Archive for July, 2011

by Jennifer Steil
Broadway / Crown / Random House

I read this book last week. Come read my review at BookSpin And it’s one of those books that the more it marinates in my mind after the fact, the more I think about it and come up with reasons why I like it.


This book while a memoir, makes some valid comparisons with Yemenis society and American society. How is this possible you may say? Well, their misogyny is blatant and ours is quite covert. We like to think that we are an equal and evolved democracy but the truth is we still have a ways to go before we are totally enlightened.


Also, the point that the author makes over and over again regarding the illiteracy that runs rampant throughout Yemen thus enabling government corruption is something we as a people should be aware of.  There’s a growing rift in our society and it’s probably another post (or actually a series of them) but education, once thought to be accessible to all regardless of social standing or income is becoming something that only the wealthy have access to. Oh, on paper we look good, but if you delve into the details of it, the chasm is widening. Where’s the public discourse? Where’s the ethical journalistic standards and readership that once was the foundation of this country?  (the US I mean) It’s been missing for some time now and while I like to always suggest solutions to any problem I mention here, I’m not sure I have one. Not one that most of us (comfortable and instantly gratified that we are) would accept or would be willing to help put into motion.


I digress.


However, I think that’s actually my point. This book made me think of a lot of things that need to be fixed in our country. It made me pay attention and become aware. More than I was already. It also made me appreciate all of the good things we have in our country.  And I’ll have to say that, as of right now, I want to focus on what’s good. What’s happy and what I’m thankful for.


That’s what reading this book did for me.


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…then don’t say anything at all. At least that is how I was raised.  Unless you were in a debate, there isn’t a point to criticizing other’s choices, etc. Is there? I mean, that’s what this country is about right? Live and let live. Obviously, not breaking any laws, but you get what I mean.


That’s the whole point about choice. However, I’ve come to realize that in this day and age people feel it’s their right to criticize others when they think differently. I mean, just look at how visceral the political process has become. But this isn’t a political post, although Lord knows SOMEONE needs to bring that shit up. But I won’t, not know anyway.


I started thinking about this when I read a post the other day from Tina at Carrots n Cake. They did a pig roast. Being of Puerto Rican descent that post brought me back to my child hood. And they looked like they were having so much fun. Fun and lighthearted with a clear disclaimer about the photos being potentially disturbing to some people. And then in the comment section all hell broke loose. Apparently, several people felt it was their right, having read and ignored the disclaimer, to go off and post a million negative comments. Ok, maybe not a million, but seriously, there were a ton of Judy McJudgerstein comments. Someone even posted that it was the Internet and thus her right to write what she wants to say. Really? (ala Seth Meyers from SNL). Seriously? Ok, so, yes, I’m a huge proponent of the 1st Amendment, but what the hell happened to common decency and manners.  I guarantee you that that girl, whoever she was, would not have said out loud the things she was able to post hiding behind her computer screen.


And I’m sure that this is an issue that isn’t new. But I’m just really seeing it clearly for the first time. A lot of people came to Tina’s defense (myself included) because it’s her fucking blog and she can do what she wants and should not have to suffer the crazy comments. Of course, you put yourself out there and that’s always the chance you take. However, as I said, I was always taught if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. And there’s the rub.


I guess because these people subscribe to the blog they feel the right to comment regardless of how they think their comments might affect the person writing the blog. And I just think that’s wrong. Live and let live. Vegans/vegetarians aren’t going to convince people that their lifestyle is the right way by pounding it over other’s head s and demanding change.  It’s one thing to post a different opinion. It’s another to attack people because they live differently than you do or do things that you wouldn’t do.


That’s just my opinion. On my own blog. Fortunately for me, the three people who read this will probably agree with me.

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Big cornfields


That was me in 2005. So was this.


C'mere big boy


That wasn’t all that long ago and yet, I’m no where near as healthy as I want to be. As a good friend of mine said, yes, you are on medication that will make it difficult to lose weight and may even make you gain some. You don’t need to help it along. Which is exactly what I’ve done up to this point. I’m finished with it.


The funny thing, is when those pictures were taken, I thought I needed to lose a bunch of weight still. Isn’t that how it goes. So, I know I’ve said this before but one of these times it has to stick right? Why not now? To quote Ariel, that little Mermaid, “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know somethings starting right now…” That’s how I feel. I have got to get back to there. I will.


In that regard I had a super duper mixed baby green salad with roasted chicken and some edamame for lunch and I have a banana and some ranier cherries for snack with my coffee later. Nope. No pictures of that. Google will be your friend in that regard 🙂


And yep, I’m blogging at work again. Fortunately, we have a well-stocked and healthy cafeteria that enables me to be able to decide in that moment and at that second that I want to eat healthy. Oh, trust me, there are plenty of unhealthy options down there too. I didn’t get this beautiful physique I currently have just eating lettuce. But for now, it’s about moderation, and health. Ask me tomorrow afternoon if I went for my morning walk. I’m going to. Even if I want to die. Even if I want to fall asleep while walking, I am going to force myself out there.  I mean, I ran a 1/2 marathon not that long ago, and dammit I might want to do it again.  But for now, I’m going to just walk.


And read.  I have an amazing and delicious book awaiting me this weekend.  The Last Werewolf. This is NOT your daughters Team Jacob. Ladies, (and Gents) you will need to stay tuned as I have a feeling I’m going to be gushing more so than normal over this book.


So, I suppose I need to get back to work before they realize what I’m typing isn’t that report.







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I totally lifted this meme from Lost in Books who lifted it from Tif Talk’s Books and because I literally read all of the books over a two week period last fall I wanted to participate. Since I seem to be in good company in simultaneously being wicked excited about the last movie and being overwhelmingly sad about it. No more imagining what’s next for Harry and his gang. So, please tell me what your favorites are.


By the way—in the off chance that you haven’t read all the books, be aware there are spoilers. Although by this point I don’t think I should have to say that.

When and Where (when you first discovered the series)
: I remember first seeing the books in Border’s books (how sad about them, but that’s another post) as I used to go there all the time with my then 6 year old and one-year old sons. My oldest (now 20) immediately wanted to read it because he slightly resembled the little boy on the cover. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first chapter book he read. Yes, he needed a little help with some of the words, but for the most part he got it and absolutely loved it. My mother convinced me to read it after she did.
Favorite Character: Sirius Black is my favorite character. He was mis-understood and represented so much to Harry and it was so bitter-sweet when at the end of the third book Harry couldn’t go live with him. He was Harry’s anchor and I remember bawling my eyes out when he died.

Most Hated Character: Definitely Delores Umbridge. She was a BITCH with a capital W.

Favorite Book: Hmmm, this is a difficult one to answer.  I had the most emotional response to the 5th book (Order of the Phoenix). But honestly, I think I enjoyed the first one and the last one the most.

Favorite Movie: Deathly Hallows Pt 1 and that is probably because I’ve yet to see the last one. Actually, I may amend that to the first one, Sorcerer’s Stone. Those two were the ones so far that have kept the integrity of the books. I’m sure based on the buzz that the last one does as well.

Rank the Books (1 = favorite, 7 = least favorite):

1. Sorcerer’s Stone

2. Deathly Hallows

3. Order of the Phoenix

4. Prisoner of Azkaban

5. Goblet of Fire

6. Half-Blood Prince

7. Chamber of Secrets
Most Memorable Scene: When Sirius was killed.

What You Will Miss the Most: Ron, Hermione, and Harry

What You Are Looking Forward To (even despite the end): The end of Harry, but I’d love her to write a prequel and tell us James and Lily’s story with Lupin, Sirius and Snape.


What about you? Do you love Harry as much as I do?


Tell me what your thoughts are.

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I can’t believe it’s been over a month (almost two) since I last posted.  To be fair, I’ve been a little busy. End of school year stuff, then the little one’s birthday and then my son moved back home to go to school down here, then before you knew it the 4th of July was here and every weekend finds us with some event to attend. (longest run-on sentence of the week)


Like the little one dancing during the Marlins Pre-Game show. (that’s baseball for those of you who are out of the sports loop)


Work has been busy as well, but not so busy that I can’t pop over here and update my blog a little more often. Honestly, I wasn’t sure up until right now that I could even access it from my work computer. Our IT guys use the most random parameters when blocking web sites. My child’s elementary school comes up blocked for being a job-seeking site. Honestly? Not a place I’d want to work, but God bless those who do.


This will be a picture-less post as I don’t have access to any pictures, and truth be told, there really isn’t anything that exciting going on today. Unless you want to see the cup of coffee I’m drinking. Which I trust that you can imagine what it looks like. Go on, try. See, I knew you could do it.


Good news on my medical news front!! I am now T-minus 29 days from being off of the steroids.  I’d like to gain my entire 30 lb weight gain on that, however, you and I know better. But hey, it’s been a fun ride while it lasted. Now it’s time to ditch the cracker and ice cream party (not together, that would be gross) and start eating healthier. I mean, I’ve been trying to do that for I don’t know how many years, so I think right now is as good a time as any to try again.  My vision is completely clear and back to normal, but I can function, I can drive and more importantly I can read.


Speaking of reading, what am I reading now you may wonder? Well, I’ve got some serious book polygamy going on in the Ritaliccious household. I’m reading Cutting for Stone, which is going slow for me, but I am loving it. I am at a part right now that if I wasn’t on here talking to y’all I’d be sneak-reading that’s for sure. The other book I just finished reading was The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell.  That was a fairly quick read that really made me think about society and how the things that happen, happen. I’m about to start another book that will be my first official book-review. The details for that will be forthcoming in another post. The last book I’m reading is Room by Emma Donoghue for a new in person, real-life book club that I’m attending on Tuesday. I’ll be going with my son’s girlfriend’s mother (the proper way to use abbreviations I do believe) which in and of itself will be interesting. This is the first time I’ve been in a group to discuss a book in person since school. I’ll try not to overpower everyone with my arresting personality. (please read that last sentence with your tongue in your cheek or with a sprinkle of salt).


What’s on the telly? Just finished watching the latest season of Nurse Jackie and let me tell you, she always manages to find a way to land on her feet. She is such a dysfunctional, almost socio-pathic mess. But even having said that, Edie Falco does such an amazing job with the wonderful scripts she’s given that in spite of the dark side of this character, you can’t help but cheer her on from the sidelines. You want to hate Jackie for all the stupid shit she is doing and how it’s affecting her kids, and yet, you can’t help but root for her to overcome her demons. But what if she does and we realize we just don’t like her? I guess that’s what the next season is for right?


Oh and yes, it’s Harry Potter weekend. I’m torn, however, by being super excited about the movie and being sad about it being the last one. For that reason (and to avoid the stupid crowds) I may wait to see it until it’s been out a couple of weeks. We’ll see how long I last.


And with that, I’m off to eat lunch. Not anything interesting or exciting or worth blogging about.

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