Friday, February 29, 2008

A brief rant on movie reviews

As we know, I like movies. So when a movie I've been anxious to see comes out, I gobble up the reviews so that I can either 1) prepare myself for a good time or 2) shout that the critics don't know what they're talking about.

Case in Point: The Other Boleyn Girl, one of my favorite novels, opens today in its film adaptation. Almost every review I read (except for the one in the Plain Dealer), questioned the historicity of the plot and then reduced the complex emotions of Gregory's characters to that of a "bodice-ripper" (that seems to be the phrase en vogue for describing this film).

Is it too much to ask that reviewers READ the novels the books are taken from? Really. I know a ton of movies come out every year that are based on books, so this might be difficult, next to impossible, or impossible. But in the case where the book is a huge hit (It's sold millions of copies), and is based on historical evidence (and Gregory provides a list of sources she used at the end of her book), then I think, in the interest of a good review, you need to at least glance at the book. If you had, then you would know that Anne and George's alleged sexual relationship is, in fact, not just a random plot twist. The homosexual ring around Anne as Queen is not invented for pique. This is Henry VIII we're talking about--truth is better than fiction.

From the reviews I've read, it does seem like the movie takes a few liberties with the book; namely, the girls' mother, Lady Rochester, is nice in the movie, whereas in the book she is just as interested in grabbing power as her husband and uncle. Mary, apparently, does not have a baby boy in the film, whereas in the book, and actuality, she had two children by Henry VIII, Catherine Knoylls and Henry, Lord Hudson, who became one of Queen Elizabeth I's (his cousin) advisors. The omission of Henry from the plot would weaken the hatred Mary feels for Anne later in the story, since Anne's "adoption" of Henry, without Mary's consent, becomes a key point in their relationship.

Oh, and note to reviewers--you're supposed to like Mary. It's not a failure of the plot to make her not as conniving as her sister. That's the whole POINT.

I'm seeing the movie tomorrow, so I can give a better impression then. But seriously, folks, if you're going to get on a movie for not being historical or messing with facts, or throwing ludicrous things in because they would make the story better, it would behoove you to read the book and the source material. Thank you.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bloggy Book Club: The Christmas Box

Queen of the Castle has a brief summary up, if you haven't read this and want to know what the heck I'm talking about. :)

This is probably one of the first books I read that I counted as a "If the house was burning down, I would save this book." I first read it when I was 12, after having ordered it from our 7th grade book order. It's a thin, little green novella, with the title in raised gold print and a tiny white snowflake underneath. It is also looking a bit dog-eared by now.

Since the book is very short (under 70 pages), I tore through it on the bus ride home. And then I read it again. And again. And then one more time. And then I discovered he'd written more books. So since then, I have read them all: The Timepiece, The Letter, The Locket, the Looking Glass, the Carousel, The Last Promise, The Sunflower, Finding Noel and The Gift.

In short, I'm addicted to this author.

As both Nutmeg and Queen of the Castle say, if you are a parent, this book has a message for you--to cherish your children's childhood. To, as Richard says in one of his books, "wake up one morning and know that [they'll] be gone." But even if you don't have children, this applies to everyone--to stop and savor each moment, because you're not going to get it again. Every minute is so unique and precious and we need to realize that, instead of constantly thinking "oh when will this be over?" or "I can't wait until I'm________" (fill in with whatever you're waiting for).

I read this book every year at Christmas, and his other books all year round. It's simple message is inspiring.

For more on how R. P. Evans wrote the book, I recommend his autobiographical work, The Christmas Box Miracle.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Call Congress

I take steroids. And yes, I can tell when baseball players lie about taking steroids, because you can clearly see they have "moonface" (Steroid related swelling, which so far I have managed to avoid, unless Dr. A really ramps them up, as he likes to do on rare occasion).

However, I have not yet developed Phenomenal Skills with any sort of Sporting Equipment. But that doesn't mean that I haven't enjoyed other particularly wonderful side effects.

Most of really unpleasant ones--losing or growing excess hair, for example--I have not had to deal with. Thank God. And I am actually on a fairly low maintenance dose of 10 mg/day. And it does make my joints super-happy. Pre-transplant, my joints were Highly Cranky all the time. (I was totally perturbed when Vioxx went off the market. That was a Miracle Drug. I would have gladly dealt with potential cardiac complications 30 years from now if I could take the Blessed Yellow Pill that got me through today.) So there is something good about it. But they do make one area of life sadly complicated.

This is Shopping For Clothes. Now, while my face is normal size (I think), my stomach is not. Weight gain there is especially prominent when you take steroids, and it's sort of out-of-proportion with the rest of your body. Some girls can look like they are six or seven months pregnant while taking these.

So shopping for jeans, skirts, hose, etc. becomes very interesting. You can get things over your hips, but they don't buckle/zipper/close in any way. I actually look at hose sizes now, and wonder, Hmmm, do I go by what my crazy stomach's size is, or the size of my legs? Do I want them to be too big or too small?

With jeans, if it fits the waist, the butt is huge. So I feel like I am swimming in my jeans.

Yes, I am glad I weight more than the 85 pounds I clocked in at pre-transplant. But geez, I do miss having a proportinate body.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm a colon

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon


A recent Ohio flap has been about the number of handicapped parking placards that are distributed around the state. Complaining about handicapped parking is isn't new--it tends to surface around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when people see (or think they see--an important distinction) the handicapped spots being abused by people who do not "deserve" a placard.

Now the argument has turned from this to deciding that the state distributes too many handicapped placards, i.e., multiple ones for a single person (if multiple people have to drive that person).

Handicapped parking complaints raise my hackles awfully quick. Pre-transplant, I got a placard. I was commuting to school, and Capital's parking situation was (and is) abhorrent. Without that placard I would have been parking in the hinterlands, lugging about 20 pounds of books on my back to my classes. It would not have flown. And I still have the placard. It's good until October of this year (in Ohio they're four year things). To look at me, both pre- and post-transplant, you would not think I "needed" a spot. I'd be one of those young people that the letters to the editor complain about. Well, I wasn't. I had 23% lung function. I needed that spot, damn it. Even after the transplant, there are times when I've been in the hospital and during the recovery period, I've needed to use it.

I hate the looks I got (and still get, if I use it), from people. A note to the general public: STOP IT. The next time I get one of those looks, I swear I'm going to show that person the surgery scars.

A person who is young can very easily have a heart or lung condition that requires the placard. You don't need to be in a wheelchair or have a broken leg, or whatever. I would even say that they should get FEWER looks, because I never had a wheelchair, so it was just me and my beaten-up lungs trudging toward an entrance. It wasn't like I could push myself there.

I don't know where the debate is currently headed, and I know that there are people who misuse the placards. But can we please get over the idea that only people in wheelchairs or on crutches need these placards? It's outdated and untrue.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I am a movie nut. I think, at last count, I owned somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 DVDs. (This was not helped by the DVD buying binge I went on this weekend. Hey, Dumbo was $12. I couldn't resist.)

But this has not been a Year for Movies--at least Oscar-wise.

I am generally an Oscar nut, dating back to 1998 when I correctly predicted that Shakespeare In Love would win Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan. Since they, I have assiduously watched the Oscar films, read the latest predictions, and lived for Entertainment Weekly's Oscar issue. From 1998-2004 was really a Golden Time for film. As I look at the films that were nominated in that period, we have movies like Life Is Beautiful, Chocolat, Gladiator, the Lord of the Rings movies, A Beautiful Mind, Chicago, Cold Mountain, Mystic River, Seabiscuit, the Incredibles, Finding Neverland, and Finding Nemo. Some really great movies are in that tally.

2005 was a so-so year. We had Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen in the running, but the Big Prize (finally, I suppose) went to Martin Scorcese's The Departed. I am glad he won after years of "Pick me! Pick me!" yelping with lackluster movies like The Aviator and Gangs of New York (which is the only movie I have ever walked out of). At least we're spared his stuff for awhile. (Can you tell I'm not a fan?)

But this year, I have had interest in 2 movies--Juno, which I saw and enjoyed, and Michael Clayton, which is sitting on the DVD-to-watch pile. And, of course, Ratatouille, which just got relegated to the Best Animated Feature pile, when, as the best reviewed movie of the year, it should've been up for Best Picture. I am not alone in that thought.

And it's not just in the Best Picture category. Russell Crowe and Christian Bale should've received nominations for 3:10 to Yuma. Keri Russell was excellent in Waitress. I loved Becoming Jane, but maybe that's just my Jane fanaticism.

I also saw La Vie En Rose, which has a Best Actress nomination going for it.

So, even though I will not be watching tonight (Faith Sharing and the P&P!!! YES!), I am voting for all things Juno and Ratatouille. Oh, and Enchanted in the song category!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


lab work--OK
PFTs--"very consistent" (Dr. A)--yes, they are. They are about 60%. I am nothing if not consistent. :)

So everything's fine. I am tired as the devil. So what does that mean? Probably a virus. We did another nasal wash so we'll see what comes of that. Meanwhile, we're just trying to hang tight here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Time with Todd

So I wasn't supposed to go back to clinic until April.
Ha. Ha.
Going in bright and early tomorrow to have more labs, CXR, the whole shebang, so that we can figure out why I have just enough energy to go to work, but then crash at home and sleep like the dead. And don't want to wake up.
This is not good, especially given that Easter is coming and I need to be at rehearsal, not being a zombie on my couch.

Spontaneous mutation-random thoughts

I've been reading about eugenics lately. No, this is not one of my new fields of study, but it has been prominent (or mentioned) in two books I've read, and it got me thinking.

The idea behind eugenics is that you can "breed out" certain undesirable things by controlling how people procreate. That way you could eliminate obvious things, like genetic disease, but you may be able to prevent things like "anti-social behaviors" (excessive violence, alcoholism, etc.) by sterilizing people or passing sterilization laws. This actually happened in the US in the 20s and 30s--almost half the states had some sort of "voluntary" sterilization laws.

Here's the problem. It doesn't work. Genetics aren't something you can breed out, because the genetic code is always changing. Scientists call it "spontaneous mutation." We adapt. (See Jurassic Park. Remember when they made the dinosaurs all girls so they couldn't breed, and then some changed sex? Human genetic code modifies, too.)

My CF is a case of spontaneous mutation. There is no history on either side of the family, and we looked. No one, that we know of, died early or of anything that could have been CF, but was missed back in the day.

What does this have to do with anything? I'm not sure. But it's something I've been thinking about. In one of the books I read (Second Glance, by Jodi Picoult, which was really good), a character is a genetic counselor, and her clients don't want to pass on things like CF and hemophilia to their kids. So they have embryos tested, and Meredith (the counselor), tells them what embryos are good for implantation. (aka, the "normal" ones) You can bet how I feel about this. There's this idea that a life with a genetic disorder isn't worth having. I hope through my writing I've done my best to show that, even though it's not always a picnic, life is a good thing. If we all wanted a perfect, pain-free life, we'd never get out of our cradles.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Triumph of the bread :)

After one and a half days...voila! La Brioche!

For the initial bread post, go here.

New L&A!

Up over at Clusters of Crocus.

Book Binge Update

--The Interior Castle
--Is Heathcliff a Murderer? (It's essays about different novels, so I only read the ones on novels I had read, which made up about 50% the book. The novels I haven't read? Well, I dealt with that...)

--Mysteries of Udolpho (two chapters)
--Jane Austen's letters (the first 10, with a few Tom Lefroy mentions...wink, wink)

And, finally, the madness continues:

--Wuthering Heights (OUP--yes I'm giving Emily B. another whirl)
--Oliver Twist
--Measure for Measure (OUP Shakespeare)
--Much Ado About Nothing (Pelican Shakespeare)
--As You Like It (Pelican Shakespeare)

Arriving this week:
--Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (OUP--abridged)

Yup, it's official. My name is Emily, and I'm a book addict.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

du Pain

Bread is the most satisfying thing for me to make, in any incarnation--corn bread, loaves of bread, biscuits. It's such a basic food, but so vital to out everyday lives. There's a reason the "Our Father" says "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread."
So this weekend I have taken to indulging my bread making side, and am currently making some brioche (my first try!) courtsey of Barefoot In Paris. You can find the recipe here.

Another favorite is Irish Soda bread (here), which is an easy to make bread (no yeast or rising)--great for St. Patrick's Day! (Also great for breakfast, spread with a nice thick jam.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Total Book Binge

I am insane for books. As we know. But this weekend has been truly insane.
So far I have read (in total):

--A Year In Provence
--Toujours Provence
--Little House on the Prairie (again)

I am starting right now:

--The Mysteries of Udolpho (the heroine is named Emily! Yay!), of Northanger Abbey fame. (yes, more Jane!)

I am currently reading:
--Searching for Jane Austen (probably more of this tomorrow)
--The Interior Castle

To begin:
--Jane Austen's letters (is it HUGE, and Cassandra even burned some of them. It's amazing.)
--Little Men
--Was Heathcliff a Murderer? And other questions in 19th Century fiction. I got this and Udolpho today via Amazon, and I flipped through this book to see it has essays on Emma, Mansfield Park, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Portrait of a Lady, and other novels. This looks AWESOME and like a quick read, so I will probably start it tomorrow.

I also went shopping and bought some new work clothes, AND made scones and blondies, with some cleaning and music on the side.
I am very proud of my productivity. :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

New hobby!

I am going to start knitting. Yup. Because I need something else to do.
Actually I was inspired by my friend Christine, who made this little buddy for a friend's baby. I want to make him. Ergo, I have to learn to knit.
So to Jo Ann's I go tomorrow, for supplies and more scrapbook stuff. It's a long weekend for me, and I think it will involve baking, reading, and being crafty. :) And movies, while I'm being crafty. And possibly more writing.

A(nother) Meme

(because it's Friday and I need some fun)

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Auntie Em in the Wizard of Oz. Do Not Laugh. The fact that it is a Seminal Movie In My Life is incidental.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Nope. But only my pumas have laces, anyway.


13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Ice cream in ANY incarnation, but I love dark chocolate peppermint that I mix up at Coldstone Creamery. And yes, that's my sugar allocation for about a week.


15. RED OR PINK? Pink.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? What, I'm not allowed to like everything? (kidding)

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My family, my godbaby (OK yes he's 10, but give me a break)
18. What shoes and bottoms are you wearing now? My blue and pink pj pants and socks.


20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Nothin'. But Idina Menzel is in the car.


22. FAVORITE SMELLS? things cooking in the over, garlic sizzling in the skillet, roses, flowers in general, the air by the ocean, my Coco Mademoiselle perfum.


24. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football (high school, college, and pro), college b-ball, hockey, and occasionally golf and tennis. And I love the Olympics!

25. HAIR COLOR? blonde.

26. EYE COLOR? blue.


28. FAVORITE FOOD? Pasta. Pasta. More pasta.

29. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? To quote Fauna, "I just love happy endings."

30. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Becoming Jane (bien sur!)




34. FAVORITE DESSERT? You put chocolate in it, I'll eat it.

35. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Let's make that books. "A Year in Provence", "Searching for Jane Austen", "Confessions" (St. Augustine), "The Interior Castle", "Orthodoxy"

36. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I got myself an iBook, therefore no mouse pad.

37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? Fox News with Brit Hume.

38. FAVORITE SOUNDS? great music. Babies laughing, cooing, whatever. Kids playing in the swimming pool.

39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? I have no opinion.


41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Besides being obsessive about movie quotes? (:-)) my music--singing, especially. My piano playing is about par, but I think it's special given that I mostly taught myself. :)

42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Columbus, OH.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

OK, so even though I have no love life to speak of, I did get Becoming Jane from my parents for V-Day. So that makes me happy. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008


OK class was awesome. Really. Seriously.
Because the local weather guys are predicting gloom and doom, there were only three of us at class (and one observer). Normally, the receptionist told me, you get a pretty good turnout. I was in the middle, age-wise. One girl looked to be in high school and the other seemed to be in her early 30s.
Julia (our teacher) was great. We started with a quick mat warm -up, then we did barre, which, amazingly, had not totally deserted me. The teacher liked my ronde de jambs (for you non-French people, those are leg circles). So go me. :) After that we did some more stretching (which is important when you're older), and then center work. OK center work was not quite as cool, given my sense of balance is a bit, um, wobbly. BUT I didn't do too bad on some of the combinations that didn't involve balancing on one leg.
I could not believe how hard I worked. I mean, seriously, treadmill has NOTHING on ballet class. I am going to need some new leotards or I'll be doing laundry every day, especially if I take class twice a week. (They offer Ballet Intro M and Th at the Gahanna school, but this Thursday I've got other meetings.)
Anyway, I didn't fall down and I didn't totally embarrass myself. I bought 12 classes, so I have 11 more to go. And after that, I am going to look awesome. :-D Seriously.
I cannot WAIT for my next class.
(Oh, and tx note--I would NEVER have been able to do this class pre-tx. NEVER.)

Spreading the word

Organ donation seems to be getting a lot of press/notice lately. A few things I've seen:
--Two "Donate Life" stickers on cars (if you want one, email me! I have them!)
--the man next to me at the ballet on Friday was wearing a "donate life" wrist band.
--Organ donation was highlighted in a special section of the Dispatch over the weekend. Buckeye football coach Jim Tressel had an event with three athletes who happen to be organ recipients. One of them said that the 98,000 people currently waiting for a donor represent roughly the capacity of Ohio Stadium. So if everyone in the 'shoe on a Saturday watching the Buckeyes was organ donor...we might be doing better in the numbers race.
--And my mug has been plastered around Columbus TV and internet sites are part of Lifeline's new awareness campaign. It's an old picture, though. :)

Of course, if you are NOT yet a donor--you know what to do. Or go here.

Tonight, tonight

won't be just any night. (A little West Side Story for your edification)
I am going to my first ballet class in, oh, many, many moons.
I am a bit nervous. I am going to BalletMet's open teen/adult Ballet Intro class. It's taught by honest to God professionals, not the nice "Miss Robin" I had when I took ballet before! So gulp.
I went out on Saturday and bought a leotard, pants (apparently adults can wear dance pants in class) and ballet flats. I was ridiculously excited to purchase those.
Hopefully it goes well, because I am excited. :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Culture Cat: Lovestruck

Last night I saw BalletMet's Valentine-themed show, "Lovestruck", which was a bunch of different pieces in three acts.
The first act consisted of a few pieces from their "30x30" performances in August, which involved 30 different choreographers creating a 30 different dances over 30 days (1 per choreographer) to kick off BalletMet's 30th Anniversary Season. "Maquillage" (French for Make-up), a woman's ensemble piece, was the "30x30" selection for the first act. This was followed by Adam Hunt's (a BalletMet dancer and budding choreographer's) piece "Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", a pas de deux set to a Nancy Sinatra song, which I thought was quite well-done. "Everyday people", a solo danced by Jeff Wolfe, was next. It's nice to see male solos every once in awhile, and this was was well-executed.

The highlight of the evening for me was the "Sinatra Suite", a pas de deux by Twyla Thwarp that was originally choreographed for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo. Tonight Jaime Dee and Jimmy Orrante (two of my favorite dancers) danced to this set of five Sinatra numbers, which included "Strangers In The Night", "All The Way", "That's Life", and "My Way." It concludes with another male solo, set to "One for my baby" (I think). Dee and Orrante were pitch-perfect. Both are wonderfully expressive dancers, and this piece gave them the opportunity to showcase those talents, especially in "That's Life". I could watch them all day.

The second act was a world premiere--"A Different Drummer." Well, different certainly applies here. The entire company was involved in this piece, which I think ran about 15-20 minutes, and was based on the poem of the same name by Thoreau. Vastly different in tone and style than the previous pieces, it grew on me as the dance progressed. Carrie West and Jackson Sarver, in particular, were my favorites.

The third act consisted of three pieces: "Two of Us" and "Sweet", pieces from "30x30", which I had seen being created back in August. "Sweet", danced by Annie Mallonee and Justin Gibbs, is one of my favorite pieces in BalletMet's repertoire and I'm always excited to see it performed, especially by these dancers.

The program wrapped with "Bolero", set to music by Ravel, which had Indian undertones. Emily Ramirez, as the solo dancer, did a fantastic job. She was wonderfully captivating. The sensual nature of this number was a perfect fit for the program.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Fighting the sandman...

This whole flu recovery thing, to use some slang, sucks. OK, yes, it's been worse (duh!), but this constant feeling of "I could close my eyes and sack out for about 12 hours right now" is not the most productive thing in the world.

ON the plus side--I did over a mile on the treadmill today (25 minutes) doing intervals. Woohoo! Laura could hardly believe I'd been sick. So that was awesome.

And yes, my boy Mitt is out of the race. :( Tear. There's always '12. (Is it just me, or does that look really funny?)

And Lent is here, hence the Lenten colors...bring it on!

This weekend: Another Culture Cat--the ballet! And Richelle's 25th birthday party at Martini's (one word: YUM).

Monday, February 04, 2008


Back to work today--woohoo! :)

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I am full of schaeudenfreude right now. It's awesome. :)
Go Giants!

Gee, guys, I'm speechless

Nutmeg says I'm

I concur about everyone on my blogroll. So give yourself a button!

The Huge Culture Post

So when you're barred from interacting with humanity for almost a week, you have a lot of time to read, watch, and listen to things. So I give you my massive review round-up (inspired by Amy Welborn).


--Liberal Fascism: I cannot say enough good things about it. Get thee a copy immediately.
--Wives and Daughters: Still working on this one, but I love Molly and Roger.
--Orthodoxy (still)
--The Interior Castle (again, still)
--The Big Stone Gap series (re-reads)
--Spe Salvi (the Pope's new encyclical)

--Northanger Abbey (Yes, Jane obsession is in FULL SWING)
--La Vie En Rose: I finished it. I liked Marian Cottilard's portrayal of Edith Piaf, but the film itself I found rather episodic and disjointed. If you are already familiar with her life and career, you will probably find it less disjointed than I did (I knew nothing about her when I started watching it, other than she was a French singer in the 1940s and 50s). But as this movie is in French, and made for a French audience who is (presumably) much more familiar with "The Sparrow's" life and career,
it was not necessary for the filmmakers to give us a truly exhaustive bio-pic.

--Idina Menzel, I Stand. I Love her voice, and it's in wonderful form on this new CD. So far "My Own Worst Enemy" is my favorite track.
--Renee Fleming, I Want Magic! (With James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera orchestra): American opera arias (read: it's in English!) with Fleming's glorious voice backed by a phenomenal orchestra.

Friday, February 01, 2008


A thought--
if you're one of those people who don't get flu shots for WHATEVER reason, can you, please, get them for the rest of humanity? If this week has been any indication for me, the flu without the shot must be infinitely worse than getting it with the shot.
Thank you. :)