Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I just finished reading a fun and light book by Sophie Kinsella, Can You Keep a Secret? The heroine, Emma Corrigan, is reminiscent of one of my favorite characters of all times, Bridgett Jones, and spills all of her “secrets” to a complete stranger during a bumpy airplane ride. These “secrets” aren’t really serious, mainly things like- what kind of underwear she prefers to wear and that she really doesn’t love her boyfriend, etc. Like I said, it’s a fun and light read!

So it got me thinking- what might my secrets be? And while I wasn’t able to come up with any “secrets” per se, I do have a number of “wishes” that are always on my mind that I’d like to share.

1. I wish I could tell Oprah how sorry I am for everything I’ve said about her.

2. I wish I could really sing. Not so that I could go on tour- I love my life now and don’t need the headache of an international sell-out. But, I’d love to be able to really perform 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton at the office Christmas Party. I would act like it wasn’t going to be any big deal, I’d be a little shy, and then it would be AWESOME. People would talk about it for years to come.

3. I wish I always had a pair of scissors with me when I saw those “balls” hanging from a truck’s (or Mazda’s- you know who you are in Little Rock) trailer hitch. I’d just do a little snip-snip.

4. I wish I could be featured on the Today Show– but not because of a tragedy, or some sorry story. I’d like to be called as an expert of something I love like the movies. Maybe I could have my own segment, joke with Al Roker, and be awkward with Anne Curry.

5. I wish I had my own stylist. He or she, preferably someone like Cinna from the Hunger Games, wouldn’t have to work for me full-time, they could just pick out my wardrobe and dress me for special events like Supper Club and Bible Study.

6. I wish all of my friends lived next door to me. We could share a backyard like sister-wives, but not husbands. I’d have the adult hang-out in my backyard, one friend would have a pool, another a trampoline, and so on. And we’d never get tired of each other or get in a fight.

7. I wish I could time travel. This is so cliché but it truly is one of my wishes. I would just observe and try not to drink the water. My top three, time destinations: Cleopatra’s era, JFK assassination, and an early Elvis concert.

8. I wish that I could pay off Sarah McLachlan (and the Humane Society) to stop playing those Angel commercials. Every time I see one I wish that I was rich and could make it worth their while to pull all those spots, immediately.

9. I wish everyone had a dog like Greta and a lifetime supply of Diet Dr. Pepper.

10. I wish I had ten wishes to make it an even number, but nine really sums it up.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I love to be entertained. I’d say it’s one of my favorite hobbies. I love a good book, a well-written television show, and everything about going to the movies. Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Mad Men are my most recent loves. I couldn’t wait for the next book, that next episode, the next film. But each has come to an end and this last year I found myself a little depressed.

I’ve tried all sorts of replacements: DivergentHunger Games reworked; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo– shock value;  and the worst yet- ABC’s Once Upon a Time– the Lost writers trying to fit the Lost blueprint into the popular fantasy genre, not to mention the horrendous special effects. I had almost given up.

Then a ray of light, hope in the midst of my despair! Downton Abbey.

I happened upon this little historical fiction on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre right before New Year’s Day. Because I was highly disappointed by the BBC’s The Hour last year, I didn’t expect much from Downton. I thought I’d try a few episodes while my husband watched the 10,000 bowl games that I care nothing about.

Well, right off the bat- The Titanic sinks and the Earl of Grantham is left with no heir to his title, his money, and Downton Abby, a fictional estate in Britain’s North Yorkshire. The story follows the Earl, his three daughters, his American millionairess wife, and his meddling mother played by Maggie Smith. As the aristocrats grapple with the antiquated world around them- dealing with issues of inheritance, different classes in a changing society, and love and marriage, a parallel but very separate society in the servants’ quarters tackles the same issues.

The things I loved about Season 1:

The writing is superb– Each storyline is well developed and relevant. Each character is intriguing and vital to the plot. Mary is selfish yet endearing. I feel sorry for Edith and hate her all at the same time. I am appalled by O’Brian and equally repelled by Thomas. I cheer as the love develops between Mr. Bates and Anna, and hope that Matthew can figure it all out before the War begins. There are many characters, many story lines, and no lack of action. This show never slows down.

The art direction is fantastic– Highclere Castle in Hampshire is used  as a setting and could not be a more perfect and beautiful backdrop as the drama unfolds. The costumes are equally as stunning, bringing to mind the 1998 film, The Titanic, (sans early/cheesy computer generated special effects) and giving Mad Men a little competition in the television period-drama category.

The Season Finale puts both the writing and the art direction together beautifully. The excessive and dated aristocratic society come face to face with its absurdity as World War I is announced- announced during the most beautiful and lavish garden party- complete with linen-clad guests, white roses and a mint julep.  It’s a story for the eyes as well as the heart.

The things I hope for Season 2:

Better character development- Season 1 left me disliking Thomas so much that I couldn’t believe in him. He was too evil, too mean, and too selfish. The writers even managed to weave in a thread of humanity for O’Brian but left Thomas as terrible as ever. What bothered me the most about Thomas’s characterization was that he is the only homosexual character. I was troubled that the only gay character was the only completely horrible character- and I long to see him made real. To my relief, the beginning of Season 2 provided Thomas some depth, and the beginning of a back story which might prove to help.

The unrequited love story lines- I’m so over the unrequited love story lines and so tired of all the whining. I just get so Twilighted out and wish people would just say how they really feel! The relationship between Mr. Bates and Anna begins to take a very intelligent and intriguing turn in the Season 2 premiere that I applaud. On the other hand, the Matthew and Mary love story that is based upon the “I love you but I just can’t say so” mentality wears on me. My hope is that the writers are developing Mary’s character- maturing her and allowing her to show some empathy for Matthew’s fiance- instead of just creating the inevitable drawn out love affair that we expected for Season 2.

All in all, I can’t wait for Sunday nights. Thank you PBS for a wonderful surprise. How did I miss this one for so long?

I dare say that all of The Tiger Lilies readers will enjoy Downton Abbey too- you will not be sorry- at least until the episodes end.

Also, if you dig what I dig, check out this blog, YABookBridges.com. There is a post about Vixen, a book series set in 1920’s Chicago. I know I’m going to check it out.

Read Full Post »

Don't worry, we're about to Manage some Mischief.

I had the time of my life at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After Matt denied my request to celebrate our fifth anniversary at Hogwarts, a.k.a. Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, I easily convinced my sister that we needed  a “girl’s trip,” and fast.  After only a day of planning, Reagan and I had secured a hotel room, plane-park-and express pass tickets, and child care for our children. We were off like a Nimbus 2000.

I was already suffering from a mysterious pre-trip dizziness, (which the genius doctor at the after-hours clinic diagnosed as a possible brain tumor) but it didn’t matter, I was going to Florida. I packed only the essentials: a messenger bag, a visor and granny panties. And if these items weren’t enough to classify this as a “girl’s trip,”  for our pre-Park fare, we bought wine and cookies at the local grocery store. We had a great night-before carb load and were ready for an early morning.

Reagan and I woke up at the crack of dawn to get to the park early. Upon arrival, my dizziness lost its battle to an intense adrenalin surge as we raced to the back of the Islands of Adventure Park. Entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was surreal. I’m not making this up: the Castle, the Hogwarts Express, Hogsmeade etc. is breathtaking. We later learned that Universal Studios spent an estimated $200 million on this creation, and I am here to say, every penny was well spent.

Hogwart's Express

Platform 9 3/4

Entering Hogwarts

After entering the gates of Hogwarts, you are instructed to stow all of your belongings in a locker in order to ride, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”  Stowing all of your belongings is mandatory. This should have been our first clue. Then, as we walked through the Herbology Greenhouse Three, the following sign was posted:

See the stick guy vomiting over the side of the boat?

I’m pretty sure whatever  potion they slipped us had a little bit of Tiger Lily in it. We were about to be motion sick out of our minds.

But before the nausea ensued, we walked through the Hogwart’s corridors, past Dumbledore’s office, and through the Griffyndor Common Room. Right before you get on the ride, Harry, Ron and Hermoine appear from underneath the invisibility cloak in the Great Hall. They explain that we will be flying through the grounds of Hogwarts, and that we should beware of a dragon that Hagrid has let loose. At this point in the line, the 13 year-old in front of us began to panic, and Ron made the Great Hall actually snow, by accident, of course.

Talking Portraits

Dumbledore's Office

Griffyndor Common Room

At this point in the line (probably about 75 minutes into our wait) I was feeling impervius to motion sickness. And even as the Sorting Hat warned us of the dangers of the ride, Reagan and I boarded our enchanted bench.

The Sorting Hat

After four minutes of the coolest ride I never experienced, (about two seconds into the simulation, Reagan and I both closed our eyes– tight) I silently willed myself onto the moving walkway that led to the end of the ride. Reagan and I walked side-by-side without a word, through Filch’s Emporium Gift Shop and straight to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. We were both concentrating really hard on not puking our guts out. (If only we had a Purple Puking Pastille.)

It only took about a half an hour before we were ready for the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster. To get on this ride, you walk along a path laced with banners for the Tri-Wizard Tournament. After passing through the Champion’s Tent, which showcases the Triwizard Cup, you then choose whether to ride the Hungarian Horntail or the Chinese Fireball Dragons. We chose the Hungarian Horntail and quickly found ourselves in the midst of a levicorpus spell.

Banners leading to the Coaster

Champion's Tent

It was after The Dragon Challenge that we had to the leave The Wizarding World all together. After a good hour of complete still-ness, and a few bottles of water, we went back for more. The last, and only ride in The Wizarding World that we really enjoyed was Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a kiddie roller coaster that won’t put your equilibrium in check- if you even have any after the previously mentioned rides. And as a bonus, while waiting in line for this kiddie coaster, you pass right by Hagrid’s house.

Hagrid's House

Look closely to the right and you can see the Hippogriff flying right by.

By day two, we were back to just “hang out” in Hogsmeade. This was probably my favorite part of our trip. We had a Butterbeer, sat on the patio at the Three Broomsticks, bought some candy at Honeydukes, had a laugh at Zonkos, and watched some lucky kid get chosen by his wand in Olivander’s Wand Shop.

It may look cold, but it's June in Florida.

Fantastic.

Inside Honeydukes: Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans; we also bought a few chocolate frogs.

Inside Zonko's. They had Extendable Ears but no Love Potions.

Darn kid. It should have been me.

And although we were pretty upset that Olivander picked some little kid over the two of us, we bought our own wands before leaving. I chose a replica of Hermoine’s wand and Reagan chose a generic wand– or, excuse me, it chose her.

Hermoine's wand. It has a vine on it that signifies loyalty.

Reagan's wand.

Overall, I would say we had the time of our lives. It is so fun to see the books come to life, and I had the best company and Harry- Potter-expert in my sister as a tour guide. I would venture to say that this is one of the places I would think about if Expecto-ing my own Patronus.

Read Full Post »

Dear Oprah,

I’ve had an “ah-ha” moment.

Although I don’t (yet) have a gratitude journal, I am a recent Oprah convert. It was as if the clouds parted, my eyes were opened and I finally saw the light.

For the last few months, I’ve really been enjoying your Farewell Season. I watched intently as you brought on The Judds to talk about their own farewell tour, I wished that I was given that trip to Australia, and I almost cried when I realized that I’d missed the Fergie interview. (Still waiting for that one to re-run, hint- hint.) Not only did your Harpo magicians bring us all the “A List” guests this year, but they also managed to have Aretha Franklin belt out an extremely slow and moving version of  Amazing Grace at your Surprise Spectacular. Season 25 was some amazing television.

Why Not Me?

Ironically, although I’ve always watched your show, I have only been a fan of yours for about the last fifteen minutes. I’m sorry to say that in the past, I’ve even given you a hard time on my blog for what I thought was your self-appointed Deity Status. But after your re-interview with James Frey, I began viewing you afresh. The episode: “James Frey: Five Years Later” shocked me. I had witnessed his lashing five years earlier when you and many others in the U.S. gave him such a hard time for publishing his novel as a memoir. I couldn’t believe the way in which you let him have it.  I felt so sick for him in that moment, being human myself and often making my own mistakes, and I just wanted you to show him a little grace.

You were about to unleash the Fury.

And then you did, in your most recent interview. I thought, in fact, you showed all sorts of grace. You apologized for the way in which the interview was conducted, for making Frey feel “ambushed,” and for the way in which you went about berating him for his mistake. I thought that was very big– even for Oprah Winfrey.

It was a freeing experience for me. I could now not only watch your shows, but finally understand what everyone had seen in you all of these years. And now, instead of cynically viewing your last episode as a tribute to yourself, I was really able to view it as you intended: as a Love Letter to your viewers.

Your last episode inspired me: your pretty pink dress, your words of wisdom, and most of all your encouragement to follow one’s calling. You said, “My great wish for all of you, who have allowed me to honor my calling through this show, is that, you carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don’t waste anymore time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”

Amen, ya’ll!

I know you can't really see the earrings, but I loved them.

So now I’m hooked, and just in time. I’ll have to see how much it’s going to cost me each month to add the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to my cable package. But for Gayle, Shania and Fergie, no amount could be too much.

Thanks for all of your hard work,  Oprah. I’m really going to miss you.

Leanne

Read Full Post »

A Rare Re-Post in Honor of the Late Sallinger.

About two weeks ago, Matt and I went on a much-needed vacation to Mexico. I was looking forward to eating too much at our all-inclusive resort and basking in the hot Cancun sun while washing away the swine flu with every hand-wash. And as part of my normal vacation ritual, I brought along a couple of books to read. (I am on this kick where I’m trying to read classics.) So as I was browsing the “required summer reading” shelves at Barnes and Noble, I ran across The Catcher in the Rye.

This particular edition of the “American Classic” didn’t have a synopsis printed on the back or on the inside cover and I decided to take a gamble. I had no idea what the book was about, but I knew it was a classic and the first page caught my attention:

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.”

The story opens with a depressed and angry 16-year old named Holden Caulfield, who has just been kicked out of his third or fourth prep school. The remaining 100 or so pages follow his trip home to face his parents who Holden expects will be very disappointed with him, yet again. The more the story continued to do nothing but follow this kid, the more engrossed I became. I empathized with this “screw up” who was terribly whiny and foul-mouthed. And as he described every adult he saw as a “phoney,” I began to adopt his cynical views and became a little unhappy– even on vacation. If I hadn’t picked up Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons before we left, I might be in therapy right now.

The more I tried to figure out why The Catcher in the Rye was such an American Classic, the more baffled I became. And now, after two weeks of reflection, I have decided that this story of a young man’s angst must have been cutting-edge in the 1950’s. I’m sure this book was banned not only for the language and the mention of “feeling sexy” around a prostitute, but also because no one in America would have wanted little Johnny to adopt such a negative outlook on life.

All in all, I quite prefer Ferris Bueller’s teen-angst to Holden Caulfield’s. While I can relate with both characters, Ferris provides a more playful and hopeful view of what comes next in life, where Holden just depresses the hell out of you.

In response to all of this, I have begun trying to really focus on the “glass-half-full” approach to life. That, and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons has really brought me out this loathing for all mankind and I’m starting to recover. Tiger Lily to Salinger’s teen angst; it has caused me to focus on being happy.

Read Full Post »

Warning- a Sexy Read.

Fanpires and Wolf Packs ascended the theaters nation-wide last night for a midnight glimpse of Stephanie Meyer’s New Moon– the latest installment in her best selling Twilight-series about Vampires, Werewolves and Love Triangles. And as much as I’d like to say that I’m not a fan, about three things I am absolutely positive:

First, Twilight is about Vampires.
Second, there is a part of me, and I don’t know how dominant that part might be- that is prone to obsession over fictional characters.
And Third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Jacob.

But seriously. How did I become such a dork? I’d like to say for the record, that I am a cool person. I have never liked Star Wars too much or known enough about Star Trek to name all of the characters (Mom), and I have absolutely never dressed up like any of these characters, not even a cape or wand accessory for Harry Potter.

But there is something about the Twilight Series that brings out the “New Kids on the Block” reaction in me. I bought my ticket for the New Moon premiere as soon as they went on sale; I began standing in line at 6:00 p.m. for a midnight showing; and I’ve even taken sides again- but this time, it’s not Joey over Donny, it’s Jacob over Edward.

I almost teared up when Jacob came on screen, I tore the hair from my own head, came close to fainting and almost lost my mind. Wait. Tiger Lily, I have lost my mind.


This could be me. Sanjaya girl.

I blame the Twilight pushers (Reagan, Traci and Brooke) who gave me a thirst for something that can never be satiated. I mean, it’s a story about chastity and blood-thirsting that never truly delivers. It’s like blue balls for girls. And we love it.

It’s a story of unrequited love and all that star-crossed lovers BS that gets girls going. Edward, the brooding and good looking “bad boy” Vampire loves Bella- but he won’t do anything about it- for the entire movie. They embrace, breath really hard at one another, occasionally exchange a pained-but restrained kiss, and then never go any further. I’ve admitted on more than one occasion that while reading these books, I would think, “Just do it!”


Right before they stare and don’t kiss– again.

Then, to spice things up- Meyers adds a love triangle. (And cue Jacob the Werewolf.) He’s the ripped 17-year-old with with dark hair who is totally willing to “make it happen.” (Thanks to J-Keaton for this phrase. It just means what you think it means.) But Bella won’t have any of it. She’d rather lead him on and then go back to her non-delivering Vampire.

The brunette who gets it all wrong.

The blond that proves not all of them are dumb.

Women watch all of this for transpire over the course of two hours and then go home husbands who are now loving the Twilight series too, even though they’ll never see the movies.

Tiger Lily to those people that have touted this book as a “good message” for teenage girls. It obviously makes all women crazy and absolutely has the potential to ruin a promise-ring ceremony.

Tiger Lily to 30-something women everywhere who are getting their kicks from a young-adult book series– myself included.

And most of all, Tiger Lily to all of the men who make fun of us. You’re getting more than Edward or Jacob ever dreamed of.

Read Full Post »

A Rare Re-Post in Honor of the Late Sallinger.

About two weeks ago, Matt and I went on a much-needed vacation to Mexico. I was looking forward to eating too much at our all-inclusive resort and basking in the hot Cancun sun while washing away the swine flu with every hand-wash. And as part of my normal vacation ritual, I brought along a couple of books to read. (I am on this kick where I’m trying to read classics.) So as I was browsing the “required summer reading” shelves at Barnes and Noble, I ran across The Catcher in the Rye.

This particular edition of the “American Classic” didn’t have a synopsis printed on the back or on the inside cover and I decided to take a gamble. I had no idea what the book was about, but I knew it was a classic and the first page caught my attention:

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.”

The story opens with a depressed and angry 16-year old named Holden Caulfield, who has just been kicked out of his third or fourth prep school. The remaining 100 or so pages follow his trip home to face his parents who Holden expects will be very disappointed with him, yet again. The more the story continued to do nothing but follow this kid, the more engrossed I became. I empathized with this “screw up” who was terribly whiny and foul-mouthed. And as he described every adult he saw as a “phoney,” I began to adopt his cynical views and became a little unhappy– even on vacation. If I hadn’t picked up Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons before we left, I might be in therapy right now.

The more I tried to figure out why The Catcher in the Rye was such an American Classic, the more baffled I became. And now, after two weeks of reflection, I have decided that this story of a young man’s angst must have been cutting-edge in the 1950’s. I’m sure this book was banned not only for the language and the mention of “feeling sexy” around a prostitute, but also because no one in America would have wanted little Johnny to adopt such a negative outlook on life.

All in all, I quite prefer Ferris Bueller’s teen-angst to Holden Caulfield’s. While I can relate with both characters, Ferris provides a more playful and hopeful view of what comes next in life, where Holden just depresses the hell out of you.

In response to all of this, I have begun trying to really focus on the “glass-half-full” approach to life. That, and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons has really brought me out this loathing for all mankind and I’m starting to recover. Tiger Lily to Salinger’s teen angst; it has caused me to focus on being happy.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: