our book club reads happy books!

No Vampires in “The Sound of Music” Please!

So… after I wrote this blog post, I felt obligated to watch “The Sound of Music Live” starring Carrie Underwood. Which I did last night.

I will start with the positives: I like Carrie Underwood and I think she is a talented singer. And while I admit I don’t understand the impulse to remake “The Sound of Music” (why mess with perfection?), I do  understand and admire the impulse to challenge yourself. And isn’t that what “The Sound of Music” is about – climbing every mountain?

The first negative thing I am going to say is just a consequence of the fact that we were watching a tv broadcast of the stage version of the show, not the movie. I missed the sheer bigness of the movie: the Austrian alps, the Alpine meadows, the sites of Salzburg, the magnificence of the Cathedral, the giant puppet theater,  and yes, Julie Andrews’ 4 octave voice.

Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stage version of the show, so that took a little getting used to. ( Throughout the nation, the millions of middle-aged women singing along to every song were abruptly silenced when Max and Baroness Schrader began to sing – where did that come from?)

And Stephen Moyer (aka Vampire Bill from “True Blood”) as Captain von Trapp? As my daughter pointed out “Christopher Plummer was way more beautiful”. When Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer danced the Laendler the sparks were flying. Unfortunately, when Carrie and Stephen danced, I kept waiting for him to bite her neck! One thing he got right? With both captains, I am never quite sure if they can actually sing. Part of the charm of the movie for me is Christopher Plummer sing/talking “Something Good”. One of my fears about Vampire Bill was that he would be a magnificent singer. He came close a couple of times, but fortunately avoided that trap.

And I really want to say, because I notice these things, that I thought the costumes were pretty bad and in some cases didn’t fit very well. Carrie Underwood is so beautiful – who would ever have guessed she could make such a frumpy looking bride? (so frumpy I can’t even find a picture of it on the internet!)

Maria Maria Von Trapp Julie Andrews Wedding

For years, my dream of being a bride was epitomized by this beautiful bride!

I would like to end with some positives:  Carrie Underwood is a great singer and when she just had to belt out a song  she seemed most natural and comfortable to me. In particular, I enjoyed “The Lonely Goat-herd” scene. I guess Carrie’s country roots helped her in the yodeling department. And I thought it was cute how they staged a mock puppet show with the kids under the bed.

My absolute favorite part of the evening was when Audra McDonald sang “Climb Every Mountain”. (dare I say it was the best I ever heard?) I’m sure Carrie Underwood and I were not the only ones with tears in ours eyes as she sang. So glad it was reprised at the end. (I was wishing for an encore of “Wheels of a Dream” – oh well, time to get out  my “Ragtime” CD.)

I spent the evening in my sewing room; quilting and singing along. I didn’t turn it off. I enjoyed comparing and contrasting. I might just do it again tonight – this time with “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews DVD!

Finally, thank you to the magnificent Julie Andrews for the years and years of inspiration and joy!


It Should Have Been My Arm!!!

Catchy title brought to you by Lauren – thanks Lauren!

This month’s book was “The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty.


And here’s a hint: the husband’s secret isn’t that he’s  bought a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers for his wife!  This best seller is an over the top story of murder, betrayal, infidelity, a (super!) creepy mother in law, and of course, maternal guilt.  The book examines the secrets we keep and those that we reveal, the grudges we hold and the grudges we let go of,  the guilt we live with, and the forgiveness we choose to extend (or not!) to ourselves and others. In short, it has it all. So many things to discuss! We all agreed that we would have read that letter in a heartbeat (what took Cecilia so long!) and the secret Tess chooses to keep at the end was the right secret to keep.

There were no  hot cross buns to munch on, but the delicious baked goods Kathy provided were even better. Thanks Kathy!

One thing we didn’t get to discuss at book club, this description of Cecilia i found on Shelfari: “The perfect mom, homemaker, volunteer, Tupperware sales rep.”  Take out the word Tupperware, and I think we can all think of a certain book club member who fits this description! I’m sure her husband has no gruesome letters tucked away for her, though!

I  don’t consider myself that much like Cecilia, but one scene in particular I could relate to. When Cecilia feels her life crumbling around her, she goes into her super organized Tupperware filled pantry to try to relax.

My house is a mess and I have the opposite of a super organized pantry, but I couple months ago, I did this:

Pat's Iphone 810

and this:

Pat's Iphone 809

And this:


and this:

Pat's Iphone 812

This is all my quilting fabric that previously was stashed in various boxes, bins, and closets throughout the house. I spent the weekend sorting and folding while watching TV. (Can’t remember what I was watching, but I have a feeling it was something inspiring and intellectually stimulating – Like Season 1 through 4  of “Arrested Development”!) I won’t say it was best weekend ever, but I will say I enjoyed it a lot! And I find myself going in there occasionally, opening the drawers and admiring my handiwork. So I guess I do have a little bit of Cecilia in me after all!

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Mad about “Mad Men” (and Women)

I love the TV show “Mad Men”. I’ve watched it from the very first show. It’s been about a year and a half since the last season and I was excited for the season premiere.  I was slightly annoyed that it was scheduled to air while I was on New Orleans. (I even briefly entertained the idea of staying in Sunday night while we were in the Big Easy, so I could watch it. Thank goodness our hotel didn’t have AMC – I would have missed one of the best nights of my trip!)

I had brushed up on the previous season so I remembered everything that waited to be resolved: Joanie was pregnant with Roger’s child, Don was engaged to his 25-year-old secretary, crazy Betty was acting like she wanted Don back, and the final scene of the last season: Don laying awake in bed with his new fiance with an expression I interpreted as, “What the heck did I do?

Thursday night I made a date with my husband and we finally watched. He asked what I thought and I said:  It felt funny.I don’t recognize anyone – Don isn’t acting like Don, Peggy isn’t acting like Peggy, Joan isn’ t acting like Joan. Even Sally seemed mature and subdued.

But… I am still hooked. And as on previous seasons, it is the women who intrigue and move me. The 60’s were such a transitional time for women and all the characters are struggling to find there place in this new world. The sobering thing is, women still struggle with these issues: how to be taken seriously in the workplace, balancing work and family, sexual harassment. Peggy, Joan, Betty, and Megan are all dealing with these issues, and I can’t help rooting for them all. I even find myself  liking Megan (although I don’t really want to).

 And with one sentence Stirling, Cooper, Draper, Price exposed the depth of their biases and prejudices.  To a room full of African-American job applicants: “we’re only hiring secretaries, so all you men can go.”  How many people were insulted by that sentence? The message was:being a secretary is women’s work. And if we have to have black people in the workplace, we must not allow black men to threaten our jobs. Better to let black women come in and serve us.

The two-hour premiere raised more questions than it answered. How long will the happy newlywed act last for Don & Megan? It looks like the honeymoon is already over, but Don has  shown that living a lie is second nature to him. How fast will Joanie get back to work? Next week I’m guessing. Will Roger stop blowing cigarette smoke in his baby’s face? Not likely! Where’s Betty and her boring husband? (Morticia and Lurch – loved that!) And what will happen to Peggy? Will she finally admit to herself that she’s in love with Don? with Pete? with Duck? (no way!!) That she loves her job and doesn’t need a man to be fulfilled? Will Megan do another sexy song and dance?

There are aspects of all the “mad women” I relate to, although when I think about it, it should be Sally I relate to most. She is about the same age as I was in 1966, but her life is very different from mine (although some of the outfits look remarkably similar).  I hope “Mad Men” sticks around till they at least reach 1969. I just know Sally Draper will be at Woodstock!

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