Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for Jane Austen

I really, really love this tea. Really.

I definitely should not be blogging right now. First, I am wearing my glasses, which means I can barely see the computer screen, much less the words. The only thing that can come of this are some typos. Second, I am tired. Really tired. For some reason I thought it was a great idea to do two workouts yesterday. In the morning, Laura and Maura came over (with Samantha and Robbie), and we did The Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga. Really,  the three of us doing hard yoga while trying to keep the kids from beating each other was hilarious. I think Dan got a big kick out of it, we looked like fools. Later that day I went to Maura’s, as she had just borrowed the Jeri Love, Get Ripped, 1000 DVD.  I don’t know what is wrong with us, that we were so excited to try it out we could not wait. It was a 1000 calorie workout, and it was hard! I really liked it though. It was a great challenge, and Jeri Love was awesome! I was totally prepared not to like her based on her outfit. This sounds lame, but really, you have to like the person leading the workout, or it just won’t work. And she was wearing leopard print and one of the backup women was wearing  leather pants. It didn’t bode well, but it worked out!

Of course, I am a bit sore now, as that was two in one day. I followed that up with a small amount of sleep, and am capping that with my new will to drink less soda.  Which is going well, so far as consumption goes. As far as mood….well we will leave that alone for a bit.  I am trying to take it slow, and cut down for now, and then in a few weeks cut down again. Right now I am drinking tea to save my life. I am of course, drinking my favourite tea, a loose leaf tea from Teavana which was a Christmas gift from Dan’s Mom. I love it so much, I’ll probably cry when I am done with the canister (at this rate, that will be tomorrow). In case you are curious, it is the Flavoured White called Strawberry Paraiso. So yummy. Now that I’ve discovered the website, I’ll probably be on for an hour, picking out my next tea. So exciting!

I am getting so pumped for Relay for Life. Our team already has 10 members! Last year it was just Maura and I, so this feels great. I have high hopes that this year will finally be more like our first year, when we had a big team and so much fun.  Not that the other years weren’t fun, but things just seem to go better and run more smoothly in the campsite with more of us to help out!

I have to say that I love being on the committee, and planning for the event, and most of all, I love the feeling of purpose and family that it gives me. I am hoping to get a blog post together soon about why I am so invested in Relay.  But for now, you all might just have to accustom yourselves to my Relay related tweets and such.

In unrelated news, I have to share that my son is the sweetest little boy that ever did live. All morning he has been taking play breaks to come over and lay his head in my lap and just cuddle. Then he goes back to playing.  It is nice, he usually isn’t that independant when it is just the two of us…he likes to have my undivided attention. For the most part, today, he has been occupying himself. It is wonderful!

Otherwise, I started yet another Pride and Prejudice sequel. As promised, I am reading Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary. It is much more readable and enjoyable than the others I have read. It is by no means great literature, but I will definitely be able to finish this one. As you can see on her website, she has taken this same premise (first person diary format) to re-tell familiar stories from another character’s point of view. Which is interesting, but I doubt I’ll read more. While I am liking the book, it’s not one I’d read again, nor does it contain any huge revelations or aha! moments. For the most part, it isn’t anything I couldn’t have surmised myself. It is very straightforwardly written and executed. I would hope that with that sort of a platform, a writer could really use their imagination and create something compelling. I would only recommend this to a die hard P&P fan who wants to get a little taste of Mr. Darcy’s take on what went on.

I finally found my copy of Cry, the Beloved Country. One of the reasons I couldn’t finish it was because I could not find it- but I did manage at last to locate it, buried in the mess on my desk, which I successfully cleaned off yesterday. As soon as I’ve finished this P&P book, I will finish Cry, and then I must finish editing Maura’s first draft and get it back to her. And then I must read Dangerous Liasons, as it was my SRP pick for the month and I haven’t even found it to buy yet. I will check Amazon.

In non book related news (Yes I know, it is shocking), in a few weeks we will have a new niece! We are so excited to meet little Eva Jan! I have some gifts at the ready for her and Mommy, and am impatiently waiting my chance to dole them out.   And soon after, we will have yet another little niece! I am so blessed to have a wonderful family, and we are all so blessed with these beautiful children. I have so much to be thankful for, and yet rarely take the time to reflect on that. I think it would do me a lot more good to reflect on my blessings, than to lament my losses- this is something I will try to work on this year.

And I will finish with another quiz. First to answer gets points. Name the song , “I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth moves slowly.”

Some kind of crazy reading spree…

I think I’ll go for broke with this blogging business and get at least four in for the month. I think I only blogged 7 times total last year, so I am well on my way to surpassing all previous expectations. Or something.

Might I just take this moment to say that there are times when I really miss my LiveJournal? I loved my layout, I loved my little hamster, and I loved the option for what I was listening too. Now I realize I could just add that in to every post, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same. And I also realize that most people could probably care less what I was listening too when I blogged. But I do. I love being able to look back and see where I was musically at that moment. Probably because music is such a huge part of my life (not that I am a musician or anything). I just love being surrounded by music.

In case anyone is wondering, I am listening to Imogen Heap, Have you got it in you?

This week I’ve been on a reading tear. I read the Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. It was good, but at times a bit strange for my tastes. But it was beautifully written, and I loved the idea of getting to know the stories of the women in the bible from their perspective. I would recommend it with a grain of salt. I also read Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (who else?). I loved it. Really really loved it.  It was so much less edited than the other Austen’s, I felt like I was getting to know her real voice.  Or maybe just her younger voice? Either way, I found it at times hilarious, romantic, and interesting.

Now I am more than halfway through Emma, which, after having read the other two in a week, is quite the feat, as Emma is over 400pg long. Unlike Mansfield Park, which I must say, I dutifully slogged through, Emma is a lot more fun.  I rather don’t like Emma herself all that much, but I think she is intended to be a more sympathetic or like able character than I am giving her credit for. It helps to imagine Emma as Cher in Clueless though- makes me view her actions and attitudes much less harshly.

Although I am enjoying Emma, and have enjoyed the Austen spree, I am really very glad it is almost over. I know I must read her unfinished works and letters, but Maura and I are still searching for the best version to purchase. I have been longing to read other things for a while now. But I knew that if I strayed off the path, I’d be in danger of never returning. Especially after Mansfield Park.

I’ve also been longing to get back to the third edit of The Beach House. Speaking of which, this book needs a new name, STAT. Anyone who is reading it (either chapters or those who have the whole 2nd edit), any suggestions? Hopefully some are actually reading it lol, or this plea will be all for naught. I have to get the third edit done by March, because I’ve promised to let the book club girls read it, and it is in some kind of shabby shape right now. But I’ve been thinking about it more lately, and do so want to get back to Elle’s world.

I am off to read and relax. Parker refused to sleep at Pilar’s, so he went to bed a little later and threw my whole evening off. Poor thing was screaming bloody murder. But it was made up for by the absolute cuteness of him running into the laundry room in his pj’s, finding Pilar’s broom (he loves loves loves brooms), and staring at me hopefully with tears still on his chubby little cheeks, asking in the cutest little way, “Boom? Boom?” God I love that boy.  He got another hair cut today (A Mom’s Hatchet Job Special), and he looks like a whole new boy. So much more like a little boy and so much less like a baby.  It is such a cliche, but it really goes by so fast. It seems like time just sped up a whole lot after I had him- there is so much to love and treasure and so many amazing moments to cherish, it just feels like there isn’t time enough and soon it will all be over.

The one with no higher meaning

I seem to have a blogging problem. It used to be, I’d blog about anything. Sometimes it made no sense, sometimes it was kind of funny or quirky, and sometimes, I actually had something to say. I don’t know if it is increased blog pressure, or what, but for some reason I feel as though this new blog deserves better. Which is kind of sad, because I loved my old blog. It was totally me, very rarely filtered. I don’t know how many people who were reading it were actually enjoying it, but hey, what can you do?

Well, to recap this weekend, I….wait a minute I don’t remember.

Sigh…ok this happens all the time. I literally have no clue what I did the day before half the time. Is that insanity? Old age?

I do remember that Saturday was one of those crazy days where I was running around like a mad beast trying to get stuff done, including going to Sams Club with Pilar, Paige and Parker. The whole day is a blur of missed meals and headachyness, other than the driving from Farmington, to Canton, to West Bloomfield (to take care of my mom’s dog, Mattie),  to Mt. Clemens,  for an awesome Arbonne workshop, then back to Canton (by now with a horrible migraine) to pick up Parker, then finally back to Farmington. Holy Moses did I drive that day.

But, I did have an amazing and fun time at the Arbonne workshop (not party, as our consultant Michael made sure to stress). I had enough fun with the makeup that I am having a “Smokey Eye” workshop of my own. Ever wanted to learn to do a smokey eye? Come on over!

Really the worst part of the day was the migraine I got when I left the party. Seriously, absolutely one of the worst headaches I have ever had. I couldn’t walk straight, see, I could barely talk. Dan asked me if I’d been drinking when  I got home (I hadn’t), because I was so out of it.

Thankfully, this too did pass. Other highlights of the weekend (for some reason, I still think this is the weekend, owing to the fact that Dan has today off), included working out a lot, losing a few pounds this week (so that I may KILL at our friendly Biggest Loser weigh in on Friday), and finally, Ta Ta Daaaaaa! Finishing Mansfield Park. Now all I have left is Emma and Northanger Abbey, and the unfinished stuff. But for now I should probably read The Red Tent, since TBC is next week.

Ha! How is that for a useless and random blog! No higher meaning! No real purpose! I go. I hope you aren’t asleep.

On International Varieties of Ghosts and Fighting Jane Austen…Sort of.

We need to talk about my obsession with these Ghost Hunter tv shows on the SyFy channel. They are really terrible, and yet, it it like a car wreck. I just can’t look away. I think they are starting to warp my brain in a sad sort of way.  Parker was playing on the floor and he crawled into my lap to play with my hair. He was being really cute and giving me kisses and laughing hysterically. And all I could think about was…what if my house was haunted? What if my son was possessed?

The kicker is, that I don’t believe in ghosts or haunting. Yeah. I am just that suggestible. If that is even a phrase.

Anyway, I did manage to focus on playing with my baby, thank goodness. Poor little guy got four shots today, and took them like a trooper. His trip to the doctor was probably the most ambitious thing I attempted all day, other than waking up at 5:30. For some reason I am just unreasonably lazy today. I can’t even bring myself to pick up the toys in my family room. I’ve been reading Mansfield Park and watching…of course….Ghost Hunters International. Yes, this show comes in both domestic and imported flavours.

Speaking of Mansfield Park, I’ve been getting more and more into it. I have to say that I love, love, love that classics are available at Barnes and Nobles for only 5$.  The version of M. P. I have seems to have a wonderful introductory essay in the beginning, which I only skimmed. Unlike many other Austen novels, I was not remotely familiar with the story, and therefore didn’t want to ruin the storyline. Anyway, I am into the story enough that I started to jot down some reactions to the book while Dan was hogging the internet with his video game.

First, I must confess that I am only halfway through Mansfield Park, yet despite this fact, I feel the need to discuss it. So if you’ve read it or are reading it, feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at me, or just tell me what you are thinking, comment away!

I’ve heard and read that M.P. is often a lesser favourite amongst Austen fans- complaints that Fanny doesn’t do anything, say anything, excite much interest of any sort; basically that she’s pretty boring and lame.  And while I have to agree in some sense- after all Mary Crawford reminds me much more of Elizabeth Bennet (P&P), than does Fanny, I think this book is really rather interesting for other reasons.

But first I have to digress and talk about Mary for a moment. In so many ways she is so like Eliza in P&P…outspoken and a bit saucy, opinionated and yet friendly. So why do I not like her the way that I liked Eliza? It isn’t that I am in Fanny’s corner so to speak…I mean, I don’t really care if Fanny get’s Edmund in the end…but Mary rubs me the wrong way…

Now, I love a good romance. And Austen does romance so well in books like Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, it is hard to come from reading those (and even Sense and Sensibility, which I didn’t like as well, but was also at its core, a romance), to reading Mansfield Park, where the focus is so much more broad and sweeping. Well maybe this isn’t the right way to put it. But this book doesn’t seem to be, at its core, about love or romance. I get more of a feeling that it is a broader social portrait or commentary on a microcosm of society.

Let me just remind myself that I haven’t finished the book, so I’d probably be better off leaving the generalizations aside. Anyway. I had to remark, however, that this book is interesting when you look at it from another angle (other than the romance angle, that is). Austen does so well giving us a microcosm of her world and society, of painting a larger picture with it. One thing that has struck me so well with M.P is the way she imagines the idea of “Improvement.”

All over this book are references to “improvements” of places- Sotherton and Thornton Lacey for example.  The question of what to do and how best to improve the look and feel and sense of these places is unavoidable. Take into account as well other “improvements” we see throughout the book, (turning Sir Thomas’s study into a theater for example), I found it interesting in juxtaposition with the development of the characters, who don’t seem to have as equal of a chance at improvement.

The first example of this which comes to mind is that of Mr. Rushworth, who is generally though badly of by all in the Crawford clan once they get to know him. At one point Edmund even remarks that there isn’t much that could ever really make him more tolerable, even with time. He’s basically seen and stupid and boring and…well…totally lame. And everyone is like, Oh well, he’s lame, but good thing he’s rich. Yay. And yet no one thinks that in time, he’ll develop a personality, or you know, mature in anyway.

I haven’t reached my conclusions yet, however, I think it will be interesting to see how this idea develops as I read on. The idea that landmarks and places, things which we might see as unchanging and immutable in general, can be so generally regarded as easily fixed, or repaired; while people might be seen as stamped forever into the mold they were born to. This interests me. People often seem to fall into one of two categories. Those of us who believe that people can change, and those who think that people cannot.

Now I cannot speak for Jane Austen, but based on certain evidence (One Mr. Darcy), I’ve gotten the impression that she did believe that with the right incentive or cause, people could change. So I am interested to see how this plays out through the rest of the novel.

Of course, I am an idealist, so I firmly believe that people can change. Maybe this is why I believe that Ms. Austen felt this way as well. I’ve always felt that if even only one person in the world has managed it (to change that is), then it is possible for anyone. And you can’t tell me that in the whole history of the world, this hasn’t happened.  I challenge you.

Ok, now that I’ve thrown down my gauntlet, I am off to read more of my book. Draw some more random and probably crazy conclusions that make no sense. Well, if you’ve made it this far into my random post of nonsense, congratulations! You win the perseverance award for the day.  Go you.

Crock pot dinner gets 2010 off to a great start.

Well, lets face it…I was a bit of a blogging failure in 2009. In fact, I’ve been a bit of a blogging failure ever since Bloggate 2007 ( I’ll explain that one later). Anyway, moving on. If Step One is admitting I have a problem, Step Two must be assigning blame.  Now, now, don’t you start with your pious, “There is no one to blame but yourself” speeches…  I must blame someone, if only because the blame game is so much fun, and I don’t really feel like taking the blame myself.

Actually, since it is a new year and all (although generally I don’t do the whole new year/resolution/starting over type crap, believing instead that each day is a new opportunity to try again, and commit to being a better person, whatever that may mean to you),  I feel the urge to recommit myself. To creative pursuits, to blogging, finishing at least one novel, and of course, being a better person. Mostly this is due to the amazing inspiration of my love, Jenney, whose blog has me in stitches quite often, and who is generally a totally awesome woman.

I defense of, well…myself, I must say that 2009 wasn’t a complete letdown in the writing and creativity fronts. I did finish the second edit of my first novel, and began working on the third. I took a giant leap of faith, and began emailing chapters of said novel to friends for advice, critique, and tomato throwing. I also managed, somehow, to complete another 50k NaNo novel this year, in a record 10 days (a success which I owe completely to Maura for egging me on in our strange little competition, and Dan, for letting me hole myself up in the study for hours at a time while he played with Parker).

Anyway, on to 2010. The start of a new decade. I think that some goals are in order. I love lists. Lets face it, who doesn’t? The satisfaction of crossing something off of a to do list is pretty awesome. I’ve been guilty in the past of adding things I’ve already done to a to do list, just for the satisfaction of crossing it off again and feeling accomplished. Yes, I am that lame.

Ok, so lofty goals for the year

– Finish editing novel #1. Also, re title it. Hate the title. Begin shopping for an editor.

-Write at least one poem. (I wouldn’t want to overdo)

-Read every book chosen for The Book Club

-lose the rest of this darn baby weight

– Raise $10,000 in sponsorship for Relay For Life, and for my team, Frankie’s Kids, hit our fundraising goal of $1500!

-Begin working on baby #2

-Keep up with my blog

-NaNo 2010…though maybe not in 10 days….

– Read every Jane Austen book (ok, so this is a cheat, since I started this in 2009 and am halfway through the books, but again, I like to know I can cross at least one thing off of a to do list.)

Make dinner today

All right…I know that I will think of more, but for now, that ought to do. I have a plate full of things I must get working on. At the moment, I am not working on any…well except for the Jane Austen part. I am in the middle of Mansfield Park. Although it is slow going; I’ll admit, it’s no Pride and Prejudice. But it has it’s own charms, and I am enjoying it. Maura and I both want to be through with the Austen’s by the end of January (I think), which means that in a few weeks I may be crossing at least one thing off of my list. Wonderful.

Plus, in recent and stupendous news, I already  made dinner- that is I threw lots of canned goods and some frozen chicken into the crock pot. Yay, I get to cross something off of my list! The year is off to a roaring start!