Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slightly Disturbingly Obsessed

I have done it. I finished reading the last book of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn. And I may as well fess up now that I read all 264 pages of Midnight Sun that was illegally posted on the internet. I know I just blogged my own little review about Twilight and how much I was enjoying reading these teen-esque vampire books. Well, now I've finished reading them and honestly, I'm feeling sad and hollow inside. My husband caught me on Stephenie Meyer's website today and I felt as though I had been busted looking at porn (without him, that is). "Feeling a little obsessed with the kiddie vampire series, are we?", he asked with a heavy tinge of sarcasm in his voice. "It's not just for kids, there are tons of adult Twilight followers!", I answered huffily as I quickly closed my laptop. Oh man, was I a Twilight follower? I'm not entirely comfortable being lumped into that kind of a fan/freak category, especially for an adolescent based set of books. But maybe it was true. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I know as soon as we get home from vacation that I will be making a trip to the video store. My brother in law told me it was terrible, but then again he plays video games all day long and he's 32 years old. What does he know? I'll be the judge of whether the movie is up to the standards of the book. I don't think the actor who portrays Edward Cullen is nearly as good looking as the image I had conjured up in my head while I read the book (I only know what he looks like because I guiltily watched the trailer to the movie, while Jonathan was in the shower this morning). I mean Edward is supposed to be a mind blowing, amazing looking, immortal creature. Sorry Robert Pattinson, you're okay, but not up to the GQ image of vampires that I had imagined. I think I will have to satisfy my curiosity and watch the movie to see if it stirs the same feelings as the book did for me. If so, I may be buying it and watching it over and over on a loop, probably in a white room, with a nice white tunic on that ties my arms at my side. Just for the record, I will not be posting on any of the Twilight message boards. Though, I did go to one today (just to see it!) and there were plenty of adults posting. No, I've got to draw a line somewhere and get over this embarrassing, sudden mania I'm experiencing. Edward and Bella do not really exist!!! They are fantasy characters, as are all of the Cullens and the shape shifters. Alright, I'm going to take a deep breath and start a book that I bought last week to see if I can shift my focus. It's a classic, Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mockingbird. I will go back to grown up literature and stop thinking like a crack addicted teenage vampire lover. I will overcome. If only Edward wasn't so damned dangerous and adorable. This could take some time to work out of my system. Okay, I will think in terms of baby steps. I did resist buying the Guide to the Twilight Series today at the bookstore. Mostly because I knew that Jonathan's teasing would go into complete overdrive, but that's a start, right? Fear not, I have confidence that I will be returning to my old, pre-Twilight self soon. This is probably just a phase, a crush, a passing fancy. Until it passes, my heart aches for more chapters, even one more sentence. Alas, there are no more and I'm sure I'll make it through this sorrow. Somehow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vacation Hazards

At last, here I am on vacation in the sunny south. It's lovely, the weather is beyond beautiful, the beach is pristine and as glorious as any beach I have been on in my life. The water is sublime. I even went swimming in the ocean at night. That's right, I was a night swimmer. It was intoxicating and yes, I was slightly intoxicated. Of course, that is the only way I could be persuaded to get in the water while it was pitch black outside. The waves were so fun and the fact that I couldn't see the sea monsters before they came to eat me didn't bother me one bit. Amazing! Thank you, pinot grigio! However, the next morning, I found my left hip to be nearly immobile. As I hobbled my way upstairs for a necessary cup of coffee, I found myself trying to cobble together the events from the previous evening. Did I finally master doing a split? Unlikely. Had I been practicing kick boxing moves? Improbable. No, it was just a combination of being thrashed by waves, older age and a bad hip teaming up to give some significant pain that made walking across the room an agony inducing endeavor. I was reduced to a senior citizen in twelve hours, thanks to one night of cavorting in the waves with a group of drunken fools. This is the story of my life and no amount of ibuprofen was going to fix this pain. I did my best to limp around unnoticed, hoping no one would see the agony that I was going through and thanks to multiple hangovers they did their best to avoid my pain and instead focused on their own.
It took a couple of days and a quickie chiropractic maneuver performed by our friend Patty, who happened to be visiting for the weekend, to finally restore me to semi-soundness. I've never been all that aquatic, so I'm taking it easy with the swimming for the moment. If we do any more midnight runs for ocean adventures, I think I'll cheer the gang on from the shore. Meanwhile, time to get off the computer and get back to the beach.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey Dracula, you busy tonight?

I'm sure most everyone at this point is familiar with the latest young adult book series, known as Twilight. It's theme is young love, well, young vampire/human love. I resisted reading it for months, despite the fact that all of my friends were giving the books great reviews. I think after reading all of Anne Rice's novels I couldn't envision another vampire tale told as well, nor did I feel like any young adult book could compete with the likes of Interview with a Vampire. I will now sheepishly admit that I'm on book three, of the series of four, and it is a compelling set of stories. In these books there is a certain erotic undertone that is utterly adult, though the way it's told the characters are kept totally PG-13. Vampires have a large amount of contradiction to their character. They are a combination of beauty, desire and danger. Just as in Lestat's story, the vampires in Twilight are beautiful beings, stone cold, hard muscled bodies and essentially blood thirsty. However, there is a twist on this theme in Twilight, because the vampire family that is featured feeds only on wildlife and this is a moral decision made by the entire family. The story is based on the unabashed, unavoidable, overwhelming love felt by a human girl and a young male vampire. Though the dialogue is sometimes a little bland between these two characters, the electricity that is described between them virtually zaps you from the page. The author has nailed their feelings of deepest desire and she describes it with such subtly that it leaves you a little breathless. These are not just lusty, teen novels meant for girls in the throes of a crush on the quarterback of the high school football team. The writing is more sophisticated than the average Harlequin romance and the vampire's involvement lends itself to a much deeper sense of romance than any mere mortal love affair could possess. I am not a pushover when it comes to reading. I'm picky and stubborn about the books that I choose. You will never find a Danielle Steele, or a Nora Roberts book in my house. I loathe those plebeian stories of love affairs and their predictable story lines. I don't care for fantasy or sci-fi, either. I'm not into books about mummy's, or zombies, or werewolves. So what is the deal with the vampires? I believe that the thanks goes to Anne Rice whose initial description of vampires was deliciously romanticized, not in a sexual manner, but in a preternatural, irresistibly sensual way. The seamless story telling of the Twilight series and the strength of passion shared by the main characters make them truly enjoyable to read. I congratulate Stephenie Meyer for bringing up a whole new generation of vampire lovers by sharing her artful tale with the world. Now I must get back to Eclipse...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kettle Conundrum

Here are pictures of my old tea kettle (the silver model) and my new tea kettle (the flashy red ultra mod-style). I've had the silver Revereware kettle for nine, or ten years. It was a gift from a girl, now a grown woman, who rode with Jonathan and I for many years. I don't even remember what the occasion was that prompted her to buy us a tea kettle...maybe a birthday, or our wedding? Anyway, I've had this kettle a long time and I know it's not rational, but I tend to bond with inanimate objects, and I love this kettle. It has faithfully boiled water for my coffee press every day, never once giving me any problems. I am the kind of person who doesn't buy something new just for the sake of it. My stuff has to completely self destruct for me to replace it, even then I will try to get Jonathan to put whatever has broken back together with his superior skills for improvisational repair work. I guess you could call it Yankee practicality, or call a spade a spade, I'm cheap and weird. So, just imagine my horror when a box of birthday gifts arrived from my parents and when I opened it, I found inside a brand new flashy, red tea kettle. I felt the air suck out of my lungs for a minute when I first laid eyes on it. I quickly glanced at the old kettle, sitting comfortably atop the stove, on its burner, imagining that it had a sinking feeling, like it knew what I just seen in the box. I felt instant guilt and I didn't even want to unpack the new kettle, but then again it was sort of cool looking, in a glitzy sporty, ultra mod kind of way. My guilt magnified, because I had allowed myself to think the new kettle was better looking than the old one. In a panic, I replaced my guilt with a renewed loyalty and denial. I shall not use this new, shiny kettle! It shall remain in a box, until I see fit to retire Old Silver. God, now I wasn't only getting older, I was having ridiculous conversations in my head about tea kettles and their tender emotional states. I opted not to share my thoughts with Jonathan. These are the sort of things that I usually keep from my husband. He already has to listen to my continual singing and chatting with the cats and dogs in our house. I can't let him know that my peculiarities extend to inanimate objects as well. I would just have to put the new kettle on the stove and let the kettles kibbutz for a while. Maybe Old Silver would be relieved to see this red kettle show up. Perhaps, it was tired after all these years of boiling and whistling, boiling and whistling. I decided to give Big Red a chance and ignore my imaginary tea kettle conversations. Really, enough is enough, I told myself.

I began using the new kettle the next morning and though it made me feel a sharp pang in my stomach, I put Old Silver away in a cabinet. Over the next few weeks, I began to bond with the new kettle and its funky, ergonomic handle. I was adjusting to listening to its strong, steady whistle when the water was boiling. I'm such a coffee junkie that basically anything to do with my morning coffee mojo eventually becomes sacred to me. The red kettle was winning me over...then tragedy struck. It was late one evening and for whatever reason, Jonathan noticed that during the preparation of dinner he had splashed the entire cooktop with flying grease particles. He is one of the world's messiest cooks, so this is not a rare occurrence in our kitchen. The rarity of this is that he observed the mess and became insistent about cleaning it up. I was at the refrigerator door when I heard the mighty crash. I looked over and there was my new kettle, prone on the floor, with small bits of broken black plastic scattered around it. Oh no, due to it's slippery covering of spattered oil, Jonathan (with his constant butter-fingers) had dropped it! The mighty new kettle has been ruined!! As it turned out, it wasn't ruined, just scarred a bit. It's fancy handle now no longer had the ability to hold itself up on its own accord, but after a quick test I saw that it could still do its job. Jonathan was contrite, but his comforting words extended to report, "what a cheaply made kettle!". I was angry, then bereft, then angry again. "How could you be so clumsy!!", I shouted. This was a rhetorical question, because Jonathan is prone to dropping things on a constant basis. Finally, I sighed the sigh of a resigned, but loving wife. As I picked up the scattered broken black plastic pieces, I swear I heard Old Silver snickering from the bottom cupboard. "Who's shiny and perfect now?", it seemed to be saying. I really need some therapy for this kind of thing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last Call for Summer Fun

I am ashamed by how long it has been since I last blogged. This was supposed to be a discipline inducing endeavor and I have been ignoring it, sort of treating it like the elephant in the corner of the room, concept. Well, I'm back and I'm pledging anew my vow to blog religiously, or at least more than once every two weeks.

I can't believe that we are in the month of Sept. already and leaves are actually changing color up here in Millbrook. This is a picture of my beautiful backyard, which is showing the inevitable signs of surrender to autumnal hues. It's too soon to let go of summer, especially after such a rainy, dreary summer. What did we have one week of decent hot weather in August? Then, boom, the curtain dropped and it's back to sweaters and blowing winds every day? Absolutely unacceptable, but I guess there is nothing to do, aside from complaining bitterly. My in-laws live in Aiken, SC and if I dare to bring up the weather here, my mother-in-law will cackle loudly and boom into the phone, "it's just beautiful here, I will never go back to the northeast!!". It's almost an automated response to any weather related comment and it makes me want to reach through the phone and slap the smug "sunny skies" smile right off her face. Let's face it, the weather in the northeast has sucked this year. Unless, you really enjoy grey, misty, depressing, chilly days. In that case, it's been perfection. However, I stubbornly refuse to even think about moving down south. No, thanks. Not for me. I much prefer the wretched, bone numbing chill of winter to the landscape of the south, balmy though it may be. My take on SC is that it is full of bland pine forests, dilapidated mobile homes dotting the roadsides, and once you get into to town, there is every possible fast food restaurant you can think of, just decide how many calories you want and point your car to the drive-thru. If you have a Cinnabon for breakfast,a Big Mac for lunch and then top it off with a eight piece bucket of original recipe from KFC (don't forget a Lil' Bucket Parfait for dessert), then you are going to be a candidate for Nutri-System in about a week. Top off all that greasy food with an idiot Republican governor and a local vernacular peppered with y'alls and I feel my trigger finger starting to itch. But enough about my dislike for the southern half of the USA. In fact, I am heading to the SC shore in a little under two weeks for a week long vacation with my husband's entire family. I shall proudly don my bikini and expose my lily white skin to the burning rays of sun that the south is still enjoying. I will read nonsensical novels, while listening to the surf gently lap onto the shore. We will make giant feasts every evening and drink vats of wine together, each family member trying to vie for the best story, or most clever quip of the day. That week will have to fulfill my quota for summer fun this year. And when I return home, I will resign myself to a daily wardrobe of wool sweaters and long underwear. Ah, New England you are a cruel, and yet, captivating place to live.