Thursday, July 31, 2008


We went to the movies last night, on a whim, to see Wanted. I had been wanting to see it ever since trailers began to appear last fall. The draw of James McAvoy is plenty for me, but I had also read the comic book on which this movie was based. It is an intriguing diversion from the typical hero and villain comic books. In Wanted it is up to the reader as to whether or not these trained assassins are the good guys or the bad guys. And, although the main character, Wesley Gibson (portrayed by McAvoy) seems to think he has found himself after his escapade into this underground world you are still wondering -- he is a hero or a villain? It all depends on your perspective.

It was great that Millar and Jones who created the original comic books actually wrote the screenplay for the movie. The editing on it was fun and had some of those Matrix-like slow-action sequences that made your heart stop for a second. It is definitely an adrenaline rush the last third of the movie. And, while gravity may not agree with all of the stunts that are CG'd into the film -- I say, "who cares." It makes for a great movie that was just plain fun to watch.

Oh, another plus to this movie -- Danny Elfman did the music. He also did the music for Hellboy III which adds to that movie's draw (next on our list to see).

There are rumors that McAvoy has signed up to do two more installments of Wanted. Could he make his name in the states doing action? I can't lie and say I didn't appreciate seeing him flash his newly sculpted muscles on the screen, but he is an actor whose depth can be used for much better things. Atonement and Last King of Scotland were just the tips of the iceberg. I fully believe he can earn his right to be on the A-list in the U.S. by doing really juicy roles, but maybe this is the kind of work he needs to do to catch our finicky attention on the other side of the pond.

In the meantime, seek out the Wanted comics. If you are a fan of graphic should enjoy these.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Twilight - A New Book Obsession

Okay, for most people, reality TV is their guilty pleasure. Or maybe they indulge in a martini while wearing $200 shoes or flirt with the bartender just before they go home to their husband. But, I would like to confess to my guilty pleasure -- reading teen fiction.

And, my latest dip into the teen fiction realm has left me breathless. Twilight has been in the limelight a lot lately because of the movie coming out later this year and I was curious about all of the fuss. I wasn't disappointed. It is a romance book for teenage girls, but the writing is much more so than the normal seam-ripper you find at the grocery store. The characters are intense. The narrator of the book, and main character, Bella, is real. She isn't perfect. She is insecure and prone to accidents. She is an awkward teenager; someone we can all relate to. And, well, she just happens to fall in love with a vampire.

Edward. The actor who plays this character is guaranteed to have thousands of teenage girls (and their mothers, older sisters, aunts and college friends) swooning and screaming for him. Edward is sexy and erotic (like any other vampire would be in fiction, right?). Any woman would have a crush on this sensitive-hearted monster who abstains from drinking human blood...oh, and having sex.

I am currently reading the third book in this series, Eclipse, so I can catch up and read Breaking Dawn when it comes out on August 2. And, last night I thought about the fact that Bella and Edward never have sex and how that doesn't seem to reduce the steaminess. In fact the tension is sexier by far. It is more upfront than the tension created by a pair of Jane Austen lovers, but the feeling for the reader is almost the same. You love that they have that tension and they don't hold back emotions -- yes, they tend to be dramatic, but it's a book. Why not have drama?

I am hooked on this series and I'm confident others will like the journey into a dreamy world of vampires...and other creatures (so i don't spoil it) the green and gray of Washington. I don't think I have been this excited about a vampire and his family since Anne Rice introduced the world to Lestat. Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I just finished reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. This is a wonderful book of prose. The words flow across the page like a gentle breeze. I imbibed every syllable. The book weaves relationships based on well-intended lies (if there is such a thing) and deceit. Pride takes center stage with the characters as well, often prompting the miscommunication and incidents that occur.

The book begins in the early 60s when a doctor's wife has twins -- one perfectly healthy and the other is considered a mongoloid (later called Down's Syndrome). Remembering the anxiety and hurt that his Down's Syndrome sister caused his mother and family, the doctor decides to have the nurse take the "sick" twin to an institution.

The nurse isn't able to leave the baby girl and the doctor tells his wife their little girl died at birth. The book then becomes two simultaneous stories. We watch the nurse raise the girl as her own, fighting for her daughter to have equal rights in school and community. The chasm caused by the death of their little girl creates turmoil and grief between the doctor, his wife and son.

I was intrigued by the characters, their pains and their celebrations. It was life -- good and bad. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the end. It wrapped up nicely, but it had a touch of the corny and sentimental -- a voice that didn't match the rest of the book. All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

p.s. I apologize if this is not a fully developed and detailed book review. I had written a brilliant one earlier and the text was lost when I lost power on my computer. But, I think you get the idea.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Spaaah Day for a Cause

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine and I went to The Boulders Resort in Carefree to be pampered and receive goody bags like the rock stars we most certainly are not...and it was all for a wonderful cause. The event benefited the Fresh Start Women's Foundation.

Fresh Start is a resource center for women, which helps them with resumes so they can find a job to courses on budgeting and anger management. Recognizing that women faces challenges every day without the support they truly need to overcome those challenges, Fresh Start gives women the tools they need to be successful in life. It is a great organization.

And, the event is a lot of fun. For $25, you help a great cause and try out a Valley spa that you may not have the money to ever go to any other time. The Boulders is primetime and gorgeous. Surrounded by rock formations and desert landscape, it was hard not to relax. I got a 20-minute treatment -- I chose a reflexology session -- and there are classes available to attendees. My friend and I went to the self-defense session and an introduction to pilates (my abs are still hurting from this one).

While there, we munched on fruit, sweet treats from one of my favorite bakeries -- Let Them Eat Cake -- and other healthy snacks from the spa. And, when we left, we were treated to a goody bag filled with a full-size bottle of shower gel from Philosophy, a full-size jar of Whish shaving cream (divine) and a load of other samples and coupons.

I will be going to another spa event this summer to benefit Fresh Start. It is in August at the Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts in Tempe. Looks like a lot of fun and they still have spaces. So if you live in the Valley and want to help out a wonderful organization...come and hang out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A New Perspective on 40

Yesterday, my husband turned 40 (that's him in the photo, riding a bike in Thailand) and his birthday gave me a whole new perspective on what it means to turn another decade older.

When he and I started dating almost 12 years ago, he was still in his 20's on the precipice of 30. I am 7 years younger and so at 21, he seemed much more mature than I and was a wonderful confidant to help me navigate life after college. After we were together for a couple of years, I never thought of our age difference. It was never an issue in how we related to one another -- we are true soulmates in every sense of the word. And, we discovered that many of our other friends were part of the "7 Club." We were normal.

A couple of weeks ago while I was planning his birthday party a.k.a. laser tag extravaganza, it hit me that my husband was going to be 40. "Wow! This is the age that many of us probably begin to think of adults as being old. But, he doesn't look or act 40. Ryan has stayed vibrant and alive. He acts like he is still in his 20s."

After think about this, it struck me. What does it mean to act your age? Who defines what is proper etiquette and activity for a person at a certain age? We certainly have friends who I think act older than they are. They were those people who as soon as they turned 30 or got married, they thought it meant they no longer could have colorful humor, clothing, lives or anything else that points them out as independent-thinking individuals. They have become the Ethan Allen-Banana Republic clones that in one word can only be described as "beige."

Ryan and I are would probably be described as bright. We seize every moment and enjoy it, making us great traveling partners and, I think, down the road, wonderful parents. Now, I think that we have had experiences most people are lucky enough not to have -- such as burying a parent or having cancer -- and maybe that is why we don't stick to conventions. And, while those experiences, created havoc and whirlwind in our lives, they showed us how precious our time together truly is. What would I do without this beautiful man in my life?

So, yesterday, we celebrated 40 years of adventures and the 40 years of adventures to come. We also celebrated the oncology appointment earlier that morning where we learned that Ryan wouldn't have to get radiation treatment for his most recent tumor.

My outlook on is another decade to reflect on your life thus far and then look toward the future and all it has to hold. I don't think it is as much a big deal as it once was. We live longer now. Many people don't even begin planning their families until they turn 40. It is a wonderful time to be alive and I know that when I turn 40 it will be a rite of passage and that much closer to retirement and a life of leisure.

Just a note...I know I am bias. But, my husband has got to be one of the hottest, most adorable 40-year-old men on the planet. Not too many men his age are just starting to get sprinklings of gray, or for that matter, even have hair that can turn gray. And, how many can say that their husbands are told often that they look like Johnny Depp. I am a lucky girl. I love you, sweetie!