Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gettin' Old

Well, tomorrow is one of those birthdays that end in zero. 40 to be more precise. I actually think that it sounds better than 39 - everyone thinks I'm really in my 40s and lying about my age. I haven't had much time to fret over where my life may or may not be at this particular age (like I did at 30 - you would have thought chasing 3 year old wild boy all day would have kept me from having time for such reflections). For years now, I've thought that the 40s were supposed to be the best decade. Kids would be old enough that I wouldn't be changing diapers. I would be fairly stable in a career. I would have a decent home and good friends. These things actually seem to be true - wow, who would have thought?

An added bonus to the day is that people seem compelled to give me really nice birthday presents - Sonny Boy is a little jealous! And then on the actual day, I get to head to Amelia Island with my Asheville book group buddies for our annual beach trip. Can't wait. No kids, no husbands - just friends, food and fun.

Getting old could be much, much worse...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Thermals - A Pillar of Salt

Here is a song from the Thermals that is quite appropriate for the season of Lent. I also like this group because they were offered $50,000 to allow Hummer to use one of their songs in a commercial - certainly a good amount of money for a little indy band. But - they could not in good conscience support a product that is so bad for the environment. My kind of band...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year Dance

Sunday was Chinese New Year - the year of the Pig. Princess danced in the downtown New Year's Celebration with the Greensboro Chinese Association. (She's in the long green dress.) Sonny Boy taped this. He said the time he taped the floor was when the girls threw candy to the crowd and he bent to pick up some. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Austen sequels

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my all time favorite author is Jane Austen and my best loved book is Pride and Prejudice. For many years, I have steadfastly avoided all the "sequels" to this masterpiece. Why mess up the little world I created in my own mind in relation to all these wonderful characters?

I have been trying in the past 20 months to seek comfort reading instead of comfort food. Thus, I have reread P & P about 6 times in those months (even a bit much for me). Last spring, I decided to venture one of the Austen imitators. I picked up the first book of Pamela Aiden's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. The next two in the trilogy eventually came out in the following months. I liked the first one - it held true to the world Austen created and seemed to illuminate the story I held dear. The second one got just a touch weird - the author obviously had to try her own Northanger Abbey. Yet, it was still an enjoyable book. I must say I was getting tired of the lovey-doveyness that never seemed to end between Darcy and Georgiana. If he said, "Dearest" one more time to her, I thought I might gag. I found the final book about a month ago, and felt like Aiden had done well. The story was completed beautifully. I would recommend these to any Austen lover.

After all my years of suspicion ending so well, I picked up Elizabeth Aston's Mr. Darcy's Daughters. Now, my one big pet peeve is lack of consistency with characters (do you hear that people at Gilmore Girls?) Aston obviously has no problem with it. Otherwise, how could Darcy and Elizabeth end up being very neglectful, oblivious parents? How could Col. Fitzwilliam end up being a sex-obsessed, brutish boor? How else could vapid airhead Lydia get some observation skills and shrewdly make her way in society? And how on earth else could the very bright Caroline Bingley fill her life with junior high high-jinks?

Aston's book was one big soap opera. None of the daughters were likable. They were doomed to making very bad decisions after the apparent abandonment of their parents. One could only hope the book would end. Aston does create the world quite nicely and writes well. It was just a ridiculous, soapy story.
Aiden - B+, Aston - D+

I'm through with this experiment. Only the real thing (Austen herself) for me from now on.