Friday, June 29, 2012

Lesson 159: More Than Meets the Eye

It's funny what catches one's eye.  What may grab the attention of one person, another completely misses.  I got two anonymous comments about a photo I had on a recent blog.  Perhaps more of you noticed, and wondered about it.  Here it is:

No one asked about the age of the old horseshoe.  No one questioned why a Rolling Rock bottle was sitting up in the Lamp Post (I use it as a vase for my daisies, really). Two people asked about the doughnut.  That little white, round thing on the lower left side of the shot.  Eloise didn't indulge in a sugary treat to boost her creativity though.  It's a rock.

No, Kenyan.  It is not a petrified doughnut hole.  Those are in your house under Erik's bed.  You're the faster one.  I'm the neater one.  It really is a rock.  It's my favorite kind, too---the raw geode.

On the outside, the geode looks just like an ordinary, boring old rock.  This one does look like a powered sugar doughnut, Kenyan.  I'll give you that.  Just don't bite on it in a carb binge after a race or you'll crack your pretty teeth.  When you smash them open, usually with a hammer, they look like this:


I keep a few around the Lamp Post to remind myself that people are always more than meets the eye.  Someone may have a rough exterior, but when you crack through it, the inside is beautiful and sparkly.

This weekend's lesson is short and simple.  People are always more than meets the eye.  Take the time to dig a little deeper and get to know someone, otherwise you may never discover the beauty inside.

Take a look at the video in the post below.  Scroll down to Lesson 159:  Jonathan and Charlotte.  The story of this teenaged, Hurley look alike and his friend Charlotte goes along perfectly with this lesson.  The video is 7:31 seconds long, and I have assigned you to watch it in its entirety.  Therefore I'll keep today's reading part short.  It's all about balance, you know.

Hope your hearts are warmed all the way to Slovenia and back.

Lesson 159: Jonathan and Charlotte

Here they are.  Love them.  Never get tired of Simon's boredom either.  Idol isn't quite the same anymore without him.

Hope we are saying the same thing about the Today Show, minus Ann Curry!  I'll miss her terribly.  She got hosed.

Have a great weekend,

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lesson 158: It's a Jungle Out There (Photos)

Vacation Pictures from our Quest.  Scroll down for the blog.

Lesson 158: It's a Jungle Out There (blog)

Meet Columbus.  He's the newest member of our family.  You may recognize him at the Travelocity Gnome. 

He's been all kinds of cool places.  Snorkeling on "The Island."  Look for Hurley in the background:

To scope out the London Olympics:

Hitting the slopes:

And now, he's one of us.  Homey our Gnomey gets to hang with us all summer long, so keep looking for him in snapshots throughout the summer.  Unfortunately, he's already worse for the wear.  He got dinged up in my purse, most likely culprit, my camera lens.  Duct tape can repair just about everything.  Remember the Like Father, Like Daughter blog?  He'll be good as new next time you see him.

See the chip in the lower right side?

I picked him up for Ellen as a pre-zootrip surprise.  It seemed like a fun project for an 11 year old for the summer--photo journal of our travels with this gnome as the focus.  (Ellen collects gnomes).  We needed a name for him though.

Mother Eloise thought of Homey the Gnomey.  We also saw the movie Gnomeo and Juliet, so I thought Gnomeo would be a good consideration as well.  But Daughter #2 is turning out to be more like me than I originally thought.  She wouldn't settle for either of these.  Ellen kept thinking.

Well past Cleveland, she shouted from the back seat (while dodging random kicks and punches from her little brother), "Columbus!  We should name him Columbus!"

Mother Eloise needed a thorough, well thought out explanation, of course, and she passed her test with flying colors.  "Columbus is the city we are driving to, and Columbus was an explorer.  That is the perfect name."  I had to agree.  

We road tripped it to Columbus, OH to see the number one zoo in the country.  OH, Slovenians, stands for my neighboring state of Ohio.  It's a cool word because the word 'hi' is sandwiched in between two O's.  My uncle and cousins are from there, and one of the nation's most frustrating football teams--the Cleveland Browns.  At least my cousins have the zoo to brag about.

If you are in a five hour driving distance like we are, I would recommend the trip.  The zoo is beautiful and there is lots to see and do to keep you busy for a full, twelve hour day.  There is a water park in conjunction with the zoo and it proved to be a great place to cool off after hours of hoofing it around the zoo.

Staying in Columbus was fun for a couple of days.  They have a great Science Center to explore, too.  Getting there, however, was the biggest problem.

I thought I better explain the above photo that I put on the picture slide show.  If you looked closely and counted the fingers, you may have gasped.  My son is a ruffian, this I'll admit, but the gesture was innocent.  In his boredom, Sam was messing around with the wing window near his seat and pinched his finger in it.  Really.  

The rest of the trip was a mix of this, Happy Sam:

And this, Insane Sam:

I think the exact words he was screaming at the four hour point was "Get me out of this car!"  

I knew we were in for it when we pulled into the truck stop near the interstate, exactly 1.6 miles from The Lamp Post and Sam asked, "Is this the hotel we are staying at?"  Ellen and I exchanged glances.  She closed her eyes, shook her head slowly, and exhaled.  We were in for a Very.  Long.  Ride.

But we persevered.  We played the license plate game.  The alphabet sign game.  Did the sticker book.  Played I spy.  Listened to the Travelin' Tunes CD twice through, at times with the music up very loud.  But we made it.  It's all part of experiencing life as a child in the United States.  The summer road trip with your family.

We visited jungle vines in the recreated African landscape and returned home to the vines of grapes.  Eloise loved the experience, but it is always good to return home.  That's because it is where my heart is.

Jungle sized love,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lesson 157: Necessity, Father of all Invention

Happy Father's Day, Readers.  It's going to be a beautiful one here in the Great Lakes Region, USA.  Hope you are enjoying a nice day, too Slovenians.

The above picture slide show is dedicated to my Dad.  He has a multitude of nicknames, and I am sure you know him by one of them, but I'll just refer to him as Dad.  I set the photos to an old song, but a good one, Love Without End, Amen by George Strait.

The movie shows a peek at the plot of land due east of the Lamp Post.  My parents live next door to me.  In it you'll see some of my dad's inventions as well as his favorite things.  Some are a bit quirky and may need some further explanation, so scroll down to the next blog post for more information.

Enjoy the song.  I hope you spend your day with your dad or thinking about him.

Scroll down for details on today's lesson.  If you've ever met my dad, you won't want to miss this one.

Lesson 157: Father of all Inventions Explained

There he is.  That's my dad.  I cropped the picture to just show his eyes because it reminds me that he's always watching me.  He lives next door, you know.  He's not the picture taking kind of guy, so out of respect, I will not post the few full shots of him that do exist in my computer files.  Besides, my facebook profile looks kind of like this.  Just Eloise's eyes.  Like father, like daughter.

The blog post today honors some of the things Dad has made over the years.  A welder by trade, now retired, he has the tools to make metal stick together.  When you have that, all kinds of things are possible.  Opting for utility over aesthetics, my dad finds a use for almost anything.   In the barn you'll find a coffee can of old screws, big black ones with rusted heads.  The can has been around for decades like most of his stuff.  I remember it well.  His stubby fingers fished from that very can when he repaired my Barbie doll arm in 1976.  The conversation went something like this:

Eloise, age 5:  Daddy, my Barbie's arm fell off.  Can I have a new one?

Dad:  (scrunching up his face)  A new one?  Why do you NEED a new one?  We can fix this one.

Eloise, age 5:  (brightening in my naivete)  Really?  You can?

Dad:  Sure.  I just need to get something from the basement. hour and a half later......the man has his own timetable and refuses to be rushed.......

Dad:  (emerges from the basement, Barbie in hand)  There!  Here she is.  Good as new.

Barbie, in her one shouldered 1970's style hot pink evening dress was handed to me with a blackened thumb print across her abdomen.  A few stray ashes from his cigarette remained in her perfectly coiffed hair.  

Eloise, age 5:  (confused look on face).  Dad, what is that?---a black screw jutted out of Barbie's shoulder, connecting her arm to her collarbone.

Dad:  (sensing some disappointment)  What's the matter with that?  It's just a screw.  Put a different dress on her.  Doesn't she have a t-shirt or something?

Eloise, age 5:  No, Daddy.  Karen (Kenyan) and I are playing Miss America.  She has to wear the evening dress.

Dad:  Well when you get to the question-answer session, have Barbie say she was in Vietnam.  Tell the audience that's shrapnel.

Eloise, age 5:  What's shrapnel?

...a peek at the beginnings of my life with my father.

It is handy having him live next door.  He likes to remind me when it's garbage day.  He also likes to scold me when I put it out too early on a windy day and neglect to secure the lid and all my crap blows into his yard.  Dad's usually outside, and I can see him from The Lamp Post picking it up, grumbling.  That's when I know to lay low for awhile.

The man is always outside.  He gets crabby if he gets stuck indoors too long.  Like father, daughter.  That's why I took up outdoor forms of exercise.  The biggest form of exercise Dad gets though is stooping to pick up fallen branches from his heavily treed yard.   Often he puts them in the burn pile he uses to light fires out in his Pole Barn.  He calls the Parsonage.  This is it:

Vocabulary lesson:  Parsonage--noun, official residence provided by a church for its parson; a rectory.  

Parsonage?  Not quite.  The standing joke in my house is that Dad goes out there are prays to the Tool God every morning.  I thought of a better name for it.  I call it The Flame.  The Flame is actually the name of one of the Dharma Stations on my favorite TV show ever in life, LOST.  It's such a fitting name because this is what is inside.  The incinerator:

The incinerator is on the left.  He likes to burn any garbage he can along with sticks and twigs and old newspapers.  Those are my old stove burner grates attached the the side.  Why?  I am not sure, but I know they were just too good for him to throw away.  He created the term "upcycle."  The little thing to the right is his smoker.  I named it R2D2.  You can see the bucket of corn cobs sitting near it.  Dad smokes a mean ham come holiday time.  He also made a second smoker called a "cold smoker" that he smokes cheese in.  Aldi's sharp cheddar is my favorite.  The fan that is suspended from the rafters and that hood thing on the incinerator are part of a unit I named Sky Lab.  I think it has something to do with circulating heat.  Remember what I said earlier:  utility over aesthetics.

The pole barn has been around since I've been 8.  My property line is just 10 feet from the corner of it.  It is a cavernous area with more square footage than my house.  In it he has a collection of items organized into little areas or piles.  You can see the "scrap wood" area in the back of the above photo.  One of my nicknames for my dad is Squirrel.  That's one he can know about.  I have others.  He kind of has a way of finding things and piling them up much like a squirrel saves up nuts for the winter.  

He saves coffee containers:

Old rusted, ladles...never know when you might need one:

And various other odd tools he's collected over the years.  Many were salvaged from the old barn, built in 1861 that used to stand near that spot.  The barn collapsed under a heavy snow on Christmas morning of 1976 and is long gone, but the stone foundation is still behind The Flame.  He now calls this area The Warehouse.  It is the home for old toilets, scrap metal, and one wheeled bikes (because he used the other wheel to make something).

The Flame smells like a combination smoke and gasoline, two smells that remind me of my dad.  The Parsonage/Flame was actually his second out building. The first one was this one.  The Hideout:

He built this himself in the 1970's.  His first workshop.  Farmer Richter had to come and move it with his fork lift in 1998 to make room for my house.  My parents gave me a chunk of their property to build my house on, and the Hideout was sitting where my kitchen needed to be.  It found its new home nestled back in the trees and is a great storage unit for bikes and strollers.

This horseshoe hangs over the door.  Our property was once a horse pasture and over the years we've dug up several horseshoes.  If you hang one, you have to always orient it so the points are upward so your luck doesn't run out.
Like father, like daughter.  I liked that idea and found the horseshoe below when we dug the foundation for my house.  I had it hanging over my front door until one day it fell from its roost, nearly killing Eloise.  I forgot about hammering in a couple of securing nails.  It's new and safer resting spot is here with me up in The Lamp Post, points up so my luck doesn't run out.

Several years ago, the Garagemahal project was complete.  Dad had this beauty built to put their cars in, among other things.  I bought them the gold O you see in the center.

If The Flame is a museum for old tools, The Garagemahal is a showcase for his newer stuff.  In it he has displays of his favorites.  Here are some of them:

His jeep.  See me?

You'll spot my parents tooling around in it from time to time.  It's the one with the American flag sticker on the rear window, and the dog's head sticking out of the back.  My mother will be driving because my dad rarely drives.  He prefers to be chauffeured. 

The Garagemahal is organized into areas, showcasing his favorites--beer, the Pittsburgh Steelers, German flags, and trains.

Here's his shrine:

Like father, like daughter.  Here's mine:

 Eloise drinks Coke.  Dad hasn't had a Coke since he's been 12.  He loves another beverage, evident in his collections:

Mine is not so tough.  I only like one kind:

Like father, like daughter.

Although I have an issue with this next poster:

This is my favorite beer guy.  Sometimes when I write and make reference to my Dad, I use this picture.  

Welding trains in Building 10 for 42 years put me through college, where I learned to write.  Thanks, Dad.

 A picture of the GE Guys, circa 1970's.  Dad has on the red shirt and cool shades.

This, by far is my favorite piece.  It's my favorite because I gave it to him.

I found it while on a trail run last summer.  Eloise is 5'8", wears a size 9 1/2 shoe, and has a bladder the size of a walnut.  I can't make it through a run without stopping to pee.  For a girl, this can pose a bit of a problem.  Luckily, I found the perfect spot, off the road a bit, in the tall weeds under the Sumacs.  I'd stop at the same spot every time.  After a week or so, I detected a bit of a metallic sound as I did my business.  Girls ears are a bit closer to the ground when they wee wee.  When I kicked the dirt aside with the toe of my Mizuno, I saw metal!

Knowing that I am completely nuts as you all do, there is only one thing I could have thought:  I discovered the HATCH!  Only Losties would understand.  Rather than try to dig it up in one day, that hidden pee spot drew me back day after day.  It gave me fuel to get up and run--just to see what I'd discovered by my urnination  dedication.  Was it a treasure box?  A man hole cover to a secret, underground world?  (The mind of a creative writer can go a bit astray).  

I'd uncover a little more every day, and I eventually found this sign that once marked an entrance to a Harbor creek park.  After I dug up the first one, I found a second one beneath it.  Much like Boone and Locke on LOST, I'd do a little stealth work every day, and then cover my unearthing with branches and weeds so no one else would discover my find.  Remember this, Losties?  Still get a charge out of it just looking at the picture.  

So one sign I cleaned up and gave to him this past Christmas.  The other one, I gave to him as a project.  He's chipping away it a bit at a time.  Tim May, if you are reading this post, look the other way, Brother.  Finders Keepers.  

What I really wanted to give my dad for Father's Day was a new grill.  He deserves a shiny new one with the cook center.  All the man eats is meat and it would be put to good use.  I even got Kenyan to go halfsies on it with me.  Last obstacle was running it by my mother.  The conversation went something like this:

Eloise, now 41:  Mom, I have an idea for Dad for Father's Day.

Mom:  Beer.

Eloise, now 41:  Of course that, but something else, too.  How about a new grill?

Mom:  That would be nice, but the couple we have at home and the one at the cottage are still functional.  You know he won't like something new.

Eloise, now 41:  I know.  I know.  He'll say that he doesn't NEED it.  He likes his old, rusted out grills.

Here they are.  See the pile of sticks Squirrel made under the one on the left?

That's because he gutted one and cooks his steak over a wood fire.  

Look what he uses to catch the grease drips:

So, I listened to the wisdom of my mother, knowing in my heart that she is right.  He wouldn't like a new grill when his other three were perfectly functional.  Maybe someday, but not this year, Dad.  Instead I have your favorite thing chilling over in your garage refrigerator.  Don't worry.  I turned on the alarm system.  Some little turd got in there and robbed his beer refrigerator a couple of years ago.  Cleaned him out, but they left him one.  I thought it was pretty funny until they came and got mine the next week, along with two fishing poles and a pair of hip waders.  Word to the petty criminals:  I would not attempt this again.  The man is a genius with trip wires and lasers.  Don't mess with his beer, Man.

So cheers to you, Dad.  Enjoy your Father's Day.  I'll walk across the yard later and have one with you.  Mine will be in a green bottle though.  Like father, like daughter.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Lesson 156: Just Dance

Back to back big nights at the Lamp Post.  Ellen's little league team won the championship last night, and tonight is the girls' dance recital.

A friend of mine owns the studio where both girls take lessons. Ellen is the leader for Natalie's class which includes my girls and two young ladies with Downs Syndrome.  If you haven't ever had the chance to see a person with Downs Syndrome dance, you are missing out.  They love the attention and can bust a move.  How nice it would be to live that free from self consciousness!  How great that Keri's Dance Studio arranges classes for children with special needs.

A few years ago, Ellen was getting older and becoming more self aware.  Mother Eloise cautioned, "You know Ellen, there will be people in the audience tonight that may not know you.  Your name is listed in the program with all the kids with special needs.  Someone may think you are retarded.  Will that bother you?"  Ellen scrunched up her face and without a pause said, "If people think I'M retarded, then THEY are retarded."  That's muh-girl.  I am so proud of her for making something possible for her sister, that without her assistance, probably would not happen.

I picked J-Lo's new song Dance Again for the title more or less, and for the catchy beat.  Lyrics are questionable so Moms may want to give it a listen before you show younger children this one.  A cousin of mine from Ohio nicknamed me E-Lo.  I love it.  Someone gave me a nickname for once.  I am sure I have many less than flattering ones that I haven't heard---so just keep thinking them in your head, thank you.  I love J-Lo just because she's two years older than me and still a beauty.  She makes big hair and a butt to match stylish and enviable.  A photo of her taped to my bathroom mirror reminds me of that every morning. This is achievable, even in your 40's.

The photos are made up of random shots of little fluffy dresses and tap shoes from last night's dress rehearsal.  There are also old pictures of my daughters from past shows.  A picture is worth a thousand words they say.  I need 998 more to add to "time flies."

Enjoy your weekend, Readers.  Come for a visit, Slovenians.  The weather here at the Lamp Post is always best in June.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lesson 154: Shades of Grey--EY

The time has come.  Discussion begins.  Shades of Grey, of the "ey" variety, by E L James.  

Here's the Brit that's caused all the stir---or should I say arousal:

EL James's book has sold over TEN MILLION copies in paperback, ebook, and audio book (what the heck would an audio version be like?).  I have a paperback copy I purchased from Amazon in the beginning of May after a colleague who was reading the book made reference to it.  This picture appears on the back cover.  I found myself flipping to the back countless times, speaking to the photo as if she could hear me.
  • What the heck, chick?
  • Good God, Girlie.
  • I don't know if I would have chosen that shirt for the photo shoot......
When I read a book, I usually spend as much time researching the author as I do actually reading the book.  Every story is in some way connected to its author, and I found myself wanting to know as much as I could about this woman whose story turned her into an overnight millionaire.

She writes under a pen name, too.  Erika Leonard is her real name.  Wikipedia and the few other sites I looked at didn't list an age, but given that she's been married for 20 years and has two teenage sons, she looks to be my age-ish.  Wikipedia also noted that she was listed in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.  Really?  From writing an erotic novel?

I found out she worked in TV, and couldn't escape the fact that Erika has two teenaged sons.  I want to ask her, "So, how's that goin'?" I am sure my school friends can't get past my line in the first paragraph, a colleague made reference to it.  They are going to have a tough time guessing which one as I travel around to all five schools in my district.  I can almost hear the #2 sharpened graphite scratching out lists of possibilities on left over 2011-2012 school issue tablet paper now.  Could be anyone.  However, I did give this person a great new nickname, which was so good I had to share it with her (if you are a good sleuth, you just X'ed off the guy teachers because I just wrote HER).  

In my research I found out some really cool things.  E L James was a Twilight fan.  So much so that she was a participant in Fanfiction and had her own blog under the name Snowqueens Icedragon (?????).  For those of you unfamiliar with Fanfiction, it is a site where stories are written about characters apart from their original works.  For example, I could write my own version of the Ending of Lost, and freely put it on that site in blog form, with no hopes of ever publishing it.  I am sure the legalities of it are complex.  Just a quick look see left me confused.  Only being able to read one out of every five words told this teacher that I didn't pick my "just right book" so I quickly clicked off of that section.  I guess it is a safe place for writers to explore their creativity with characters like Harry Potter.  It also protects the original creators of those characters from anyone destroying their work.

Apparently E L James/Snowqueens Icedragon had a thing for Twilight.  So much so that she wrote something called Master of the Universe which used Bella and Edward as the main characters.  Here it is:

It appeared on a blog called Twilighted, and it was put up chapter by chapter using the input of followers.  I checked the link now, and all material has been removed.  It took some digging for me to find that picture above, so you'll have to trust me if you don't want to put the time into it.  In this story, Edward was portrayed as controlling and stalkerish.  Bella the awkward and innocent, yet totally in love, young woman.  It became the basis for the book Shades of Grey.

I found an interview on line with Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight.  She was asked how she felt about her characters Edward and Bella being the root of the story for 50 Shades of Grey.  Meyer admitted that she had not read the book but wished E L James good luck.  Stephenie Meyer was quoted in saying "Obviously she had a story in her, so it would've come out in some other way" (if not as part of fanfiction).  Meyer knows from personal experience that there is at least one story in all of us that needs to be told.  But only a few of us have the ability to write it in a way that others would want to read it.

Meyer always refers to herself as a storyteller rather than a writer.  I must agree there is a difference.  Writers have more skill and hone their craft to perfection.  Storytellers connect better with a wider audience and are often more entertaining.  I sort of align myself with the former, and I think my readers will agree.  I am sure you find all of my typos.

I don't always read my blogs back before hitting "publish".  I hit spell check, but spellchecker doesn't have the brains to pick up correctly spelled words that are misspelled within the context of a sentence.  Once in a blog post over a year ago, I found that I typed the word untie when I actually meant to write unite.  I laughed when I read how it changed the context of the sentence.  A pin on pinterest even exists about this.  Look:

Choo!  Choo!  That freight train of a brain of mine just pulled out of the station.  The word untie reminded me of 50 Shades.  There's a fair share tying to read about in between the covers---of the book I mean.

Quit blabbing, Eloise!  I can hear my sister Kenyan now.  She wants to know what Big Sister thinks.  She wants to know if it is worth the read.  What she really wants is my copy with all the hi-lighted good parts and dog eared pages.  Sorry, Kenyan.  It's gone.  Had to get it out of my house as quickly as possible.  I have nosy children you know.  In fact, it is already in route to A Friend Who Shall Not Be Named.  When she receives it from the Jolly Postman later this week, it will look like this, gift wrapped just for her:

Yep.  That's a necktie I tied it up with.  An ugly snowman one.  They are mysteriously disappearing from my house one by one.  A Friend Who Shall Not Be Named needs a reminder of what snow looks like anyway.  (Who's getting it next, Super Sleuths?)  Get your brain working.  It will get the blood flowing.

If you do read this book though, blood flow will not be your problem.  My blood was flowing, that's for sure, along with some other bodily fluids including sweat, tears, and a few profanities.  Yep.  Bad words because the book ticked off Eloise.  I got so irritated with the main character a couple of times I actually flung the book across the room.  As it hit the wall and landed upside down on the floor crumpling the pages, I half hoped that the impact would knock some sense into Ana and the life out of Christian.  Then I remembered this:

Whew.  Thanks for the reality check, Pinterest.

I like to read just about anything.  Children's literature is always in my stack on my bedside table.  But my favorites are the mysteries with some action involved.  I love it when things blow up, people get run over, or someone is standing in the crosshairs and I have to find out who is behind it all.  This was a different kind of read for me.

"Good.  You need it.  You're boring."  That was Kenyan my sister telling me once again to lighten up.  She's trying to tell me my inner goddess needs some work.

I read it Kenyan, but  Shades of Grey did not light up my inner goddess which had to be the most overused expression in any book I've ever read to date.  In fact, it ignited my inner angry.  This book got Eloise all pissy.

Most of you liked it, so you'll be pissy with me when I dis some parts here in the next few paragraphs.  Free country comes with free speech.  Hope you worked that into your Constitution, Slovenians.  I can safely say many of you liked it from the responses from my friends.  I can also tell by the sheer amount of pinterest pins that exist which are related to this book.  Here are a few:

Ok, somebody likes him--1,232 repins on this one tells me so.

This one is kind of funny.  Could be possible.  I had a Y2K baby.  Her name is Ellen.

Some are looking for him.  Best of luck to you.

Nap time has gotten a little more interesting for the Stay At Home Mommies:

It's not the whole twitchy palm, playroom, six page descriptions of things that I didn't think a person could find so many words for.  That was fine for me.  I read at night and in the beginning those sections kept me awake.  But after awhile, after the sixth time the deed was done, I became bored with them I guess.  Many a time I woke up with the book on my head having fallen asleep at one of the "good parts."  Too much of a good thing, I guess.  To each his own.  No judgment from Eloise if you like that kind of stuff.  What bugged me the most was the control issue.

Maybe a control freak would like this book.  Perhaps find some sort of intrigue about one person having so much control, and the other person so willing to turn it over.  It was bewildering to me and left me yelling at Ana to run for the hills.  You're college educated!  You're cute!  You can do better than this!  A Blackberry, a lap top, and a closet full of clothes aren't worth it!  (well, on second thought, maybe not the closet full of clothes...)

What's better, you ask me?  Better meaning someone who loves you and doesn't want to hurt you kind of better.  I am a fan of the love that comes gently and slowly.  A love that comes softly over time, like a pretty daisy that grows from the seed that was planted long before.   The always wondering, he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not kind of sweet love.  Not the hard and fast kind that shows up wearing handcuffs.

The writing is not bad.  I'll give it that.  I don't like reading a ton of dialogue or about flirting.  That is why the Twilight series has been a struggle for me.  But E L James strikes a good balance between description and conversation. The book is better than I thought it was going to be.

My favorite parts were the emails.  This shows the writer has talent.  She not only had cleverness to weave that into the story, but was cute with some of the titles of the subject boxes.  We learned lots about Ana and Christian shown through their own writing in the emails.  Cyberflirtation at its finest.  The one on page 400 is very good and tells a lot about Christian through his writing.  Very good E L James.  Very good.

The end was tough for me, however.  I wish the story would have ended there.  But E L James was in TV before this career took off--writing or producing I believe.  She knows just how much to give out, but not too much, because to keep her employed, you have to "tune in next time."  At this, James is a master and it just made her a millionaire.  The book leaves us curious about Christian's past.  What happened to him during those first four years of his life that went on to sway his decisions as a fifteen year old boy?  In turn, that leaves us all not just needing to "tune in next time", but BUYING 2 more books!  We helped buy that ugly shirt she has on in her photo.

And it's not like you can go check them out of the local library.  The librarians across the country have their panties in a bunch over this one (funny mental picture, must jump off that train to save this blog post).  Issues of censorship have arisen again.  Most libraries that are concerned and not allowing these books on their shelves have stated that they are preventing children from reading them.  According to a recent New York Times article, the Floridians down in the Brevard Country Library System are in a heated debate in that hot state chock full of visiting college students and Viagra laden retirees.  The Wisconsonians in the Fond de Lac  Library System have taken a hard stance and have refused to purchase any copies. You've got to buck up the $10 to get your own copy.

What didn't I like about the end?  Obviously the physical violence didn't sit too well with me.  It's hard for me to write because I don't want to give the story away to those of you who haven't read it yet.  In fact, this whole post has been difficult--how much to say, how much to hold back?  I don't want to post a SPOILER ALERT on this, so I'll show you what I've done.

The teacher took it upon herself to complete one of her own assignments.  I wrote an alternate ending for the book.  I've given this very assignment to my students a time or two--especially if they complain about a book's final pages.  As you can see, I retitled the book because of it.

I registered for an account on Fanfiction today.  It's a place for nerds like me to display their creativity, I guess.  Don't believe me?  Here's the proof:

eloise hawking,

Welcome to the FanFiction.Net community.

To activate your account, please click on the following link or paste the link
into your browser:

I clicked the link and I am all set up....just in case I decide to do it.  It's all written and ready to go, but I haven't decided if I'll actually post it.  Eloise is a thinker and pokey by nature, so I'll let you know when and if I put up 51 Shades of Grey.

When I do, it is bound to circulate.  Blogger has this cool feature where I can track my stats.  Within the first hour of putting up my Lesson 153:  Shades of Gray (with the intentional misspelling) I had 60 hits in the first hour alone, including one from the Slovenians!  Look.  I copied this from my blogger stats page where I track my hits.  I can't wait to see how the other posts do.

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Did you ever have to eat your own words in life?  How did they taste?  Let me know because I'll be eating shovelfuls of mine as I now must read the other two books.  I yapped at everyone who quit reading the Hunger Games because they found it disturbing.  "It's a STORY", I'd say.  "You have to finish it through to see how the story ends!  You can't just quit!"  I was so insistent.  So adamant!  Me and my big mouth!  Open wide, Eloise!  Got to take a big bite of humble pie. At least it will make for some interesting blog posts in the near future------and I can put off reading War and Peace for yet another summer.  Alrighty then.  I got some work to do.

Laters, Baby,


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