Thursday, April 13, 2006

All the windows of my heart I open to the day. - John Greenleaf Whittier

Last night H and I watched “Cider House Rules.” It is my favorite of John Irving’s books. I almost didn’t want to watch it as you know how often a great book can be turned into an abysmal movie (“Possession,” anyone?) But the movie was wonderful. Tobey Maguire was wonderful. All the actors were wonderful. I like Paul Rudd, and Charlize Theron, and Michael Caine. The script was wonderful. The whole movie was just wonderful and thoughtful and sensitive and not melodramatic or sappy in anyway. (There is a great review here, by Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek.) Also, I am now madly in love with Tobey Maguire. Or maybe I am actually in love with Homer Wells.

CHR is one of only two films I have ever seen that were as good as the book they were made from – and the other is “The World According to Garp.” (BB trivia: The only movie BETTER than its book was “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”)

I generally don’t see movies of books I love as it is almost always a mistake. Again, “Possession,” anyone? Or “Prince of Tides”? Or “The Great Santini”?

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I finished Frindle by Andrew Clements in about an hour and a half the other day. Clever concept (a boy invents a new word for “pen”) but not particularly well-developed. And the character of the English teacher, Mrs. Granger, was most interesting and she totally got glossed over. She deserved her own book.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, on the other hand, was most thoughtfully and sensitively developed. I like the idea of reading it to a class over the course of a school year, as one of the commenters last week (Cari, maybe?) mentioned, because the suspense and momentum built throughout the book add to its power.

I will start Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart tonight. And I have the new issue of Newsweek, and the new issue of House and Garden to read this weekend.

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I took the boys to the playground yesterday afternoon and decided immediately thereafter to follow Angela’s (from Fluid Pudding) advice and restrict my children’s toys to one banana slice – preferably VERY ripe – apiece. The two older boys were spinning on the Puke Machine (you know, that little merry-go-round thingey – why, what do YOU call it?) and Segundo of course fell off twice, was dragged around by his arm at least once, and hit his head twice, once on the pipes you are supposed to hold onto and once on the actual deck of the thing AFTER he fell off. I endured all this before I finally got tired of watching, heart in my mouth, and waiting for him to be decapitated by the damn thing. I hauled him off it, telling him – oh, the tantrum that ensued – that he was just too little (and his mama is just too overprotective and neurotic) to play on that particular piece of playground equipment.

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I ate a chocolate bar for breakfast this morning.
And then I went out for a walk/run (twenty minutes, doing one minute running, one minute walking…and so on. Nice easy way to build back up.)
Then I stopped at the coffee shop for an iced latte.
Then I climbed out on the porch roof and worked on our windows.
Fortunately I only had to recaulk in a few places (I did most of the recaulking the summer before I got pregnant with Terzo) and the paint worked as primer since I had to use two, and in some places three, coats to cover the brown.

Here is what the windows looked like:


Here is what the finished windows look like:


On the first floor, I painted the actual window mullions and frame olive green, but as we are replacing some of the second-floor windows with vinyl windows, and you can’t paint vinyl, I figured it’s best for them to be consistent. The front windows that look out onto the porch, and the porch railings and columns, will be picked out in olive, and the front door is olive – or at least it is until I have time to strip it down to the oak – but everything else will just get a nice clean coat of gloss white. The outside of the house is shaping up – thank God – as I had to call the plumber today for the inside. The main pipe beyond the laundry tub is simply rusted through. I ran some laundry as the underwear situation was growing dire, and the soapy water just gushed out of this gaping hole in the 4-inch main pipe and its rust. I am afraid to tackle it myself as I don’t know where the 4-inch pipe goes after it descends into our basement floor. And I really have no wish to find out, frankly. I just wish my soapy water to go there, wherever it is, and stop pouring out onto the basement floor.

All I really want is some clean underwear.

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List Friday, courtesy of Pomegranates and Paper

This weeks' theme: Your Top Ten Hobby Supplies (although I don't have ten...)

Here we go:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • A big spoon
  • My bed or at least a comfy sofa
  • Bottle of seltzer water
  • A good book

25 comments:

Carolyn said...

Good luck with the plumbing thing.

Your windows look great!

Suse said...

Oh my god now it's a renovator's blog. I am so impressed that you can read AND fix your house up. Er, fix up your house. Apologies for the split infinitive. It's early.

My float said...

Ok, I admit to liking Possession the film, but probably only because I haven't read the book! I've really disliked watching films of books ever since I saw an old Jane Eyre in which Mr Rochester was short and fat, and not the tall and thin man I visualised from the book.

Badger said...

This is why I haven't been able to bring myself to watch I Capture The Castle, even though I heard it was very good and true to the book. I just can't.

Appropos of nothing, I must ask you: have you read Christopher Moore's Lamb? Because for some reason I woke up this morning thinking that I had to tell you IMMEDIATELY that you should read it. But then I forgot until just now. So, um, you should read it! You would LOVE it. For reals.

MsCellania said...

Wow, you have a boatload of talent to get your windows looking that good. AND you do plumbing?! My first house was a really old house. Something was always going South. I found duct tape to be my Best Friend.

"Cider House Rules" is one of my all-time favorite movies.

I agree 1000% on the Vomit Comet - I keep the boys OFF that thing. Some over zealous (and mean) older kids always load the thing up with little ones and then spin the thing until death is narrowly averted, or a mother comes running, whichever comes first. I notice our newer playgrounds don't feature them anymore. Ditto for teeter totters; butt-busters the lot of them.

When our washer was on the fritz 2+ years ago, I ran out and bought undies for all of us. My mother advocated the 'do laundry in the tub' routine; I declined. After a week of going to a laundromat, I was DONE schlepping stuff in and out of the car, and oldest was toilet training. I could picture washing clothes in the tub - what I couldn't get my mind around was wringing the water out.

MsCellania said...

Wow, you have a boatload of talent to get your windows looking that good. AND you do plumbing?! My first house was a really old house. Something was always going South. I found duct tape to be my Best Friend.

"Cider House Rules" is one of my all-time favorite movies.

I agree 1000% on the Vomit Comet - I keep the boys OFF that thing. Some over zealous (and mean) older kids always load the thing up with little ones and then spin the thing until death is narrowly averted, or a mother comes running, whichever comes first. I notice our newer playgrounds don't feature them anymore. Ditto for teeter totters; butt-busters the lot of them.

When our washer was on the fritz 2+ years ago, I ran out and bought undies for all of us. My mother advocated the 'do laundry in the tub' routine; I declined. After a week of going to a laundromat, I was DONE schlepping stuff in and out of the car, and oldest was toilet training. I could picture washing clothes in the tub - what I couldn't get my mind around was wringing the water out.

Sarah Louise said...

BB, you are my inspiration. Although I can't do John Irving, and I have at least 5 movies on my list that were better than the book (but yes, BJ is one of them). How's the plumbing?

Love the windows!!

andrea said...

a prayer for owen meaney is my favorite irving.

i am reading garner right now. it was from the 2005 book list that i would find and link to if i wasn't so tired.

jess said...

I'm curious to hear what you think of Cornelia Funke - I've been meaning to try her for a while. By the way, I can't see her name now without thinking of Tobias Funke from Arrested Development. And hearing her name in his voice.

Love the list.

Confession: I didn't really like Possession. The book, or the movie. I haven't seen or read CHR in a while...I should revisit. I do love Owen Meany though.

Bookhart said...

I haven't even seen a merry-go-round in our part of the world in years. I think the powers-that-be in the local parks department got rid of them all due to litigation paranoia.

Nice to know that somewhere, someplace children are still getting nauseous (or is it nauseated?) after playing on them.

Speaking of John Irving movies, I accidentally stumbled onto the dreadful adaptation of "A Prayer for Owen Meany," which was so bad that they didn't even call him Owen Meany, and couldn't drag my eyes away. It was terrible. Just thinking abou it gives me the shivers.

blackbird said...

we call that playground toy a 'spin and puke' and we are not allowed to ride it until we are nine.

I wrote a post, a while back, about playground/torture equipment. Who thinks up this stuff?

(I, too, am sorry if I've split any infinitives...okay?)

Katya said...

I loved The Cider House Rules movie too and like you I was very apprehensive about seeing it because it is my favorite John Irving book.

You could have handled Segundo on the merry-go-round if you hadn't just gone through that frighening incident with him.

Badger said...

Bookhart, dude, they have one of those merry-go-rounds in the park behind my house. I. Hate. It.

Oh, and you need to read Lamb, too.

Sarah Louise said...

Yeah, I saw part of the fake Owen Meany movie at a women's retreat. It had Jim Carey!! My best friend from hs adored the book and I could. not. do. it. Ditto to the w according to garp. Well, it takes all kinds.

BabelBabe said...

It DOES take all kinds - that's what makes the world interesting.

And Garp was a good book. I think, um, everyone here agreed on that.

andrea said...

i also liked the fourth hand but not so much the 150-pound marriage.

have you ever seen him give an interview? i've seen several and i think he always comes off as a pompous asshole. i much prefer it when authors rock as much as their books do, because i now forever have that impression of irving in the back of my head when i read any of his work.

BabelBabe said...

I didn't like 4th Hand but did like Widow for one Year. His earlier stuff is definitely his best.

andrea said...

fourth hand either reminded me of life of pi or i read them around the same time so i think one reminds me of the other.

in cornelia funke news, i am not really loving dragonrider, which i only got to hold me over till the thief one is available anyway.

Joke said...

I'm with SL on the John Irving thing, although perhaps a ::cough, cough:: bit mo' forcefully than she's stated.

I also loved The Great Santini on film and book.

As you were,

-J.

Miz S said...

I HATE the spin-and-puke ride on the playground. When we do our end-of-year picnic at the local park, I am the mean teacher who won't allow any of her students to go on it.

Sarah Louise said...

So glad to know I'm not the only one alone in my not liking John Irving club. Several men I went on a couple of dates with put him in the category of writer-god. I now know better than to even try to read a book of his.

And I was so sad when those merry go rounds got taken out of Highland Park. Well, at least there used to be more than there are now, not knowing which playground you went to...and there were more swings with hard seats--

Alas. I need to get some children of my own so that I have excuses to go to the playground more often.

Joke said...

SL,

You need to develop a questionnaire for men whom you date. This way you know right off teh bat if they hit any dealbreakers as opposed to finding out around, say, your 5th child.

-J.

hungry in LA said...

OK I admit it: "Possession" bored me to tears and I think that "Owen Meany" was a huge rip-off. Great lead up to a horribly disappointing ending. And "Stones from the River" - never even finished it. Loved "The Namesake" though, I think we agreed on that one. We can still be friends, right?

Lazy cow said...

You DIY women SCARE me. That's why I married my husband: so he can PAY someone else to do it for us while I stay home and mind the kiddies. Great job on the window.

I think that the book of Brigit Jones' Diary shits all over the movie. It is one of my all-time favourite comfort reads. I just love it, especially the way her mother is written. The movie? Spare me from Renee's potato head and general patheticness.

BabelBabe said...

Hungry, I admit I am with you on Owen Meany.

But I'd love you forever, regardless. Just don't tell your hubby.