"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Livin' the Dream

Tomorrow is Easter for the majority of the Christian community and for that I say Happy Easter. I am Greek Orthodox and go by a different calender so this year Easter is not until May 5th.

Growing up I always had two Easters. Tomorrow is what my Yia-Yia would call "American Easter" (which I never understood since it is celebrated all over the world). American Easter consisted of brightly colored eggs and the Easter Bunny. I have continued that tradition. Once this blog is done we will be coloring eggs and preparing for the big basket that will make the six-year-old smile come morning.
Greek Easter was all about the resurrection of Christ (I will write a blog about those traditions a little later).
But my blog today is about livin' the American dream. Sometimes you lose sight of what that dream is all about. But today is one of those days where it is apparent. We are by no stretch of the imagination wealthy. Every month it is a guessing game as to whether or not all the bills will get paid and it is a balancing act of what we can do ... and what we can do without. Having said that we are fortunate.
First - it is a beautiful spring day here! And after what seemed like an endless winter this would have been enough to make me smile - but it got better!
Got up this morning and felt good (another thing that is always a guessing game). Went and did a little shopping for the arrival of the Easter bunny. Came home and started cleaning out all the winter from the front yard. Cleaned out the strawberry patch, put up the new bird feeder, cleaned out the leaves from under the porch.
My husband was cleaning up the back yard. Getting ready for the upcoming house repairs (our house is over 100 years old and was "repaired" by someone who should not have been allowed to fix things so there are always repairs). Our house is "that house" on the street. The goal for the spring is to get siding done and some new windows so our house will be all one color (now it is three - the original color, primer and some unprimed shingles). But we have big plans for a lovely English cottage in the middle of the street.
The six-year-old was in the side yard with his scooter and his dog. Then we went for a walk to the park with the dog. Now back at home - the boys are playing on the computer, I am writing a blog and then we will color eggs.
This is livin' the dream! Not having the biggest house, not having the newest phone or the most luxurious car. It is about being happy with what you have and enjoying a beautiful day.
So happy spring everyone - live your dream .... whatever that may be.

This year we decided to use the Wilton technique for coloring eggs. Not bad!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Literature Tuesday ..... The Rise of the Governor & Lord of the Flies

I am back! It has been a long few months. The holidays and the winter cold I got after the holidays really took a lot out of me. As much as I wanted to write a blog I had neither the time, energy or ambition to do so. I actually just deleted all the posts I had started and failed to finish (since most of them were no longer relevant).

But I am back! I feel the spring coming on - we just set our clocks ahead and it is now still light on my way home from work. The winter blues are fading and everyday I feel a little more energetic. So lets be hopeful and see if I can keep up the momentum and begin to blog more regularly.

So ....... literature (one of my favorite subjects).

What seems like a very long time ago I wrote a blog entitled: What is literature? The purpose of that blog was to just make a statement about the fact that what is junk to one reader (dare I say - 50 Shades of Grey) others think is fabulous.

For my recent birthday my 6-year-old picked out a Walking Dead gift basket .... it included action figures, a tee-shirt, a hand-made birthday card with a picture of Rick Grimes on it and a book. The book is "The Rise of the Governor" by Robert Kirkman. It is not a great piece of literature .... it will not go down in the annals of Tennessee Williams or Kerouac or Steinbeck but it kept me enthralled. I am of course a HUGE fan of the Walking Dead (I think I may have mentioned that a time or two). And the book is a prequel. I am not going to go into what the book is about (I have some Dead fan friends and they have not read it yet) but I will tell you the end stunned me. I find it astounding that in a genre where I have read some of the comics and watched every episode of the television show I was still completely surprised by the unexpected ending of this book. It was so good that I read it in 24 hours, went to the store, purchased the next book "The Road to Woodbury" and finished that in 24 hours (just for disclosure - the Rise of the Governor was better - but both were good).

What makes "The Walking Dead" like crack .... the story. I can't stress enough that neither the comic, nor the show, nor the books, nor the "Talking Dead" (the talk show about the Walking Dead) are about zombies. All of them are about the people and about the human capacity to accept horror and stress and tragedy. I like to compare it to "Lord of the Flies."

Both stories are about what happens to humans when there are no rules. When there is no authority. When there is no governance or structure or hope. Sure, one was written in the 1950s and was about prepubescent boys and one is about the end of the world as we know it because of a zombie apocalypse. But in the end the stories are about power and evil and the ability of good and hope and innocence to overcome.

The Walking Dead it is about how good people lose their sense of self through loss. The hero of our story Rick Grimes goes from a sheriff who would help anyone, anywhere, anytime to someone who won't even help a lone hitchhiker trying desperately to survive (which he doesn't). It is the loss of family and friends that creates a cold hard character who only looks out for himself and his immediate family. It is a lot more complex and deep than that - but this is a simple blog and not a place where I can detail three seasons of a television show (but for some fun take a look at my page Lessons I Learned from the Walking Dead). Rick is still our hero - but certainly not the man he had been. If you follow the Lord of the Flies connection, Rick would be a combination of Ralph and Simon (to the point that Rick hallucinates as well - haunted by his dead wife and best friend).

Now fans of the show know that The Governor is the anti-hero. He is the evil of humanity all wrapped up in one character. Power hungry, violent for violence sake ... a narcissistic, egocentric, sociopath. The book chronicles how he became that way. How a regular guy in real life became evil in the face of the unthinkable. It is the story of anyone of us - we could all become The Governor in the end. If this were the Lord of the Flies, The Governor would be Jack Merridew. And while the television show seems to be about how Rick comes back from the abyss to rejoin humanity I anticipate that good will win and the character of The Governor will not see the light of season 4 (this is not a spoiler - just my opinion).

So while this is not a summary of the "The Rise of the Governor" it is a recommendation. If you would like things a little gory and a little horrific it is worth the price of admission. If you are already a Dead fan it is a must! I am looking forward to more of these novels coming out because I have to admit, as much as I like the story I am not a big comic book fan. But I suggest you read it after you look in the mirror - because The Governor, he really could be any of us.
On another note .... as I was looking for photos for this blog on AMC.com I saw a comment that asks the question: "Do you think Rick is still in the coma and this is all a dream?" Interesting question. Dead fans feel free to leave your thoughts on this one!