Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Clubbing

So I've been meaning to update the blog for almost every night this week. For, as you can see, it's been almost a week.

The thing is, I have several really great excuses for why I haven't. ;)

1. Pretty Little Bare Feet's birthday party is coming up, & my bastion of calm&organization is going to become a zoo of chaos. I need to prepare myself - both mentally & with a dust rag.

(Oh, & go check out this party on Design Dazzle's blog. Pretty Little Bare Feet also has a Raggedy Ann theme, but I admit I didn't put nearly the effort or money into it that this fabulous party host did!)

2. I've made several little road trips in the last few days.

First, Pretty Little Bare Feet had a routine appointment out of town,
then I made a spontaneous road trip to MEET SARA EVANS(!) at a book-signing,
& THEN I had my own routine appointment out of town.

3. The next recipe I have listed to blog about - well, I'm not wild about it. But the thing is, I wanted my blog to be about recipes I've TRIED, which won't always include recipes I've LOVED. & isn't that okay? Aren't plenty of blogs devoted solely to the good stuff? I have a desire to feature recipes that I just plain don't like, or don't understand, as well. Maybe you can suggest ways to make it better?

I had every intention of blogging the recipe this afternoon. But in an unforeseen turn of events, on a Wednesday, which is the busiest day of the week in the Screen Door household, Pretty Little Bare Feet reverted back to her old quick catnap ways, & woke up hollering for me to come rescue her from a mess, about which I will spare you the details.

Pretty much every Wednesday, My Prince & I have a date night, of sorts. Now that Pretty Little Bare Feet is with us, our date night is often takeout, but it's the one night during the week that I flat-refuse to allow my little vain blonde head to ponder calories or fat grams.

We usually

are merry,
& well, act married, in the best sense of being married.

Further, now that we've moved into our new house, I usually get out&about after My Prince gets home from work, which means I'm usually running a few errands before I get our "date night" meal, errands that have eluded me

because of the frustration of doing them with a baby in tow,
or because they're on the other side of town,
or whatever.

Anyway, having spent the better part of the last few years doing a lot of commuting, I have to admit that I sort of relish the drives by myself.

I'm an only child,
& who always related better to "adults" than to peers
(which I think is supposed to be a common "only child" trait).
I love to read.
I am perfectly content to be by myself.
I prefer order&quiet to chaos.

Don't get me wrong -

I love to socialize,
I can certainly be the life of the party at times,
& I am by no stretch of the imagination any kind of "shy."

BUT I probably wouldn't be any of those things if I weren't able to soak up the kind of internalizing&philosophizing that I do

in my own head,
on my own time,
from time to time.

So anyway, tonight I was zooming around town, blissfully content to be lost in a CD of my own mixing.

(I pride myself on excellent taste in music...there is neither rhyme nor reason, just random admirations&obsessions...with the occasional "perfect running song" for this lover of that famously lonely&solo of workouts...running!)

But then I came home.

I will spare you some more messy details, as I prefer poopy diapers to my mother-in-law, & that is not a

or polite

thing to say. I am sparing you the details because I think it is ugly & in poor taste to air one's dirty laundry in any kind of public, even on a blog where not everybody knows your name. I promise you that I am completely sincere when I tell you that I pray that God will direct my heart to understand what I am supposed to do with regard to some of My Prince's family members, & their ways.

With the messy details omitted, I will tell you that my happy-to-be-alone-in-my-own-me-time high came crashing down around me when I got back home.

But. You know what I've realized? I may never have any kind of meaningful relationship with either of my parents-in-law. But what I do have is class. & dignity. & I have never taken anything but the high road when confronted with any of their ugliness. I vow to

the blog world,
my family,
& my own self

that I will NOT set an example of anything other than class&dignity, for Pretty Little Bare Feet.

(Are you wondering why this blog post is titled Book Clubbing? I promise I'm getting to that.)

I remembered, after we put Pretty Little Bare Feet to bed (& after I had a drink)...

I have a reputation to uphold.

Since August, I have attended EVERY SINGLE MONTHLY MEETING of my Book Club, & I have ALWAYS arrived having read the book, word for word, from beginning to end.

(I did change subjects rather abruptly, just so you know you're not confused. I told you I was A.D.D. I can't even stick to my so-called theme for this blog - I have to meander off into my own thoughts sometimes. Still, I promise I will return to the cooking you came here for.)

Yes, of course you're right. This book club reputation is a


thing to brag about - especially on a blog! But you know what? It makes me happy to know that it's true.

(I'm also happy that

I've never watched a full episode of American Idol, only snippets in sports bars, which should be ashamed they were playing it on the big screen;
I'm proud that my daughter has never been inside a Wal-mart;
& I won the county spelling bee in sixth grade.)

Back to book club...I do love to read. & much like my tastes in


I am convinced that my tastes are superior to everybody elses's.

(Please tell me you are the same way. Please tell me everybody feels this way, & I'm not the most pretentious snob ever for saying it out loud.)

This is completely contradictory to the fact that I become obsessive about a certain blog-brand-magazine-musician-or-TV-show, & am in fact in no way superior to anybody else that is just as obsessive about the same blog-brand-magazine-musician-or-TV-show, which is especially unnerving when I realize, say, that my fellow Lilly Pulitzer fanatic is also a "Twihard" (I shudder to type that) or, worse, a liberal.

(I hope by now you realize that I am only half the arrogant know-it-all that my anonymous, bold, blogger self assumes to be. While I do actually wrinkle my nose at the things I virtually wrinkle my nose at, I am an insecure perfectionist at heart. Who has a lot of admiration for a lot of liberals. & even one or two Twilight fans.)

Because of my "you can't be a non-conformist if you don't drink coffee" outlook on culture (which is so ironic, considering I subscribe to US Weekly), I have never thought I'd be interested in a book club, & certainly not a devoted member. I HATE bandwagons. I hate hype. It completely ruins it for me if

everybody I know,
& their sisters-in-law,
& their teenaged daughters,

are listening to it,
reading it,
watching it,

But the thing is, I've learned since joining my book club back in August, not that many people ARE reading it, even when they are professing that they are. I was appalled to learn that educated, intelligent women "skim" novels that they've willingly picked up to read! I have read a LOT of books, & I have not loved all of them. I have read books that I've wanted to chuck out of our car window after finishing. But I always finish & always read word-for-word. This may be neurotic. Or it may just be that some of my favorite books weren't decided for sure if they were going to be favorites until their endings were neatly - or sometimes not so neatly - tied up.

(For example, anything by Joshilyn Jackson, Michael Chabon, Michael Cunningham; or Life of Pi by Yann Martel...All excellent.)

I read fast (always have - but don't ask me to balance your checkbook unless you have a few hours). I enjoy reading. So I read often. One book a month for a book club is a fraction of what I read on my own. So I'm still picking out MOST of my own books. But I'd be flat-out lying if I didn't admit that some of the best books I've read recently have been book club picks that I might or might not would have otherwise ever considered reading.

(I probably would have picked up The Help by Kathryn Stockett at some point. I probably would not have picked out anything by Alexandra Fuller, whom I LOVED.)

So here I am, having earned my degrees & earned my freedom from reading lists & syllabi, & what am I doing, for not the first time in the last few months? I am staying up until midnight, if not later, to finish the book that will be discussed tomorrow morning at my monthly book club meeting.

& you know what? I may be the only one there besides the host. & even the host may not have read the book. & the ones that did read it may admit to skimming it. But the conversation usually doesn't stay on the book for very long no matter what, so my pride in having read it & finished it in time, (& in, as usual, having an opinion about it) is usually in vain. At least at that point in time.

BUT you know what took my mind off of all of the nonsense that brought my


outlook down?

My book club pick. Which is one of those I might or might not would have otherwise ever actually gotten around to buying&reading.

I think, to be fair to myself & my real, true love of books, I would do a disservice to my experience, & the author's work, not to devote separate blog entries to the individual books that move me.

But I will tell you that this month's pick is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. & maybe it's because

I've read most of it with my own canine soulmate, the White Dog, beside me;
or maybe it's because I've been convinced in recent years that cute Southern belles can, in fact, appreciate NASCAR
(it's true - but there is a definite fine line between the class of fan you'll find in each infield zone at Talladega - not everybody uses a monogrammed koozie);
or maybe it's just because I needed somebody else's well-written words to serve as a reminder that

life is short,
but life is good,
& you get out of it what you put into it.

Whatever the reason, I am suddenly, proudly waving my book club flag.

(Though I am STILL annoyed that it took Oprah's recommendation to get folks to appreciate Anna Karenina, Daughter of Fortune, Faulkner...)

So now, excuse me, I need to refill my drink & go finish my book.

I'll blog about noodles later, I promise.


  1. Oh girl I can feel your pain in handing in-law issues. I just wish people had fully told me that I wasn't just marrying my husband but his entire family. I have since learned to deal better with our issues after I read the book called Control Freak.

    Also wanted to say that I too love to be alone and having the opportunity to drive somewhere alone...dreamy!

  2. I just looked up that book...I think I may be adding it to my "to-read" list. Thanks! & thanks for reading! =)

  3. Hi, Sara, saw you on Twitter, so nice to meet another AL girl. Hope you'll drop by & see me at Southern Hospitality.

  4. Thank you for stopping by! Love your blog & love the recipes of yours that we have tried! =)

  5. I have a little something for you over at my place. Hope your having a great day! XOXO