Friday, November 30, 2007

The Book Thief

Join me on and see all the things I am reading!

Death as a narrator has never been so likable and so straight-forward. In fact, he often tells you with warning and in bold exactly what is going to happen, then he paints the as not to surprise the reader too much. What he does do is the draw the reader in so entirely that soon you begin believing that you want to have a deeper conversation with death.

How could you not want to get to know a narrator who says things like:

"Allow me to play you a picture."

"Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. That was the business of hiding a Jew."

"If they killed him tonight, at least he would die alive."

The novel turned out to deal with WWII, a subject I have read about far too often, and thus have put a ban on in my life for a few years, but I started it without knowing, I loved it, and I had to finish it. It doesn't glory in the bloodshed and the atrocities, it calmly depicts the life of little Liesel Meminger, a book thief. Bad dreams live in her sleep, but out of sheer luck and many footsteps she makes it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

An Enchanted Toast!

Every Thanksgiving the Benincosa Family goes to the newest Disney flick designed to steal our money. Usually I attend and just watch a good movie in my head, created by my own thoughts (which lately have dreamed up some weird things...remind me to tell you about my recent dream). However, this year we were all delighted to find Enchanted so enchanting!! Little singing roaches and New York rats doing dishes (I always knew they could be a powerful workforce!) It was a good time for all, so much so that my niece and I had to go buy the soundtrack today so we could sing and dance to it! "I've been dreaming of true love's kiss...."

The children of the family are really into making toasts this year...and saying "Cheers!!"-- which is something, as we all know, we never outgrow.

Look at those baby blues! Also notice this lizard that became a theme throughout the evening. It had to sit at the table with us, we talked to it, we fed it dinner, and then it almost became dinner** (see below) reality, I have no idea where it came from.

I am afraid that the older generations are passing on to the younger generations a sense of drama that must be applied to every situation in life.

In front of April is the "Thankful Bucket" every year we write down what we are thankful for, and then we go around and read what we were thankful for last year. Some of the good ones from 2006 were:

"That calories don't count on Thanksgiving." --April

"That I wore stretch pants." --Brooke

"That Patrick Swayze became an actor." --D'Arcy

Recording the Gratitude of 2007.

Audra: the cook, baker, designer, hostess, and family Martha Stewart. She deserves lots of good hugs for all she did this year!

This was Casey's true reaction as all of his aunts and his own mother burst into tune. It must have been all that sparkling apple cider, but Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney, and Debbie Reynolds were all at the table last night!

I had to cheers every time I so much as looked at my drink!


Riding home from the movie last night we were extremely hungry and as ready. We posed for a picture at every stop light...this one was the best, I think.

Audra and Marty dressed their family in strict NY Giants uniforms (can we say mild obsession on the part of my brother-in-law here!!) If I were at all interested in sports, I sport a jersey too!

Auntie D'Arcy, Auntie Brookie, and little Alley! Hmmm, this picture looks exceptionally pink...I don't know what happened.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mocking Thanksgiving

There are so many things to be thankful for on this day! And the Benincosa girls look forward to the "Annual Mockery of the North and South 1985 Mini-Series".

Reasons to Mock are endless, but mostly we relive how fascinated we were with this show as young girls. We worked on our southern accents, we wanted bell skirts, we were all a-flutter with Patrick Swayze....the list is endless and never ending.

Some things we enjoyed about it this year:

1. The excessive use of the color peach.

2. The brocade vests the men are always wearing.

3. Patrick's mullet

4. All the horrible 80s-esque make-up and big hair.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Official

For six years $350.01 has been going to pay on a beautiful car named Golde. I just paid the last payment three minutes ago. Here is my advice: NEVER GET A CAR YOU HAVE TO PAY ON FOR SIX YEARS!!!! Luckily, I got lucky. My car has been very good, very reliable, and very low maintenance. It will last me for another six years at least, and then we'll part ways. However, I always thought I needed a nice car that wouldn't break down (since my childhood was plagued with Gremlins and Pintos and Citations...oh my!) But I have realized a few things.

1. Breakdowns help your faith to grow, people always end up sharing the gospel or meeting the three Nephites during breakdowns.

2. I don't like having that big of a commitment.

3. You don't care if an old, crappy car gets hit, or scratched, or damaged.

4. You aren't as worried about getting robbed.

5. You seem more humble and anti-materialistic.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One of Oprah's Favorite Things

Ok, so today Oprah had her Favorite Things show. There were no YouTube clips to show the craziness of it all, so I thought this moment in history would suffice. As you watch the women all cheering, just imagine their heads exploding! I do, and it's so much fun!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Is having a job like having a husband?

Ok, for some reason, being employed has started to feel a lot like what I feel marriage will be like. I have now held down the same profession for five years. During my early days in college, I played the field. I dated Advertising, I had a one-night stand with Business, I had a fling with Acting, and then I found what I thought was the perfect fit, English. English became my main squeeze. For four years we were inseparable, yes we had the occasional spat, but by and large, English and I were in love-- deep, abiding love.

When you are that far gone, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. It was hard, in that time of joyfulness, to realize that English and I could one day happen upon conflict. It just seemed so impossible, we were just SO compatible!!

We dated, we courted, we married and I have the certificate to prove it. We were committed.

The first year I fought hard for our marriage. It was as hard and as rewarding as everyone says the first year of marriage is. By the end of that first year I found a whole other side to my spouse. I cried more, slept more, prepared more, and gave more of myself than I have at any other time. And, in the end, I loved English all the more. Working that hard to keep English and I together only deepened our bond (seriously, people could hardly stand to be together with us, all our adoring stories we would was annoying, I see that now, too much PDA!!)

The second and third and fourth years sped by with a rapidity that was hard to grasp. We fell into a routine. We had our responsibilities, we got a long, we worked together like clockwork. Sure, there were ups and downs, lows and highs, but at the end of the day, I was happy, and so was English. I felt like this was a relationship built to last.

And then, at the end of the fourth year I became disenchanted. English wasn't as beautiful as when we first met. English no longer made my heart skip a beat. English and I needed more and more time a part. I didn't come home to English, I took vacations from English, I became board with the exact things that used to attract me to English!!


I feel guilt, extreme guilt for what I am about to say, but I want to cheat on English!!!

I want to divorce English!

But here is the rub! I worry that I am in a "the grass is always greener" mode. You know, most people who get a divorce wish they hadn't. Most people who cheat on their spouses hurt not only their spouse, but themselves. Cheating and divorce are full of heartaches. Yes, English is tiresome sometimes, but wouldn't being married to an Editor make me just as tired? Yes, English is monotonous sometimes, but wouldn't being with a Publisher for five years be just as monotonous? Yes I have to deal with annoying quirks from English, but what if Editing has a horrific mother-in-law who will ruin my life and I rue the day I ever left English?!!!???

Do I need to keep to my commitment and realize I am just in a lull, but that it will get better?

Is there hope for me and English??

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Will "Love in the Time of Cholera" Infect Me?

I wonder? Will Love in the Time of Cholera make me sick? Oprah doesn't seem to think so, but I am tired of Oprah. Why is it the hour between my unwinding-from-work-time and my pre-all-the-other-things-I-need
-to-do-time comes between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm and I find myself watching Oprah more than I ever have? (not today though, as it is 4:17!!) She had all these different couples on the other day, all shouting from the rooftops the love that they feel for their amazing life partners.

I desperately wanted to be moved and feel something, because truthfully, I am not against love. I love love. I think love is a many splendid thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love...almost. But, if you don't exactly have love right now, what are you supposed to do with all those love feelings? I fear I have bottled mine somewhere deep that even I am not sure where I have placed them. Sadly, watching this hour in which everyone was crying but me, I felt like the Grinch before he gets a new and bigger heart.

Yes, I DO WANT to see the movie, and not just because it stars a major crush of mine, Javier Bardem..but because I love feeling like deep, connecting loves (as in the novel) exist!! But AH! I am a conflicted soul!!! I DON'T WANT want to see it because it will continue to feed my romantic mind lots of rich food that is just not healthy for it. My mind will get sick and it will vomit and at the end, maybe it will be like I have been infected by some type of love-cholera epidemic.


I hear the cure is to read more about disaster at least I have the cure in hand!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Does Rupert Murdoch own Everything?

Naomi Klein, I want to have a good ole cup of joe with you and talk, talk, talk. I wish you were my friend. I feel like you are my friend. You inform me, you care about me, you push me to feel passionate about things, you acknowledge me to believe in myself, and you don't lie to spare my feelings. You have opinions and you are brave enough to share them with me. I thank you Naomi, I truly do!

Here are a few notes I took while reading Fences and Windows the past two days.

~What is on trial is not trade or globalization but the global attack on the right of citizens to set the rules that protect people and the planet.

~Does Rupert Murdoch own everything? Corporations have swallowed our public spaces, our ideas about rebellion, and bought out politicians.
(Does he own the Simpsons too?)

~ The economic boom is being built on the back of low-wage workers, and our politicians are looking the other way because they are kept men and women, having been bought off by large corporations before even stepping into office.

~The alternative to capitalism isn't communism, it's decentralized power. Capitalism and Communism have something in common: they both centralize power in the hands of a few, and they both treat people as if they are less than fully human. Where communism sees people only as potential producers, capitalism sees them only as potential consumers; where communism starved people, capitalism has overfed them.

~ There is a whole new generation that grew up entirely under the marketing microscope. They were the ones with commercials in their classrooms; stalked on the Internet by voracious market researchers; with youth subcultures fully bought and sold; told that their greatest aspiration should be to become a dot-com millionaire at eighteen; and taught that rather than being a citizen they should learn "to be the CEO of Me Inc." These people are supposed to have grape Fruitopia in their veins instead of blood, and Palm Pilots instead of brains.

~It gave me another reason to feel uneasy about Michael Moore.

A good read all around! Let's all say it together-- "Down with IMF and Down with World Bank and *Down with Love!!"

*That has nothing to do with the mantra of this book, only the mantra of my life.

Norman Mailer is DEAD!!!

Norman Mailer, the macho prince of American letters who for decades reigned as the country's literary conscience and provocateur with such books as "The Naked and the Dead" and "The Executioner's Song" died today. He was 84.

This is sad, and Gore Vidal is probably quietly smirking in some corner somewhere, feeling just a little justified and vindicated.

Remember the Gilmore Girls episode entitled "Norman Mailer I'm Pregnant!" where good ole Norm sat at the Dragonfly Inn and ordered glass after glass of ice tea, too cheap to order real food? That was awesome.

Remember how he doesn't really think that much of women and is such a man's man? In a world where everyone is trying to embrace or pseudo-embrace feminism, I admire a man who sticks to his mis-directed guns!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Fair Way

In a fair land, in a fair away place, in a fair city, there resides a fair store that I frequent. It is absolute perfection. The floors are cement, the aisles are only big enough for one, but usually boast about 27. This is the UN I like to visit, so many different languages all pushing and pulling, bumping and meshing, and looking for Gouda. The flower market graces the outside, as fresh and colorful in-season veggies beckon you inward and onward. I heed the call, you should too.

The ways are too narrow, the shelves are too high, but this is my equivalent of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. And everything is lined up. I love the lines, I can walk through this fair isle of Manhattan and stare at the lines and lines and rows and rows. There is something that is thrilling about the lines and angles of the shelves. It gives me more pleasure than I care to admit. But, I will admit that sometimes I venture in with nothing I need to buy, just to pay a visit to the jam and the mustard.

The mustard is quite know how international icons can be! So posh, so beckham, so flavorful. I buy my little French mustard here, the one in the smallest jar, but possessing the biggest attitude. He pretends he doesn't like me, but when he finds out I am fluent, he secretly smiles.

The jam, on the other hand, is always happy to see me! And boy, does she have gossip to share! She just chatters away about the olives, the imported wine, the proud Lindt, and let's not forget the drama of the freshly-made-ready-to-cook pasta! (talk about putting on airs!!) I don't linger longer here as often as I do with the mustard. Heed my warning: the jam, though as friendly as a glass of lemonade on a summer day--will make you the subject of her gossip the moment you round the bend to buy a freshly baked baguette!