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Midweek with a Movie Review

How is it Thursday? This week is FLYING by. I last posted on Tuesday and really wanted to get back into the swing of any everyday post, but not happening. The good news is that we’ve made it over the mid-week hump and I’ve actually managed to get some running in.

Tuesday – no running to speak of. I’m pretty sure that was the day I attempted to run in the morning before work (a plan my husband laughs at whenever he hears it), but of course I just hit snooze instead. Seriously people – how do you do it? Unless I am meeting someone, I just can NOT seem to get up and run. It could have to do with the fact that a morning run for me means running at 5:45 a.m., which to my mind is CRAZY early. If I could run at 6:30, things might look a little different. But because of my work schedule, it has to be that early. ARGH!

So seriously – tell me your early morning running tricks. I think next time I may try sleeping in my running clothes. I believe this might instill a more pronounced sense of guilt if I’ve worn the clothes and done all the prep, only to hit the snooze five times. We’ll see how that works out for me. Other tips?

So because  I did not get my lazy arse up on Tuesday morning (or Wednesday), I decided to squeeze my run in before our book club meeting Wednesday evening. I fueled up with a decent lunch and then ate an early dinner of leftovers from Tuesday night.

Brown rice, chicken, grape tomatoes, mushrooms and carrots with low sodium soy sauce. It made for decent pre-run fuel on Wednesday afternoon as well.

After work I begrudgingly hit the gym treadmill for four quick miles before book club. An outside run would have been ideal, but not realistic given my time constraints.

Run done – feeling better, I headed to our book club meeting which happened to at a movie theater this time around (we usually meet at a restaurant that coincides with our book theme) to see The Help. I actually read The Help awhile ago and you can check out my book review here.

I will say upfront that I RARELY like a movie even half as much as the book. So I was a little surprised when halfway through the movie, I found myself enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the book better. But the movie did not make me want to scream insults or get up and leave. And before you say it sounds like I really didn’t like it. I truly did. I just won’t ever give a movie as much credit as a book, no matter how well-scripted and acted it is. The movie reel in my mind that goes along with the book is always 10 times better.   

Anyway…it was good. I love Emma Stone (like in a serious girl crush kind of way) and I think I’ve seen just about every move she’s been in. I do need to see the other new one she is in with Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling though – it’s on my list.

To summarize this travesty of a movie review, I will finish by saying it’s a good movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thought the acting was great and I recommend it.

So now it’s Thursday evening and it’s time for what I hope will be a delightful run in exceptionally tolerable weather, a delicious dinner (there may be corn-on-the-cob on the menu), perhaps reading a bit of The Hunger Games (just started it, sooooo good), and then if I’m being completely honest…probably some Jersey Shore. 🙂 Have a great night all!

Things I Will Accomplish Today!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like my days and weeks are flying by at lightning speed. How did it get to be 7 p.m. last night and I was still at work? How did I not cross as many things off my to-do list as I had planned? Can we please hit the pause button? Or give me just a few more hours in the day? Not to mention that I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. last night! Hubby was actually making fun of me. But I couldn’t help it.

So – to start Thursday off with some strategy, I’ve devised my list of things I want to accomplish today. It’s just a short little thing. Haha. 

  • Writing this work article that has been hanging over my head (and a bazillion other things I need to get done at work today)
  • Leaving work at the appropriate time today (5:00 p.m.!)
  • RUNNING no matter what the weather or how tired I am
  • Unpacking my weekend bag from last week
  • Packing my weekend bag for this week
  • Making dinner (yet to be determined what – likely something super easy…maybe even soup)
  • Vacuuming (you could probably make a sweater with the Murph hair on his favorite chair)
  • Watching Grey’s Anatomy and Jersey Shore (yeah I admitted it)

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do all this…but I’m giving it a shot. I figured if I wrote out a nice little list and got to cross things off on the blog (such fun), then they will be more likely to happen. 🙂 In my extended 26 hour day, I’d also like to paint my nails and finish reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (say that 10 times fast) because it’s turning out to be a great book – but let’s not get crazy here.

And lastly, the other thing I’m doing today is posting my book recap of Bel Canto! Here it is – have a great day! What’s on your to-do list?

Bel Canto

By: Ann Patchett

I’m still not sure about this one. Have you ever read a book where you are a bit wary of where things are going the whole time? I wondered with this one. I kept waiting for the story to really start, but little did I know that it had already started and I was fully immersed in it.

So what’s the plot overview, you ask? Well, it takes place somewhere in South America. There is a party at the home of the country’s vice president. The party is in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. They have invited Mr. Hosokawa’s favorite opera singer, Roxanne Coss, to sing at his party—meaning he cannot refuse the invite. They are hosting this party because they want the Japanese business man to invest in business in their country.

From there, the story really begins when a band of rebel fighters invades the party and holds the entire group hostage. They thought the president of the country was to be in attendance, but he was not. From there, the rebels’ plan goes awry and they have to revise their strategy.

I can’t say too much more than that about the plot because I’d be giving away the highlights of the book—although at the time, I didn’t realize they were the highlights.

This book was different from most other novels I’ve read. I really hadn’t a clue where this was going. I mean there were a few different scenarios running through my head, but I was pretty off. It is a story that really focuses more on how the people cope in this situation than it does the situation. The situation plays a big role, but that’s not the point.

I won’t lie to you and say I loved this book. It had its slow moments. I did not fly through it. And I found myself frustrated with the pace at times. But I think that is sort of what Patchett wants you to feel. She is trying to bring you into the hostages’ world and how slowly it moves.

Maybe I would have gotten into this book if I had connected with the characters more. For some reason, I just didn’t absorb and click with their personalities. However, it’s not for lack of personality. The main characters certainly had them. Perhaps that was the reader’s flaw in not opening up enough to them.

Lastly, I want to warn you about the ending. I didn’t like it. I actually got to the end and kept double-checking that I hadn’t missed pages or that there weren’t more somehow hidden. That couldn’t be the ending I told myself. It was. And I was not happy. Not that I need a “happy ending” by any means. I just need an ending that makes sense to me. This one did not. Maybe that was Patchett’s goal—to have the reader asking “how did that happen?” But it also left me saying: I won’t be running out to buying another book written by Ann Patchett. Sorry.

Finally Friday and Finally A Book Review

Happy Friday all!! I was pretty busy at work this week, but the first week back after vacation is always rough and it seems to have taken years to get to Friday. Thank goodness it’s here!!

So far I am doing pretty well with my half marathon training plan. I headed to the gym yesterday after work because they skies were looking ominous and when I was about a block away from the gym is started pouring! It was insane here. The floor of the women’s locker room at the gym actually flooded a little bit. But I ignored the minor flood and hopped on the treadmill for a quick three miles in 26:26. Don’t worry – there was no water near my machine. 🙂

The skies were clear when I emerged from the gym after my run, so it worked out perfectly.

This weekend we have no major plans. It’s going to be the last weekend that Hubby and I will have together for a while because of conflicting travel schedules. So low-key sounds perfect.

Before I leave you on this fine Friday, I offer you a little book review that is looong overdue. Here you go – enjoy – and have a great weekend!

Once a Runner

By: John L. Parker, Jr.

I have to first tell you how I came to select this book. I was spending my lunch-hour browsing around Borders downtown. I had stopped in to pick up a specific book and then the comfort and expansiveness of Borders sucked me and I started lingering in the Fiction/Literature section (always my drug of choice). As I slowly walked from shelf to shelf reminiscing over previously read and much-loved books, and eyeing some new release here and there, a book on a shelf just above my head caught my eye and seemed to jump out at me. The cover had the outline of runner. I stopped. Reached up. And pulled down “Once a Runner.”

Not all that strange you say? Well, it just so happened that I was going through a little running rut at the time and had been struggling to force myself to get back into a running routine after my last marathon. The title described exactly how I felt: I was “once a runner,” but wasn’t so sure anymore. I felt that fate had placed that book in my line of sight, so I bought it.

I didn’t get around to reading it for quite some time, however. I think because I knew I’d feel a little guilty once I dove in. And I did. The narrator of the book, Quenton Cassidy is a collegiate runner at fictional Southeastern University and he is hard-core. Even my 20-mile pre-marathon training runs don’t stack up next to this runner’s training.

Admittedly, I felt like a lesser runner almost immediately. Chalk it up to my running rut circumstance or my less than speedy times, but it seemed that Quenton was there to show me what a real runner was—and that wasn’t me. I think this made me a little resistant to the book at first. But finally, about halfway through I dropped the jealousy and guilt and found myself gladly accompanying Quenton on his most difficult training runs.

And shockingly, I understood just how he felt on many of those runs. Parker was able to articulate those strange and intangible feelings that runners face on particularly trying runs and even on amazing runs. Soon I found myself wanting to put on my running shoes, sign up for a race and share in Quenton’s experience.

This book is considered a cult classic in the running world. It was originally rejected by many publishers and Parker took to selling it out of the back of his car at races and meets. But it was an instant hit with runners and a buzz began to develop. Eventually, it was picked up and printed officially by a publishing house.

I won’t say that this book changed my life or the way I look at running. I’ll just say that it renewed some excitement in me and reconfirmed that all the sweat and pain is really worth it in the end. Not just because I might set a new personal speed or distance record, but more importantly because of those wonderful indescribable feelings you have after you finish a run that takes you to the brink and back, and shows you exactly what kind of person you are on the inside.