Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Carob, Dragonheart, Lost, Laundry, and Coffee

It's a busy time of year not conducive to coherent thought, so today's post consists of random things I’ve been mulling over lately rather than an essay.

Whatever happened to carob? Some things might seem like a good idea at the time, but let’s face it: there is no substitute for the real thing. Especially when the real thing is chocolate. While talking about something related to flying, one of George’s Air Force instructors once said, “It was a good idea that shouldn’t have seen the light of day.” That seems also to apply to carob, doesn’t it?

Scholastic Book Fairs are fun. When I first started volunteering in our school district, I tried volunteer opportunities without thinking about what I might actually be called upon to do. Field Day and the Spring Carnival stand out in my memory as particularly painful. Then it dawned on me that I needed to play to my strengths as a volunteer, so I started doing early literacy tutoring, helping at the library, and volunteering at the bi-annual Scholastic book fair. There is no need to run after errant balls like a dork or use sunscreen or, you know, sweat. Besides, Jack is really proud that his mommy helps with the book fair, and Nick likes being able to beg me for books and win. Everyone is happy.

Worst movie ever: Dragonheart. To be fair, we only watched fifteen minutes of it, which was about thirteen more than I wanted to watch. Nick tried so hard to stick with it but finally declared it unwatchable. Dennis Quaid fluctuates erratically between a fake British accent and no accent at all, just like Kevin Costner in Robin Hood, another bad movie which at least had the grace to be campy…well, a little, and maybe not on purpose. Dragonheart’s script is appallingly bad, with characters changing their personalities for no good reason and using speech that was not ever and will never be natural. What was Sean Connery thinking?

“I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind.” Richard Greenberg, NY Times Magazine, 03-26-2006

Oops. My candid comments about Dragonheart and Robin Hood could be construed as vain and unkind. So let me say that I certainly couldn’t have done any better job acting than anyone in Dragonheart. In addition, Dennis Quaid completely rocked in InnerSpace with Meg Ryan, and I will always love Sean Connery for his absolutely pitch-perfect performance in the third Indiana Jones movie (“Rats?”) and in every single James Bond flick he made. As for Kevin Costner, he has a really cute ass. Thank you, Dances with Wolves.


And while we’re on the subject of entertainment, I’m still lost with Lost, even after last night’s episode where we learned who was chosen. The most revealing line in last week’s episode was something like: “Every question you ask will only lead to more questions.” Sunday night, we will learn all we will ever learn about this silly island in the 2.5-hour series finale, and Monday morning, I imagine I’ll still be lost. At least it will be over, and as long as that worm Benjamin Linus dies, I think I’ll be happy. Or maybe not. Sigh.

Tomorrow, Jack’s class will be serving the moms lunch in their classroom. I’m so excited to see Jack in his classroom! Because children with autism rarely handle breaks in routine well and are so easily distracted by them, Jack’s teacher cannot have parent volunteers in the classroom. For a special event like this, it will be interesting to see how the other children react. Jack will be thrilled and will handle it quite well, I’m sure.

Laundry and paperwork. They are never-ending.

May and December are the busiest months of the year for mommies in the northern hemisphere. What month is the end of the school year Down Under? I want to say special prayers that month for all those mommies. I’m already praying for mommies here in the northern half of the planet. We need it.

So why, during one of my busiest months of the year, did I decide to read the epic-length novel World without End by Ken Follett? One-thousand-fourteen pages of obsession. If you’ve not read it and enjoy historical fiction at its sordid best, dive right in. But wait until your schedule is light for a week or two, or you’ll end up sleep-deprived and cranky. Like I am.

I’m going to miss the weekly coffee group that my friend Chelly and I started back in November. Once school is out, we’ll all have kids at home so getting together will be less…grown up. Play dates at the park or pool won’t be the same as sitting around a kitchen table talking about nothing and everything, drinking coffee and eating something fattening, with a group of fun women who like to laugh. On the upside, my dear friend Angela is moving back to our area this summer after leaving 18 months ago. I’m so thrilled to have my stamping buddy back!

As we wind down the school year, I’m thinking about how far my children have come since September. Jack has taken off in reading because his teacher understands that a whole language approach to literacy is useful for some children. Nick has overcome a lot of his math difficulties this year because his teachers have been so diligent and patient in teaching him. It takes a village, and we’re in a very good one. I’m so very grateful for that.

I’ll end today with a question for you. I’m almost finished with World without End and wonder what the rest of you are planning to read. What’s on your summer reading list right now? And feel free to add whatever random thoughts are on your mind this May as well. If I can be random, so can you!


  1. Morning Susan
    I go to the local thrift store and stock up on murder mysteries, historical fiction, whatever stikes my fancy. summer is a wonderful time to sit in the glider outside under the big evergreen tree and relax. Usually only get a few minutes a week...but with so many books I'm ready
    patti moffett

  2. I just started reading "Admission" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, a novel following a thirty-something admissions officer at Princeton who must face a past secret when she meets an interesting student during a recruitment session. I'm not far enough into the book to know what secret she's been hiding, but I'm enjoying the interesting insight into the Ivy League admission process. As a Columbia employee, I find that very interesting.

    The book I'll start when I finish "Admission" is "Summer at Tiffany's" by Marjorie Hart. It's a memoir of her summer as a Tiffany's employee in the 1940s. From the back cover: it "captures a time when women had moxie, wore proper hats and gloves, and burned with ambition to make it in the big city."

    I'm just going to enjoy the Lost ride on Sunday and not expect any answers. I've given up on ever knowing exactly how the Others would have used Walt's specialness.

  3. Random is my middle name! :)

    I just started reading "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters". I have never read any Jane Austen, but I could NOT pass up this book.

    Here is a random bit for you: My 7-year-old was very naughty today and so I brought him home early (this kid is killing me slowly). For punishment I will be taking him and his two brothers to the grocery store later. I haven't decided if this is punishment for him or for me.

  4. Carob... now that's something I haven't thought of for a long time! Might have to visit the health food shop and suss it out again.

    I read World Without End over the summer holidays and loved it as well. Just last night, I finished reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and I am about to start The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier after reading her book Remarkable Creatures recently, which I enjoyed as well.

    The school year here in Australia runs from Feb thru Dec., so our big break is over the Christmas period and our summer.

    Hope that you are not still Lost after the end of Lost - think that free-to-air t.v here has given up on it!

  5. When I first moved to North America I found it crazy to have both May and November busy,busy, busy. In Australia the end of school/activities and the Christmas break coincide so everything was super busy but we had the summer holidays to recover. When I moved to Canada I found the two week break at Christmas too short.

  6. Nicole, if your kids are like mine, a trip to the store is punishment for you! How did it go?

    Francie, I wonder if the whole Walt thing was just another failed attempt to find a replacement for Jacob. I wonder, too. That seems like a big loose string. And whatever happened to Walt's dog?

    Mim, I think I have Lady and the Unicorn on my bookshelf unread. Great suggestion!

    Patti, you're so good to go to the thrift store for books! I'm going to try the local library this summer, too.

  7. So, you were seriously thinking about carob? Hmmm...

    Did you know that LOST is actually like 4 1/2 hours long this Sunday? Yes! 7-9pm is a "reunion" of cast and a recap, then the 2 1/2 hour finale. I'm ready!!

    We are reading Capital Offense by Kathleen Antrim for book pick. Thought I was so clever to pick my son's girlfriend's mom's book and have her come and speak at book club, which she enthusiastically agreed to do. However, the kids have "taken a break" even though I instructed ds to hang in there until after book club...darn him...LOL! The book is about a First Lady who tries to overthrow the President. Sounds like a season of "24?"

    Today I am pondering my Costco shopping list. Having 2 teen boys out of school their friends..means mega food! Real carob.

    I hope you enjoy your event at school, Susan!

  8. "The Mountain Between Us" by Charles Martin, discovered his books last year and have gone through everything he's written. Looking forward to this new relase and end of school year!

    There is no substitute for dark chocolate:)

  9. Since you asked: we survived the grocery store trip, but it was close. I almost lost my mind in the candy aisle and then again in the baking aisle (mmmmm, box brownies).

    Next time for punishment I might have to buy the kids some carob. ;)

  10. i just finished Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier about Mary Anning who found the first fossils of extinct creatures in southern england in 1820s. needless to say, she never recd the credit she deserved for her contributions.

    now am reading Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson, the author of Three Cups of Tea. his story is amazing, inspiring, and humbling. i can't recommend them enough.

    i am thankful for time with my family in philly. my cousin joined us, and we celebrated my dad's 85th birthday, and my sister 55th birthday. we had such a wonderful visit. the time always goes soo quickly. i took some great pictures, so now i will make a little photo book to share.

    i am thankful for our gospel choir. our 2 concerts are this weekend, and i am excited. we work so hard on this music, memorizing all 10 pieces. we have a talented band playing with us, and a great collection of diverse singers. it is a gift to our community.

    my eldest son is leaving tonight for a 3 week trip to europe. he's traveling with 2 buddies and the plan to squeeze in as much as they can. my prayers for safe travels.

    leftover chinese food for bkfst. yummy!!

    thanks for always brightening my day, susan.

    hugs, marty

  11. oops! forgot these.
    i saw these 2 signs in Hobby Lobby last week, and i laughed outloud.

    my wife says i don't listen.
    at least i think that's what she said.

    there's a skinny girl inside of me trying to get out. i can usually shut her up with cookies.

    and a recent bumper sticker...

    HONK if you love jesus.
    keep TEXTING if you want to meet him soon.

    marty :)

  12. Marty,
    I heard part of an NPR interview with Greg Mortenson, and it was fascinating.

    I'm reading Lady and the Unicorn now.

    Carob for punishment sounds about right to me. (((hugs)))

  13. I think carob got a bum rap by being touted as a substitute for chocolate. Carob (a.k.a. St. Johns Bread Fruit) is a marvelous food in its own right. If you aren't expecting it to take the place of chocolate in your life or your recipes, it is delicious and nutritious. Anyone with good sense KNOWS there is no suitable substitute for chocolate except maybe MORE chocolate!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!