Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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I first entered The Night Circus in April, 2012.
I was wandering through the library when I noticed it on the New Books shelf.
The cover was pretty and interesting and the title held a bit of mystery and magic.

I peeked in and looked a bit further and found myself falling deeper and deeper.

When it was chosen by The Bibliophile Support Group I decided to revisit Le Cirque des Reves by way of Jim Dale's audio recording.  I must admit that the first 30 minutes I had to keep reminding myself that Dumbledore had not joined the circus but after 106 hours of HP audio you cannot fault me.


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But what about the book?

I cannot remember the last time I read a book so rich in imagery. 

The Night Circus travels the world with no schedule or announcements preceding it's various destinations.
It is open only at night and contains magic, wonders, love and comradery that you can hardly imagine.
Luckily you don't need to imagine, you simply read this book and step across the pages into
 The Circus of Dreams.

Behind the wonders of the circus, behind the Ice Garden, the Illusionist, the Cloud Maze and the scent of caramel in the air, a battle is being fought.  A lifetime feud persists leaving everyone who is a part of Les Cirques des Reves tied to the outcome.  As Celia and Marco duel they each pour themselves into the game and fall into a dangerous and remarkable love.  

Who will win the game and at what cost?

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The Night Circus reads much like the circus it describes. 

You start off slowly, working your way in circles, 
picking up bits and pieces of the circus and it's characters along the way. 

You stop here and there just to observe but never knowing what you'll see on the next page, in the next tent, with the next character.  

You are always moving in circles, heading this way, circling back, entering here and leaving just there. 

Pretty soon you find yourself completely inside the circus, 
where you stay until the book ends 
or morning comes.

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Although the book does tend to skip around, it didn't seem to bother me at all.  I tend not to read the dates at the chapter start regardless but found that the settings revealed themselves soon enough.

If you like a book that is rich in imagery, romantic, mysterious, magical and compelling, I believe that you'll soon find yourself happy to have read this book.
I daresay that some of you will be donning a touch of red and naming yourselves among a great many Reveurs.

I hope you read this book and come back to tell me how you enjoyed your visit to The Night Circus.

Check out Erin Morgenstern's website and the first bit of the book HERE 
and check out this awesome fan fic artwork!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Just be braver than the baby

I'm afraid of the dark.

I believe in ghosts.

I have a hyperactive imagination.

Let that information soak in for a second.  
Yes, I'm sure nighttimes as a child were fun for my parents.

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Fortunately Peanut is still at the age that monsters are funny and not lurking under the bed.
However, the other day he ran to tell us that there was a monster outside the front door of my parents house.  It was really a wreath that was moving in the wind, casting shadows through the glass.

It reminded me that fears are something we are getting much closer to and I better figure out how handle these types of situations.

Last night Peanut woke up screaming for me to come help him.
This happens nightly but I have a hard time letting him cry for me when he is specifically saying Mommy, help me!  (more on this fascinating choice of words later)

When I went in he was still half asleep and crying.

Me:  What's wrong baby, how can I help you?
Him:  Help, mommy, help me!  Help me please! ~pulls at his hands in frustration~
Me:  Help you with what, what is it?  ~yawn~
Him:  There!  Right there!  See!  ~points into the darkness over my left shoulder~
Help mommy, help! 

Me:  ~momentarily paralyzed with fear~
Me:  ~looks around while mentally chanting, just keep your cool mommy, don't freak the kid out, there is nothing there, no need to plant the fear of the dark in his head.  Man, it's really dark in here...~

Me:  Uh-huh, do you want me to tuck you in?
Him: No, no, no, no, this!  ~he points and then rolls to his side~  Sit, mommy.
Me:  OK baby, I love you.  

I sit in silence, my eyes searching, groping through the darkness.

What was that?  Did something move?
Will I wake him if I turn up the night light?
Be cool mommy, just be cool, there is nothing there.
~glances over shoulder~  
WTF did he mean by "Right there!  See!"?!
~shifts uncomfortably and looks around!

I sat there for a while, then ran down the hallway and jumped into bed, where I woke B.
He looked at me and went right back to sleep.
He's used to this kind of activity when I (rarely) have to be the one to turn off the lights.

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The point is that I'm crazy, yes, but also that I don't get to be crazy in front of Peanut.
I'm going to have to master my poker face and figure out how to reassure him while my inner dialogue is screaming, take the child and run!  Save your family! because really, that's just not cool.

But seriously, next time your are with someone late at night, I want you to look over their shoulder and gasp! with a terrified look on your face, or better yet, just gasp and run, perhaps dragging them with you.  Make a mental note of that look on their face and you'll understand what I'm trying to avoid.

~Pictures were taken with my phone during nap time.  I was washing the sheets, don't judge me.  And seriously, don't kids look so angelic when they sleep?  Even when they are sweaty and after a long meltdown, they look so darn sweet.  Of course, then they wake up.




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Keeping up with what's going on... and how I can't.

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Peanut does some internet research.

It seems that there is a certain trait in very successful and productive people.

It is the ability to know what is going on in their field of expertise or interest.

This elusive ability is well, elusive to me.
I seem to know just enough about what is going on to keep my head above water.
Perhaps it is that my interests, my goals and my jobs are spread just a bit to far apart.

It could be that while I'm in the middle of my quest for information that I spot something shiny.
I cannot control everything, you know.

I love listening to people in the restaurant industry, and those who write about it, that know which restaurants are opening up this week, which ones are closing and which ones are running that awesome special.  They know the chefs and owners, product sources and partnerships.  They go to restaurants, they chat, they gather information and they eat with abandon.

I'm amazed by bloggers who post constantly and write about other blogs, articles and internet finds in their discussions.  It's so obvious that they spend time reading, researching and keeping up to date on their niche in the internet.  They are kings and queens of their content creations.

I'm impressed by these powerful people managing online content, the printed word, restaurant divisions and businesses and then top it off by being partners, spouses and parents.

I love the authors and readers and bibliophiles who know which books are being released, authors names, illustrators best works, signings and events.

I'm in awe of people who get a homemade meal on the table most nights of the week.  I bow down to you, your accomplishment is impressive and an applause is well deserved.

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Peanut and I create our to do lists- I believe his makes more sense than mine

Perhaps it's that most of my time on the internet is spent involved in the small bubble of my own world or on Pinterest which, let's be honest, only adds to my to do list instead of checking things off.

It could be that I need to narrow down to a main focus or multi-task a little better or spend more time checking things off my list instead of adding them.

It might be that I've given up a lot of things to bury myself in a book most nights but hey, there are some things I'm not willing to change.  You can take away a great many things but you cannot take away my book!

I woke up the other day with a sinking feeling that there was no way in the world I could catch up on my to do list for the day.  I had to spend a few minutes re-working my mind to get into what I call "check off mode".  I spent a minute writing things down that would done immediately so I could start off with a bang.

Go to the bathroom- check
Brush teeth- check
Get Peanut dressed- check
See, I can do this, I'm on a roll!
Get to work- check
Oh shit, did I go to the bank earlier?  Write that down- cross it off- check.

This is how you get things done!  Or maybe it isn't at all but I feel better already.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Helping Papa

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Not surprising to everyone who knows us, my dad has been doing a lot of work around the house.

In fact, whenever something is broken, from a toy to a plant, Peanut simply picks it up and declares, "Papa fix it" and walks away.

Nothing to worry about mom, Papa will take care of this.


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Peanut has his own tool kit but always seems to manage finding the smallest sharpest screwdriver Papa brings over.  It's a gift really, the gift of sorting through 100 tools that he's allowed to touch and finding the one he's not supposed to.

He is always helping....
as you can see.

He helps Papa mark the wall where the screws should go, 
he helps hammer,
he helps you up the ladder...
I'm sure it's all very helpful.

I mean, you get things done twice as fast with a helper, right?

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Papa is used to this kind of thing.

He once painted horizontal stripes across my entire bedroom
 using just one hand all while holding me with the other.

And that was just a few years ago.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Rediscovering Harry Potter

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I spend roughly 2 hours a day in my car.  Days that I'm off of work it's less, some days it's much more.

Sometimes we listen to music as I take Peanut to my parents.
Sometimes we chat about what we spot out the window as we drive by.
It's when I'm driving by myself that I get bored or tired or unfocused.

After hearing so much about the Harry Potter audio books by Jim Dale, I decided to pick one up.
I've read all the books but I haven't read them in years and years.

We watch the movies a lot.
I mean, at least once a week there is a Harry Potter movie on.  At least.

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*Let's take a quick detour and talk about the Chocolate Frog that my friend Courtney brought all the way back from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for B & I!  I should have taken a picture of me holding it, so that you could see the box was the size of my hand.  You have no idea how excited I was to get this.  When she brought it to me, I sent a picture to B.  He responded by saying not to open it until we're together because they only really have one good jump anyway.
Thank you Courtney and Allen for bringing us this!!

I'm not sure what I expected from the audio books. 
 It's hard to think of one person narrating books that you know so well.  
Especially when you have such firmly established ideas of a characters sound and style.  

30 minutes into the first book and I was enjoying the morning traffic.
I stopped thinking of Jim Dale as the narrator and started listening to all characters as they spoke.

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I got so hooked that I started going to the library to get the next set of CDs before I finished the previous ones to guarantee I wouldn't have any lag time in between.
I listened to all 7 books almost non-stop.
Occasionally poor Peanut would remind me that we could listen to music and then we would.
These books sometimes had 23 different CDs to listen to and it just didn't seem enough.
106 hours.
106 hours and I wanted it to be more.

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I discovered quite a few things in this listening experiment:

*Jim Dale is genius.  His talent knows no bounds.

*I had forgotten so much of the books.  After years of just watching the movies I was suddenly peeking back into this amazing magical world. So much of the story doesn't make it into the movies.  I had forgotten so much of the original story that much of the audio books felt new to me.

*An hour in the car is nothing with Jim Dale to keep you company.

*I'm obsessed all over again.  I try to wrap my mind around how a person can create such stories and it's nothing short of amazing.  I want to completely immerse myself in this world.

*I'm also terribly sad that it's all over.  Again.  
I want more of the magic, more of the story, more of all of it.

I'm thinking that perhaps next year I'll re-read the books.

Are you a Harry Potter fan?
Have you read the books, listened to them or seen the movies?
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