Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I Don’t Even Know What to Title This One

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Friday night is usually movie and pizza night for the family, unless T. and I have plans. This week, we were supposed to go out to dinner with friends for my birthday. (44. My God. But that is a post for another day.) Instead, the weather interfered and we stayed home and watched documentaries (Muscle Shoals and History of the Eagles) with our friend Terri. (If you haven’t seen Muscle Shoals, you need to immediately – my third viewing was as great as my first. Parts of it actually give me goosebumps.)

On Saturday, we decided to watch another movie. Tills spent the night out, so we watched with R. He’s 12, so we can watch a little more with him than we can with her. We usually pick movies out and run them by Common Sense Media. (A great site that tells you exactly what subjects are in a movie.)

We didn’t this time, and we probably should have. T. and I had both seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower before, and I read the book. R. had already read The Fault in Our Stars, so he has read some stuff with more mature subject matter. We didn’t remember anything particularly questionable in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, except that I did remember it had the subject of child molestation in it. I said, “Well, we can discuss that with him, if he even notices it.” I don’t think he did notice it in the midst of all the other OH GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THIS PART stuff.

Within five minutes, it was going something like this:

[Main character sees his older sister being smacked around by her pony-tailed boyfriend. She begs her little brother to not tell their parents. She says she can handle it.]

Me: “You ever see anything like that, you totally tell your parents, you understand me?”

R: “Okay, mom.” [Rolls eyes.]

[Movie references blowjobs.]

R: “What’s a blowjob?”

Me: “Uh, let’s watch the movie and we’ll explain later. You will probably want dad to explain it.” [I smirk at T.]

[Characters drive through a tunnel and one of them stands up in the back of the moving truck.]

Me: “Do not EVER stand up in the back of a moving truck.”

R: “That is so stupid. Why would they do that. Stupid.”

Me: [Oh my god, thank you for him thinking that is a stupid thing to do.]

[Kid in movie takes three brownies at a party, proceeds to get really, really high.]

Me: “Never take brownies from someone at a party in high school. People put marijuana in brownies sometimes.”

[Later, at another party, kid takes a hit of acid.]

Me: “If someone has a piece of paper at a party, don’t put it on your tongue.”

R. looks at me like I’m off my rocker.

Me: “People put hallucinogenic drugs on pieces of paper. Like LSD.”

Me: [Why the hell are these people letting their freshman kid go off with these seniors all the time?]

Interestingly, R. had a full understanding of and zero questions about the gay characters. The only part that we had to explain was that in the year that this movie was set, it was probably harder to be a gay teen, it was less accepted, and that is why the gay football player hid it from his Dad and schoolmates and why his dad beat him up, and why the kids got in a fight in the cafeteria. I’m taking this one as a win and a pretty awesome thing that he didn’t question much of it and didn’t realize that parents might not accept that a child was gay.

He did at one point ask if Charlie, the main character, was crazy. Charlie does try to kill himself and he ends up institutionalized, but in the end he gets help. We told him to watch, but that some bad things had happened to Charlie (his friend committed suicide – only mentioned in the film, but not shown as part of the story – and his aunt molested him and then died in a car crash and he felt responsible for that). But I think all of that went right over R’s head.

There were also some teens kissing and a little groping, and in true Palmer family tradition, T. and I sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” during those parts.

At the end of the movie, I got a little misty, because I actually really like the movie and loved the book. I asked R. what he thought and he said, “It was kind of boring.” Which T. and I laughed about later, because usually if R. really finds something boring, he will get up and walk away. He was tired and it was late, so I told him good night and to let us know tomorrow if he wanted to ask questions about the stuff in the movie.

Today, all four of us met my sister Lisa, nephew Dash, and my mom for lunch. Tiller got a little upset at the restaurant about having to leave for her girl scout meeting before getting her dessert. (My sister eats there at least once a week and we know the manager by name, and he gave the kids free dessert.)  So, Todd left to take Tills to her girl scout meeting, and R. and I rode back with mom, Lisa, and Dash to Lisa’s place. I drove Mom’s car, because I was going to drop them all off at Lisa’s, then go look at records. I said something about T. crying at the dinner table.

Mom: “Well, she is getting hormonal. I expect she’ll start her period before long.”

Me: “What? No.”

Mom: “I started in 5th grade.”

Me: “You did?”

Lisa: “Anne and I were both late. We were 14.”

Me: [sigh]

Dash: “What’s a period?”

Rollie: “Yeah. What’s a period?”

Dash: “You don’t know what a period is?”

Rollie: “Well, I know about the period at the end of a sentence.”

Me: “Rollie, you didn’t learn about periods at Fernbank when you learned about puberty?”

Dash: “What’s puberty?”

Rollie: “No.”

Me: “It’s also called ‘menstruation.’ They didn’t talk about that? You just learned about male puberty? It’s kind of like when you get hair under your arms and on your genitals. Except girls also menstruate.”

Dash: “Oh, that puberty!”

[Mom, Lisa, and I bust out laughing.]

Me: “Rollie, I’ll explain later, okay?”

Rollie: “Okay. You also need to explain what a blowjob is.”

Mom, Lisa, and I exploded in laughter. I was lucky that I was in the parking lot of Lisa’s condo at that point, because I just put on the brakes and cried laughing. And, of course, Mom and Lisa had no idea how the subject of blowjobs even came up in the first place. We tried to pull ourselves together, and I finally told them all to get out of the car.

Mom: “No, Annie, I’d really like to hear you explain this one.”

I turned around in the car and wiped the tears out of my eyes and looked very seriously at Rollie.

Me: “Baby, you know I love you, right?”

Rollie nods at me.

Me: “Please trust me when I say that you do not want me to explain this to you in front of your cousin, aunt, and grandma. Okay? We will talk about it tonight, okay?”

I managed to get everyone out of the car and when I got home, I told Todd he definitely needed to have that discussion with Rollie sooner than later.

I swear, I really don’t know what I’m doing with this parenting thing sometimes, but I always feel that honesty and openness is the best path. That being said, I’m super glad that T. will be explaining this one. Although I kind of wish that I could see video of R’s face when he hears what it is, because that is going to be comedy gold.

More Fun at the Dinner Table (Or, “Why I Drink”)

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

You may remember a while back when I wrote about that time I talked to my 6th grader about strip clubs over dinner. It’s always something at the dinner table. So, tonight, I came home after a canceled therapy appointment. Thank you therapist, for canceling after I’ve already driven from my office in Cumming all the way down 400 and around 285 to Decatur. If you don’t live in Atlanta, just picture the seven circles of Hell. It’s bad.

Since I’m doing Dryuary, I couldn’t even hit Brickstore instead for a beer. I was cold and hungry, because I’m also doing The Fast Metabolism Diet. Don’t laugh, it’s not really a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle of clean eating, and I actually lost over 50 pounds a few years ago doing it, and kept it off. It works and it makes you feel good. It changed the way I eat and is pretty much responsible for the fact that I will eat half an avocado with a spoon, and then just have wine for dessert. I just can’t stuff myself so much anymore. Anyway, it is much better than training for a half-marathon, I’ll tell you that much, which I also did, and I gained ten pounds in the process.

Let’s just say I was the Mayor of Crankytown by the time I arrived home today. But it’s always something at dinner, and tonight was no different. A story in three parts.

Part I

The husband went to the grocery store on his way home and cooked dinner. He’s a good egg. We were about to sit down, but I was still freezing, and frankly, I just wanted to put my PJs on at seven p.m., so I went upstairs to change.

When I came back downstairs, I made a plate and heard Todd and Tiller whispering.

“What?” I asked, eyebrows raised.

More giggling, then leaning across the table for more whispering.

Tiller sat back, looking very pleased with herself, and said, “Mom, 1992 called, and they want their outfit back.”

Let’s back it up here a second and place the blame for this statement squarely where it belongs. That would be Jason B., who just a couple of days ago posted the same thing on my Facebook page when I posted a new profile photo.

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What? I’m wearing a hat, because I’m outside waiting on Uber after watching the football game, by myself with my new friends Saleem and Melvin, at the bar of a local restaurant and it’s cold. And plaid flannel never goes out of style. It’s a classic. Period. I can’t help it if my hair looks about the same as back in 1992. You’re wearing yours differently now, aren’t you, Jason? (You mess with the bull, you get the horns, you know what I’m saying?) Point being, Todd obviously borrowed this little gem from Jason. Moving on. . . .

I don’t really wear PJs. I usually wear a tank top and panties (or boxers if I’m walking around the house) in the summer. In the winter, leggings, and a tee shirt, with a sweater, sweatshirt or hoodie. I like fluffy slippers, and I don’t care how silly they look, as long as they are warm, and they have hard soles that can be worn outside in the damp. I wore holes in my old slippers, so the girl gave me some for Christmas, and they are indeed fluffy on the inside, and they look like Uggs, but shorter, which makes me laugh, because I’m not really an Uggs kind of girl.

Now, the difference is that tonight I had put on my new nightgown, which I purchased mostly because I needed pajamas of some sort that didn’t have any holes in them, and this was the same price as some crap that I returned from Christmas that I will never wear. And so I bought a nightgown. I have not had a new nightgown in over ten years. Over that, I put on my Bitter Southerner sweatshirt, which I love, (Thanks, Todd!) because, as I mentioned, it is cold.

So, Tiller cuts me down, and then everyone laughs at my expense, and I pretended to be mad, but let’s be honest, the joke’s on them:  I was all warm and toasty in my slippers and comfy clothes, and I had taken off my bra after wearing it all day, which all women of bra-wearing age universally acknowledge as the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Let’s cut to the chase. I looked like this:


Nobody wore Uggs knockoff slippers in the 90s. This sweatshirt didn’t even exist five years ago. And I weighed about 40 pounds less. The kitchen, on the other hand, is completely stuck in the 80s. . . .

And then Tills and I goofed off.

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See how she’s wearing a fleece at dinner? Because it’s cold.


Brody doesn’t like wrestling or demonstrations of affection of any kind. I mentioned it’s cold, right?

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Part II

So, then, we sit down and eat. Rollie is reading a book at the table. Todd doesn’t like reading at the table, which is anathema to me. He finds it rude. But somehow over the years we’ve come to a truce, and I only do it when I’m having the absolute worst day ever. Or when he is out of town. Then Tiller, Rollie, and I all get giddy and grab our reading material and sit around the table in ecstasy.

“Rollie, are you reading at the table?” I ask.

“Yes.” Sullen 12-year-old. I look at Todd to see his reaction.

“Are we allowed to read at the table?” I ask.

Todd says, “Of course, although I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to sit and talk with your family.”

Rollie, deadpan: “Because we could be reading books.”

Rollie and I high five.

I ask Rollie, “What are you reading?”

Tiller says, “He’s reading my new copy of The Graveyard Book, and he’s bent up all the pages!”

“Dogeared it, you mean, Tiller?” I say. “Rollie, did you ask if you could read her copy of the book? We already have a copy, but either way, you should have asked. And you definitely don’t dogear someone’s book without their permission.”

“Okay.” He doesn’t even look up from the book.

I say, “Thank you for letting him borrow your book, Tiller. Likewise, he has lots of books, and since he doesn’t mind dogearing, I think you can dogear his books when you borrow them. But I would ask first.”

Tiller is aghast. “I wouldn’t want to dog-ear his books! It crumples up all the pages and looks messy!”

My two children are night and day. And that female one . . . well, if I didn’t see her come out with my own two eyes, I would swear we were unrelated.

Part III

Oh Lord. This one takes the cake. I get up from the table to do the dishes. Someone makes a comment about my butt, and my son says: “Dat Turnaround Doe.” Um, if you don’t understand this language (and I really can’t blame you for that one bit), this and this will probably help clear it up. A little. The misspelling will never make sense to me, nor be okay. It’s just wrong.

[needle scratches across record]

Todd and I do turn around and stare at him, and in near unison, “What did you just say?”

R. (tentatively, the boy ain’t dumb) repeats it.

Todd says, “You don’t say that to your mother, first of all.”

“Where did you learn that?” I ask.

Rollie looks at us like we’re dumber than a box of rocks. “The Internet. Duh.”

“Do you even know what that means?” Todd asks.

“Not really.”

“If you heard it on the internet and you don’t know what it means, you don’t need to be saying it,” I chime in.

“Okay, okay.”

Y’all. I’m not sure I’m going to make it through a whole month. I love my family. They make me laugh. But this stuff is part of the reason I drink.

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Girl in a Band: A Memoir

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band: A Memoir came out last week, and I snatched it up as my next read. Actually, Gordon read it to me. I debated buying the hardcover or the audiobook. I chose the Audible version, because a) I can listen in the car and office and b) Kim Gordon talking to me. No-brainer, really.

I liked listening to her voice. I’ve heard her talk before, but when I think of Kim Gordon’s voice, I think of her voice on stage:

I just want to know, what are you gonna do for me? I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression?

Or her playful voice joking around with J. Mascis in the documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke. Instead, I am immediately struck by the quiet, introspective, sweet voice reading her own story.

Gordon opens her memoir by telling the story of the last show Sonic Youth played. It’s intense. You feel the tension and pain she experiences during the momentous show. It is a compelling moment, and her vulnerability comes through immediately. I expected bombast or effortless cool (and we do get effortless cool later in the book), but what you get right out of the gate is a sad, overwhelmed, angry, heartbroken girl. A number of reviews of Girl in a Band mention that her discussion of her divorce with fellow Sonic Youth member Thurston Moore and her feelings about the affair that caused it seem petty or small. I didn’t feel that way. I felt she told her story and that was a small, but important, part of it.

As she delves into her childhood, I am repeatedly surprised by her shyness and sensitivity. I’m also surprised by her intelligence. I think of her as cool, yes, but I never took her as being super cerebral. I also didn’t realize until reading her story that she is very much an artist first and a musician second. Sonic Youth was just a side project to Gordon’s life as an artist.

I won’t spoil the book by revealing all the interesting little tidbits, but I loved hearing where she was born, where she grew up, the music she listened to as a kid, and the people and things that influenced her. I find her relationship with her brother and its influence on her fascinating. She discusses fashion, music, and art in a smart, accessible way. She met or worked with a number of interesting and influential musicians, artists, designers, and writers over the years, and I love hearing those stories, particularly mentions of meetings or friendships with bands and authors whom I admire. At times, it feels a bit like reading UsWeekly for cool people. (“They’re just like us!”)

Honestly, though, the book is lacking in some ways. I came away slightly dissatisfied, as if she’s not quite telling the whole story. She is definitely a person with a very private side. That shines through in the book, and what she omits feels almost as if it is it’s own character in the story. Maybe that is due to writing in the ruins of her marriage; Perhaps with some distance, the book would not feel quite so overshadowed by her heartbreak.

All of that being said, I loved her story. It meets me at the perfect intersection of my life: I’m going through some depression, a bit of an identity crisis, and a disillusionment with middle age and all that comes with it. Who am I? Is my life what I thought it would be 15 or 20 years ago? Am I living the American Dream? Why do I feel so lost, frustrated, and bored?

In other words, If Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have fallen apart, what hope is left for the rest of us.

Here is a female rock icon, one whom I love, admire, and put on a pedestal as one of the coolest of The Cool Girls, and yet the voice speaking to me is sad. Vulnerable. Sensitive. Disillusioned. Resigned. She writes her story down and tells it to the world. This venerable Indie Rock Goddess is a hell of a lot like me.

I think what I love most about this book is not all the punk rock insider information and not what it’s like to be a Girl in a Band. No, what I love is hearing Kim Gordon tell me what it’s like to be a girl. It’s validating to hear she experiences the same struggles: Self-doubt. Sensitivity. Being informed by place of origin. Finding outlets for emotion. Figuring out who she is in her teens and 20s. Family dynamics. The ups and downs of marriage and friendship. Job stresses. The I-Just-Got-Hit-By-The-Mack-Truck-That-Is-Motherhood experience. Family scheduling. Deciding where to settle one’s family. Guilt. Being let down by the ones we love. Heartbreak. Parental pride. Aging parents. Mental illness. Figuring out that everything is not black and white, and that there is a whole lot of gray, and we have to figure out how to survive there, and how to pick up the pieces when things change or if we lose everything and have to start over again.

The real reason I love this book? Moving forward, I can always think to myself, “Even 62-year-old Kim Gordon of Sonic fucking Youth struggles with this shit.”

Recommended for: Gordon Lovers, Sonic Youth fans, Music Junkies, Biography-Readers, Artists, Life-Examiners, Searchers.

Cinnamon the Talented Dog, Chapter I

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Tiller is kind of crazy about writing lately. Tiller says that these are “Beginning Chapter Books.” Cinnamon the Talented Dog is book one in an as-yet-unnamed trilogy about the adventures of two dogs. We decided to record her reading each chapter so that her grandparents could see her work.

Something New, Something Me

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Todd gave me a Kindle Fire about a month ago. I already had a Kindle and loved it. I was hesitant about the Kindle Fire. I still have mixed feelings about giving up my old one. I kind of liked having a device just for reading, with no distractions. I also miss the standard Kindle electronic ink technology, which has no glare. Unfortunately, reading on a Fire is not as easy in sunlight, but it is still a nice device, easy to carry, etc. And a damn sight cheaper than an iPad, although no where as great as in iPad. Still, it allows me to watch and read and check facebook and all that Jazz. Nifty little tablet, and really. . . we live in the future, people. Why am I complaining about a lightweight book-sized computer? Because I am a spoiled American, that’s why.

I digress. So, i had this nice little green cover for my old Kindle. (Which, by the way, went to a good home already.)

I loved it. I could even read in bed when Todd was sleeping, because it had a light. Brilliantly awesome. (I know i could have read in bed with a real book and a book light, but aren’t those just for old people in movies?) I loved the green color.

So, when Todd gave me the Kindle Fire, i bought a similar cover, but since i might be watching video, i wanted to make sure that I could set it up to view streaming movies and tv. (Okay, Vampire Diaries, mostly.)

I bought this one, in purple.

I love purple. DG trivia: Favorite colors? Purple, green, and black.

I love purple. DG trivia: Favorite colors? Purple, green, and black.

So, it opens and there's your Kindle Fire.

So, it opens and there's your Kindle Fire.

And it even has a tab so you can create a standalone screen.

And it even has a tab so you can create a standalone screen.



So, I liked it and all, but it was. . . kind of boring. This cover said nothing about how funny, smart, awesome, and modest I am. It just said, “I like purple.” Or, at least, “I like purple more than the other colors offered.”

So, I started looking for handmade and original covers on Etsy.


OMG, there are so many cute ones, and I would post them all here for you to see, (Plus, my kitchen choice ideas, too!) if only Pinterest wasn’t really, really slow about developing a widget for embedding Pinterest boards on websites. You can post a Pin to a website, but not a board. I mean, come on, Pinterest. This seems like a really obvious choice for something to finish up. The people want it.

So, go stalk the cute pins on my Kindle Fire Covers Pinterest board. You can follow my pins, too. I have a Pinterest problem, i think. There were so many great options, but really, i knew it when i saw it. I ordered it.

It came in the mail yesterday. Wrapped in this:

So nice. Of course, this is after I ripped the bow off. But you get the idea.

So nice. Of course, this is after I ripped the bow off. But you get the idea.

And the wonderful lady, Cathie, who made it, sent this sweet note, too!

And the wonderful lady, Cathie, who made it, sent this sweet note, too!

And, uh, take note folks. She spelled my name correctly.

And there it was, in all its stark beauty.

And there it was, in all its stark beauty.

I have a thing for simple winter tree silhouettes.

I have a thing for simple winter tree silhouettes.

And then I opened it. Sweet leaves on the liner.

And then I opened it. Sweet leaves on the liner.

And my Kindle fit just right inside. This was great, because Cathie accomodated my desire for the Kindle and it's existing cover to fit inside this one, so she made it to my specifications.

And my Kindle fit just right inside. This was great, because Cathie accomodated my desire for the Kindle and it's existing cover to fit inside this one, so she made it to my specifications.

It looks even better with the Kindle inside. Like a great clutch.

It looks even better with the Kindle inside. Like a great clutch.

TREE Kindle Fire Cover – ARTsy Covers by Clevelandgirlie

So, the only problem? I might have to have a summery version made. Also considering a waterproof one for the pool. I feel a new Pinterest board coming on. . . .

Oh, and do you have a custom cover for yours? Post a link! I want to see them! What is your “Something Me?”

p.s. Yes, those are pictures of my desk. Where the magic happens, so to speak. Note that I shoved all the shitpiles out of the way so that it looks neat. Perhaps tomorrow a peek at the pile. . . I am sure you are all on the edge of your seats.

Real Life and Writing

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Real life is so so so so in the way of my other life: The one in my head, that I imagine living, and that I actually do live every once in a while. The one where I ride bikes with my sister, walk on the beach, read a lot, and laugh til my stomach hurts. I got to live it for a few days last week, with the girls, on Tybee. Pics of that to come, maybe later today, maybe tomorrow. I have told myself I will get back to writing on my blog daily, but sometimes I have big ideas, and then don’t have the time to put them down on the page. I used to fill those spaces with the little gems – pictures of the kids, the dog, a link to something I love. Now those things invariable get tweeted or Facebook-posted. I am going to try to make sure they go on the blog again, because they are also part of who I am, and I’d like to see them categorized and archived. I miss them being in “my place.”

Today’s gem is an interview with Diana Gabaldon, via Authors Road. (Embedding disabled, so you will have to follow the link if you want to see it. Note: it’s 30 minutes! Poor Todd had to listen over my shoulder this morning. Also, this video is really only for those interested in the writing craft, Diana Gabaldon novels, or raven sculptures. (That last one is really just myself and Vanessa.)) She is one of my favorite writers, mostly because she created a crazy series that defies categorization, but also because she reminds me a bit of myself.

My favorite part of the interview, other than the awesome parts about how she actually writes? The fact that she loved Trixie Belden books as a girl. I <3 Trixie Belden.

“Don’t you wish that the Bob-Whites could just go on and on as we are now, just the same age as we are now?”

Trixie Belden, The Mystery of the Missing Heiress

Wow. I should really write about Trixie Belden one day.

Back to real life!

Dogwood Girl

The Good Stuff

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Lookie what I got in the mail today! New book club book – Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent and the new Diana Gabaldon graphic novel, The Exile. Looks beautiful, plus same story, but told from a different point of view! Hells yeah, i’m excited!

Book Love
And I still haven’t started the new Cassandra Clare book, so I am pretty much in anticipatory heaven right now. LOVE having books to look forward to. . .

Mockingjay Review

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

No spoilers here, but there are some at the end of my review on Goodreads. All in all, i loved it. She really managed to pull it all together somehow.

Let me know what you think if you’ve read it! Dying to discuss it!

A Good Day, Despite It All

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Despite the fact that I started my period, and I am swamped with projects and work and volunteering for school, this is a good day.

I can’t think of anything better when I have cramps than having a hot bath, then curling up in bed with a much-anticipated book.


Friday, August 20th, 2010

I haven’t posted about it in a while, but dang, I heart Goodreads. Love that it’s free, love seeing what my friends are reading, love following authors, love taking the quizzes, love cataloging all my books and rating them. If you’re a member of Goodreads, hit me up! I want to see what you are reading!

Also, considering a foray into PaperBackSwap. I am afraid i will be addicted. Also find that maybe the input of the ISBN numbers might be a little cumbersome. Wish they would somehow integrate with Goodreads. . . .

In other book news, I’m getting ready to start reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for my book club. Very excited. Looks great, despite the stupid title.