Monday, January 02, 2012

Not About Books.

I read this, today, on one of my favorite blogs. Jenny Lawson, a broad with whom I would like to drink gin, shared a beautiful, heart wrenching, bare to the bones post about her fight against depression and anxiety disorder. I have nothing to add to it except this: me too.

Here it is. Thanks Bloggess. Read the entire post here:

If you follow me on twitter you already know that I’ve been battling off one of the most severe bouts of depression I’ve ever had. Yesterday it started to pass, and for the first time in weeks I cried with relief instead of with hopelessness. Depression can be crippling, and deadly. I’m lucky that it’s a rare thing for me, and that I have a support system to lean on. I’m lucky that I’ve learned that depression lies to you, and that you should never listen to it, in spite of how persuasive it is at the time.

When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery. We call them survivors. Because they are.

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

Regardless, today I feel proud. I survived. And I celebrate every one of you reading this. I celebrate the fact that you’ve fought your battle and continue to win. I celebrate the fact that you may not understand the battle, but you pick up the baton dropped by someone you love until they can carry it again. I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger. We learn new tricks on the battlefield. We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them. We don’t struggle in vain.

We win.

We are alive.


Note: Again, as much as I would love to write this movingly, this is not my work and was originally posted on www.thebloggess.com. She's amazing. And funny. Read her blog.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Broads with whom I would drink gin.

I think Kristin Chenoweth and I should be BFF's.


In fact, if I could have a cocktail party with some famous women, she would top the list.

She and Bette Midler.

And Dolly Parton. Shoot, Olympia Dukakis could come too, if she wasn't busy.

For that matter, most anyone in the cast of "Steel Magnolias" would be welcome. Daryl Hannah might have to bring some gin. I always seem to run out.

And as long as we are completely ignoring all sense of reality, I would love for Eleanor Roosevelt to stop by. She'd be a hoot. We'd definitely need more gin. Bring two bottles, Daryl.

While we're at it, let's just send an invite to Rita Moreno, Julia Child and Jenny Lawson, too. If you haven't read Jenny's blog, The Bloggess, you need to. I really mean it. I hope she wears her wolf suit to the party. That would rock like a hurricane.

Added to the list, just recently, is Ree Drummond. She is more widely known at the Pioneer Woman and her blog often leaves me with tears running down my cheeks from laughing and drool dribbling off of my chin from her delicious recipes. I read her adorable memior, "Black Heels and Tractor Wheels", on my 20th anniversary weekend with my fabulous husband. He doesn't like to talk while he drives. I get more than a little antsy if there is more than 5 minutes of unoccupied silence. I have to read in order to stay married and not dropped on the side of the road somewhere. It's for my own good.

"Black Heels and Tractor Wheels" is a sweet, sweet story of how she and her husband met, fell in love and married. Sweet, sweet, sweet. My poor husband had to listen to me oohing and ahhing the entire drive. Poor guy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Relationship Advice from Winston Churchill

It's been a long while since I've visited WUIDK (Dude, I think I just created a catchphrase! Nevermind. Scratch that. There's no such thing as a "dk" dipthong.) Awesome catchphrases aside, just because I haven't been posting, does not mean that I haven't been reading. The "Owen" project is going slowly but steadily. Right now I am SLOGGING through a book written in 1899 by Winston Churchill (but not THAT Winston Churchill) about pre-Revolutionary War America. It's fiction. Richard Carvel is the title. Apparently, this Winston Churchill attended the Naval Academy, worked for Cosmopolitan Magazine (yes, THAT Cosmopolitan Magazine) and wrote historical fiction.

Wouldn't it be awesome, though, if the non-historical fiction writing Winston Churchill worked for Cosmo? Couldn't you just SEE the teasers? "Never, never, never give up . . . pleasing your man!" Or "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference . . . in bed!" Or what about "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. Your man will thank us for this!".

My mind reels.

In any case, I've got a couple of books on my nightstand right now. I'll try to post when I can.

Note: I have been reading a great many blogs these days (Damn you, Pinterest!) and I feel I must apologize that I do not have any of those fancy picture making skills that so many of my favorite bloggers have. I just have words. Maybe if you pulled out a box of crayons every time you read my tiny offerings, that would suffice? Let me know how that works out.






Sunday, July 31, 2011

When I was a young girl, I read every book in my house. My mother was a reader and loved books. So was I. I still am. During the summers I would go to the library and pick up the "Recommended Reading" pamphlets and make a goal to start at the top of the list and read every book. Needless to say, I'm not super motivated by goals, and my literary mission would soon fall by the wayside and I fell back to re-reading the stacks in my own little collection. Story of my life.

A book that was ALWAYS included in those reading lists was "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn"

by Betty Smith. How could I have missed out on this book, especially since the title starts with "A"? Was I that lazy that I quit so shortly after starting? How is it that I survived my navel gazing, woe is me teen years without reading the WONDERFUL story of Francie Nolan? Born in 1901, the story follows Francie throughout her childhood in turn of the century Brooklyn, living in the poverty that was pervasive for immigrant families. Unflinching and honest, yet respectful and never vulgar, this book tackles subjects I'm sure were uncomfortable to its contemporary audience: sex, alcoholism, poverty and prejudice. The voices are plain and real and compelling. I honestly looked forward to picking it up every evening and was sad when the last page turned. Beautiful, amazing, lovely.

Monday, July 25, 2011

In my last post I mentioned that I was going to read a book called "Image of Josephine" by Booth Tarkington. I was excited because who wouldn't want to read something by an author with such a FABULOUS name? I mean, really, Booth Tarkington? That sounds so old Hollywood, so morning talk show host that no matter how crap the book ended up, one just has to check it out. So I did.

The plot is of a young soldier, sent home from the front to recuperate as, get this, an assistant curator in an art museum. Apparently, his doctor thought it to be a place where he would experience quiet and stable work and, thus, be healed from whatever awful experience he had in battle. He shows up to the museum and gets to work. He meets the staff, including his supervisor, a lovely and intelligent woman named Helena Jyre. He also meets a royal beeatch, Josephine Oaklin, the granddaughter of the museum's founder. Oaklin is en fuego most of the time because she feels that no one on the museum staff is qualified to do anything because, while they are educated in the subject, they do not understand ART. And she does. Better than anyone. Ever. Nyah, nyah, nyah. She rages and taunts and makes intentional efforts to thwart anyone's work that does not align perfectly with her vision. She is manipulative and nasty and just plain mean. The soldier finds out that she is distantly related to the queen bee and ends up in her plot to get her own way, no matter what.

Basically, this book read like the plot of a movie, complete with a twist ending and well placed soliloquies about the nature of ART. Perfect for a book by a guy named Booth Tarkington. I should probably start working on the screenplay. Cameron Diaz should play Josephine Oaklin. She could pull off the self-righteous shrew role pretty darn well. Wait, oh crap, she has already done this role in "Bad Teacher". Would hate to typecast the girl.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

During World War II, the British Fourteenth Army and the 1st Air Commando Group of the United States Air Force joined to fight the Japanese Army in what was called the Burma Campaign. This unit was established in response to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1943 introduction to Brigadier Orde Wingate's vision of what could be done in Burma with proper air support. The U.S. Air Force created the 5318th Air Unit and in March 1944, they were designated the 1st Air Commando Group. Colonels John Alison and Philip Cochran were chosen as co-commanders of the unit. This unit was only in existence for one year as it was disbanded in 1945.  The book, Road To Mandalay by Lowell Thomas is the story of that British and American collaboration. Reading this book felt like it took longer than the entire campaign.  It would be an excellent read for military history buffs and fans of the gameRisk.

I am grateful that I read this as the whole point of the "Owen Reading Project" is to get to know my grandfather better through the books he had on his shelves.  Really, though, when I saw the title, I was hoping for more of story like the old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby "On the Road" movies.  Now those were fun.


Next on the nightstand: Image of Josephine by Booth Tarkington. I'm excited simply because the author's name is Booth Tarkington. How could you go wrong with a name like that?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Next Great Lifetime Movie

 This novel, Long Week End by Harlow Estes made its debut in 1941, long before the advent of what I like to call the Lifetime Movie genre of story.  These are stories filled with tearful drama, unimaginable tragedy and, usually, a pretty tidy ending.  Often they star Valerie Bertinelli or Nancy McKeon.  There are women done wrong, women misunderstood and women in love with the wrong man.  There is usually some kind of romance.  Or murder.  Or suicide. Or appletini's.  Sometimes there are all of the above.  This is that kind of story.

This book started out promisingly enough with a  description of the protagonist, Livvy.  On the train ride to visit her gentleman friend Ames Chelsea, and his family, for a long weekend, she self-reflects that "she had experimented wth subtlety a few times; she wouldn't again, ever; the results had been frightful."    Loved that description.  Definitely, it would be my new life motto had I ever been subtle.  It was my favorite part.  

 It was on page three.  

There were 310 pages. 

Sigh.