Saturday, December 11, 2010

On Collecting

Over Thanksgiving I went to visit the family and stayed with my parents. I ended up carting back two giant boxes of Barbies that I collected in high school and college. I was honestly hoping that they'd stay on the shelf at my parents until the end of time, but I was living a fantasy.

So, I hauled them back and kept them in the garage for two weeks until I had time to figure out where to put them. I'm at the point where I just want to take them out of the boxes and throw them in the Big Barbie Carry-all (okay, it's a Rubbermaid box) of the dolls I did play with. None of the dolls that I "collected" were high end ones with the exception of the King Arthur and Guinevere dolls (along withe Romeo and Juliet, part of the ironic "Together Forever series). Even those, comparatively, aren't high end.

When I first bought these dolls, most of them reproductions of the first Barbies, I took them out of the boxes. That's half the fun of these things, being able to take them out! But of course, the money is in keeping them in a box on a shelf somewhere. And in the interests of cleanliness (dusting is a pain), I packed them back in their boxes. Where they sat for ten years.

So, now I take a look at them. Tonight, in fact. And what do I find? Decayed elastic. Dust in the boxes, in a cosmic joke just to say, "See, you have to dust the doll anyway!" Box or not. And I go on E-bay. Guess what? Not shockingly, reproduction dolls aren't in big demand.

Of course, my joy in collecting them was not in the value they may or may not gain in time. Look at the Beanie Baby craze! All that money spent on beans and fabric that you can't give away at Goodwill.

Boxes tear over time; seams rip. Fabric fades and elastic decays. The usefulness of the item is now lost, and what joy did I get from the item? I can go back and point out other items I've "collected"--those My Little Ponies of about six years ago, got tons of those. All that Star Trek stuff, hundreds of dollars of ephemera that has long been sent off to a friend after an effort to clean out my house. That never-completed Enterprise model that I so desperately wanted. The Wesley Crusher action figure. That one hurts to admit. That Transformers toy. Had to have that one. Why? Oh, and I can't forget the Breyer Horse models from high school as well. (Those were replaced on the shelf by the Barbies.)

Am I enjoying them now? No. I can honestly say that the only things I still actively collect are my Donald Duck items (I can so identify with him and his irritated attitude!) and my American Girl dolls. That last collection has been the most enduring for me, having begun when I was 11 years old with the now-retired Samantha doll. I still buy things for them, and most importantly, I ENJOY them. They are not fads, like the others.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily is the sixth (I think, I've lost count) in Lauren Willig's romance/chick-lit/mystery series that follows a series of spies named after flowers. The action has decamped from the British Isles and has arrived in India during the Napoleonic Era.

Lady Frederick Staines, born Penelope Deveraux, has found herself and her husband sent to India after their forced marriage. Neither is really fond of the other, but she must follow her husband, Lord Wellesley's special envoy to Hyderabad. They are escorted by Captain Alex Reid, who has spent his entire life in India. Suffice it to say, they run into danger, death threats, snakes, people who look like snakes, adultery, twisted family relationships, and more stupid flowery spies.

I'm going to be honest. I bought this book off the bargain pile. In fact, I have bought the entire series off the bargain table. I had bought this one full price, but God told me that I was being stupid because I got home and found out that the book's binding was severely damaged. So I took it back. And guess what I found on the bargain table? That's right. This book. This infuriating book.

I don't get the title, because there is no Blood Lily involved, just a French spy called The Marigold. Then there's an Indian spy called Frangipani. In fact, Blood Lilies are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, not India. I'm just tired of the spies. How long is this going to go on? It has ceased being creative and has now turned to a joke. "I wonder what flower is going to be used next? Ha ha."

Willig seems to have hit the "spy as romantic hero" trend on its way down. It's tired. It has been done. A lot. In fact, these books shouldn't even be hardback but straight to mass market due to the quality.

And I'm especially tiring of Eloise and Colin's love story that has been the thread among all these books.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Liveblogging New Moon

Yesterday was my friend's kid's seventh birthday, and it was Twilight themed. Now, if you read my review of Twilight, I didn't care for it. It took me three months to read. But yesterday I watched the movie, quite willingly, for the second time. The hilarious part was when the kid kept taking her Twilight Barbie dolls and manipulating them along with the movie. She did slack off about half-way through, in which I was resorted to drastic measures by throwing things at the dolls to make them leave the scene.

2:00 Dream Sequence: Uh, Bella, that's not your gran. That's YOU. I got it way before you did. And I know what scares you.... not that you'll age and Edward won't, but that you'll look like that.

3:15 Romeo and Juliet: You're a senior in high school and you're just now reading this? What is Forks High School, severe remediation?

5:00 The color is WAY better in this movie. Bella must have been out in the sun because she's not as pale, and neither is Edward. What is that? Edward cracked a smile? Still needs a haircut, though. But, considering he's dead, his hair shouldn't grow, right? And I can see that the tangerine lip stain has been replaced by coral.

8:10 Jasper still has the broody "Humans are tasty" look.

8:40 Forget the vampires. Who cries when watching Romeo and Juliet? And that teacher who quotes along with the movie is Lame. I'm not saying that I don't quote along with movies, because I do. But I quote cool movies, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Oh, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. For example:
"I thought you were the Scarlet Pimpernel. "
"I could never presume to fill those shoes. I lack sufficient courage."
"I have yet to meet a more courageous, or a more handsome, cavalier."
I wonder how many times Edward has watched/read this story.

10:00 Tangerine lip stain is back. Thanks, Edward. And how cliched to quote the movie.

12:00 Edward, you have told the vampire secret and killed another vampire. I'm thinking the Voltari are going to come after you and rip your head off. Oh, if wishes were dollars....
Predictably, like a nut, Bella wants to be changed.

13:45 The vampires have discovered bronzer! They're not so pale! Emmett seems to be so human with the purchase of a good car radio. Oh, and nothing like a good vampire fight! No, it's a LOT of blood, Alice. Oh, and I know what's going to happen now. Edward will think it's his fault, go all passive aggressive and think that it's better off that he leaves, and Bella will be mooning about most of the rest of the movie.

And to think: I could be writing lesson plans!

18:00 Cue the regrets.

20:00 .... And he's not at school. Instead, he's at Bella's house, rooting around in her room for something. Oh, this can't be good. He wants them to take a walk! Oh, that's the death knell of the relationship right there. Walks never bring good news. Edward is obviously using the "Carlisle looks too young" excuse to break up with her. In the world of plastic surgery, Carlisle can botox those wrinkles away. I'd be more worried about Esme's looks staying the same.

23:30 And this is where Bella stars moping for the next hour. Edward, you can't break up with someone, ask them not to be reckless, and then say you'll never see her again, for her own sake. She's 18, Edward, she won't understand. This is the end of her world. She's going to listen to today's version of Alanis Morisette for hours in her room, stop washing her hair, and start to physically resemble the zombie she feels like inside. Better off faking your own death, dude. Or actually do it. you know you're bored with high school. You've graduated 20 times. At best, you're an illegal alien because you have no social security number, and you died in 1918 of the flu.

27:00 Shirtless Indian finds Bella. Brings her home. Jacob looks pissed off. Hey, but at least Edward's gone, mate. Now you have a chance. It's Halloween and Bella is dressed up as a zombie.... oh, wait. Nope. She's just depressed. And she's been sitting in her room, in the same spot for months. Time passes by, and it's December, and she's still sitting in the same chair. Now she's back at school. Now she's having nightmares. And receiving Undeliverable Mail notices from Alice's e-mail account.

30:45 Charlie wants her to go to Jacksonville to be with her mother because she's going through vampire withdrawal. So she's goes to a movie with a friend about zombies, and the friend wonders if it's a parallel for leprosy or consumerism or man's need to fit in or about the zombie apocalypse? Because we need to be worried about those zombies. And now Bella's going to do something reckless because Edward told her not to in her head, and she wants to see Edward, so she's going to do reckless things just to see his face. There's got to be a pill for that.

37:00 Yep. Stupid and reckless. And you're playing with Jacob, which upsets me. And his hair? Nicer than mine. I'm against that. Though I do love how Jacob turns everything into a Red/White issue. The repartee seems to be much more witty than in Twilight.

43:00 Bella finds something reckless to do--cliff-diving! Woot woot!

45:00 Here's where I'm having issues with Edward's "you'll never see me again"--it was a lie. Every time she's reckless, she sees him. What a crock! It's passive-aggressive behavior at its height! He's not helping her. As long as he keeps showing up when she's being reckless, she's going to continue being reckless. When you stop showing up, she's going to realize it's not going to help, being reckless to see you! Stop it!

50:00 Face Punch has to be the worst movie ever. After the one I'm watching , that is. (And don't hold Bella's hand.)

55:00 I bet Jacob's going through that change-of-werewolf time. It's a time that every young pup must go through on his way to becoming an adult werewolf-shapeshifter thing. When you have your "change", you cut your hair off, get an awesome tatt, and cut your jeans off so you have long shorts. Poor Bella, everyone is pushing her away! And stop e-mailing Alice!

1:01:00 That vampire dude is back. I don't know his name, the one with the dreds. He's right! He left you behind unprotected! At least it would be a better death than if Victoria killed her. Go ahead, let him kill you! Damn. The werewolves had to come out, ruin all my fun.

1:05:00 Werewolves are awesome.

1:10:00 who wants a vampire when werewolves are SO AWESOME? Vampires are all broody and depressed but werewolves get it done.

1:16:00 The truth is out about Victoria and that she's after Bella. Not missing Edward right about now. :) And stop e-mailing Alice! And just when I think Bella is getting over Edward, she cliff-dives.

1:26:00 I'm with Jacob. If James could totally trick Bella in Twilight, then Victoria could make her think the Cullens are back in town! Go with the hunky, brave, open werewolf, Bella! He's got a tan! Edward is too broody! And pale!

Alice finally got an e-mail. Maybe if she checked her email instead of relying on faulty psychic images, she'd know Bella didn't die.

1:32:00 Might I say that Jacob is brilliant? He's about to kiss Bella and guess who calls? Edward. Who is supposedly never going to go back to Bella but keeps warning her anyway, using his passive-aggressive personality to keep her tied to him. So, Jacob says that Charlie is too busy arranging a funeral and hangs up! Of course, Edward is going to think it's Bella's funeral. And it's not!

1:33:00 Edward wants to die now. Oh, I see. Romeo and Juliet. And Bella's not really dead. Wow. That's a subtle parallel.

1:37:30 The townspeople are chanting "Imhotep." I swear it! That's what all crowds chant! "Imhotep! Imhotep!"

Edward! Put that shirt on! Nasty! Where's Jacob when you need him?

1:44:00 The Volturi. Boring. Flashes of Cedric Diggory's death.

1:50:46 How stupid.

1:53:48 Sap sap sappy. Maple trees sappy. And WTH with the voting to become a vampire? I think they should go to couple's counseling. He's obviously against her decision, and to have this animosity around for the rest of forever isn't good for their relationship.

This ending sucked. A lot.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Creative Keepsakes Sampler

This design is by Joy Hall and was called "Creative Keepsakes". I found it languishing in my mom's craft book collection.

This is the main sampler. There were two more designs of smaller, companion samplers that I do not have plans for at the moment.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rose of Sharon Finished!

I actually finished this project at the end of February, but better late then never! I really loved this project, but I am glad to have gotten it done!

The Hazards of Hunting a Duke by Julia London

I remember first reading Julia London's "The Rogues of Regent Street" series in college, when they were first published in 2000. I really liked those books, so I moved on to the "Highland Lockhart Family" series, which I liked, but not as much. (I have issues with the heavy-handed use of the Scottish accent, as if I couldn't figure out they were Scottish without it.) Then London moved into contemporary fiction, and I moved on to other authors.

So, when I was at the bookstore looking for something to read--and having read through the new releases I had wanted--I turned to an old favorite to see if I would like her new series, "The Desperate Debutantes." The name of the series itself should have told me, "run away!" because who wants to be around someone desperate? And that there's more than one desperate debutante as well!

In fact, the book is filled with desperation. Ava Fairchild is desperate to find a husband after her mother's death leaves her and her sister destitute. The Marquis of Middleton is desperate for a wife that isn't the one his father chose for him. His father, the duke, is desperate for his son to man up and have an heir for the dukedom that will one day be his.

London attempts to bring humor into the book, but it falls a bit flat and slapstick. In a bid to get a suitable husband on a shoestring, Ava and her sister need to run a household with cheap servants. They go to the poor house to find servants whom they can't pay but are willing to house. Case in point, p. 67:
They had also managed to retain Mr. William Pell and his son, Mr. Samuel Pell, who had both been injured in a horrible carriage accident. Mr Pell the senior had lost a leg and therefore could no longer light lamps, as was his profession. HIs son, an apprentice, had a mangled arm that hung at a strange angle on his left side. But between the two of them, they managed to make one fairly decent footman.
Not only is the description lackluster, but the last line fell flat.

Both Ava and the Marquis enter their union knowing that the marriage was one of convenience. But, as this is a romance novel, feelings change and this is the plot that carries the book. The book is full of misunderstandings, not just between Ava and her new husband, but between her husband and his father.

Desperation, Misunderstandings, and Daddy Issues give this book a C.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home in Carolina by Sherryl Woods

I've been a bad, bad blogger with not posting all year! But now that the school year has ended and I'm on summer vacation, maybe I can eek out a few posts between now and August!

I recently read Sherryl Woods's Home in Carolina, part of her Sweet Magnolias series. The story is set in the fictional town of Serenity, South Carolina and the main characters are the children of some of her Sweet Magnolias characters. Ty and Annie had been best friends since childhood and destined to be together, until he cheats on her with a baseball groupie. Devastated, she cut Ty out of her life, until he comes back to Serenity to recover from a sports injury and to win her back.

Seems like a straight-forward romance novel plot. There's the deception, the trust issues, and the happy ending. But the book is filled with subplots and too many ancillary characters.
1. Ty and his injury
2. Ty and the custody issue over his son from his groupie relationship
3. Annie's friend Sarah and her divorce
4. Annie's friend Raylene and her abusive situation
5. Helen, the divorce attorney, and her mother's relationship
6. Is Annie's anorexia coming back

The story is told from too many points of view, though primarily Ty, Annie, and Helen. Everyone has their two cents to put in. Annie's parents, Ty's parents, the other Sweet Magnolias... there's an awful lot of talking in this book and very little action. Every one tells Ty to cut Annie slack, he betrayed her, she's delicate, she has a point... but the entire book comes off as an Annie pity party. Yes, Ty screwed up. But sheesh.

I really have no desire to read the other five books that are in the series, especially if the others are as convoluted and "talky" like this one. D.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rose of Sharon Update!

I am so close to done with Mirabilia's Rose of Sharon that I can taste it.

Maybe by the end of February?