacing them as well. The fridge first, then possibly the stove.

Because we'll never be done remodeling, we're thinking of finishing our basement and adding another bedroom down there. Stay tuned for the mayhem.

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria

So, we're either headed for a disaster of biblical proportions* ... or my pets are just really lazy. I'm guessing it's the latter.

*I'm not giving any extra points for getting the reference, because everyone should know it!

Update: It turns out the S.O. didn't get the reference. I'm so disappointed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break

It's spring break, so naturally it's the chilliest day we've had in a couple weeks and there's a chance of rain. Lucky for me, I don't have any kids at home complaining there's nothing to do.

Spring Break means my week isn't nearly as busy as it normally is; I don't have tutoring or Big Brothers/Big Sisters to go to. So for the first time in nearly 20 years, I looked forward to spring break -- not that I've ever been one to jet off to the beach and hang out in a bikini.

We have no big plans, but I don't have to rush off anywhere just as I'm getting on a roll in my writing and I can plan dinners without having to have everything ready at 3 p.m.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working with the tutors and the kids. It's fulfilling, but it can also be stressful. And the kids can be a handful. I was working with a kid last week who kept falling asleep while reading flash cards! "I had to stay up till 9 o'clock doing dishes all by myself, and everyone else went to bed at 6," he said.

It is nice to think I can relax a little bit this week. It's nice to think that. But I know I really have a bunch of stuff I should be working on and should take advantage of the extra hours to get all that stuff done.

Should. Instead I'm procrastinating on a Monday morning, rambling on about spring break and the gloomy weather, staring a picture of a Saturn Vue Hybrid, wondering what I can say about it that hasn't been said before.