Archive for the Christine Category


Posted in Christine, Magazine, Non-Fiction, Weight Loss on August 2, 2008 by muerta

I have always enjoyed reading a magazine.  I admit that my tastes are varied, and I have purchased or subscribed to magazines for a variety of reasons.  Currently, we have no magazines arriving to the house; the internet has changed most of the way that we gather our news or information that we seek.  However, this will change soon.

Oprah “O”:  I used to subscribe, but I canceled my subscription when her articles about my favorite things were items that were equivalent in value to my weekly paycheck.  While I still enjoy catching her show when I can [I like Dr. Oz and Suzie Orman(?)], I found her magazine to be too rich for my tastes.

Glamour:  used to be a fun read for me when I had a body that could fit the clothing styles that they advertised.  I also found that working in education with handicapped children and my ability to afford to go out to “stylish” places became more limited as usually I am asleep around 10ish (unless there is a Law and Order marathon happening on TNT or my book is really good) so this subscription too became canceled.

Games for Windows:  my husband’s yearly birthday present but he got mad at them for rating more console games and disagreed with too many of their reviews.  Hence, this subscription was canceled.

Wierd Tales:  another husband subscription but he canceled it because he did not like the format as compared to the older, much more expensive editions that he periodically finds on eBay.  Well, my apologies to them that Lovecraft, et al. are no longer contributing during this modern age of horror writing.

Yankee Magazine:  I loved this magazine for many reasons.  It had an elaborate list of things to do in New England, new places to try, recipes, a great gardening section, a featured “house of the month”, and in general, many interesting articles about life in New England- everything from lobster fishing to Lyme Disease outbreaks.  It was almost pocket sized, definitely pocket book sized, and very identifiable and unique.  However, about a year ago, another company bought them, made it normal sized for a magazine, and increased the advertising to where most of the magazine was focused on people and what they were selling.  No more articles of interest regarding the “Rhode Island Beach Frisbee Dog Catching Contest” or the Children’s Museum in Cape Cod.  With this more modern make-over, I canceled my subscription.  I liked the cozier feel of the old magazine.

After all, it was one article in Yankee magazine that taught us how to really use our Weber grill with accuracy and that alone made it very worth while.

Connecticut Magazine:  subscribed for a year and then canceled when I found out that people were paying reporters to get into the magazine.  It always focused on upscale places, or had rankings of who is the best dentist or doctor, or what is happening in the insurance industry.  There was little human aspect to the magazine; it was all about money being made in Connecticut.  I was hoping it would be a nice support for my loss of Yankee Magazine but sadly, it was not.

Now, I confess that I have succumbed to reading People Magazine in Doctor’s offices (will Tom and Kate survive?  What about poor Suri?  Will Brittany ever lose her baby fat?  and Poor Shaina Twain for her husband’s love affair!)  and about once or twice a month I will buy Star Magazine which I a). love the crossword puzzles because I can actually do them, and b). the girls at the high school love to read it when I am done so it gets recycled around.  Sometimes, I am even able to get the girl’s involved with helping me on the crosswords which makes it fun because it becomes more of a learning/current events activity than just sitting around.

I have also read Women’s World periodically but it tends to make me feel older and seems more focused to organizing your life, your kids, your family, your work, your schedule and lose 10 pounds at the same time!  It has not much in the way of living with an oppositional-defiant dog, a cat who barks, a husband who lives for gadgets and games, and a woman who merely deals with hot flashes by covering herself with wet clothes and fans.  I am getting “older” but I am not ready to admit it.

So for about a year, our house has been subscription-less.

Until now.

I made the decision to join Weight Watcher’s online, and with that, I decided to subscribe to their magazine as well.  I figure it will help me stay the course since I am not a meetings sorta person, and will keep me interested in ideas and redundancy of “I lost weight, you can too” without having to sit around listening to people whine/complain/talk about successes or failures in person.  I am too sarcastic and too blunt, and I suspect that I could hurt someone’s feelings so best to allow me to sit by my computer and track on my own.

So, now this house will have a subscription once again arriving to its door.  I am thinking about getting a second one, about green living and organic foods, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  I guess I would only do it if it was on 100% recycled paper.  It only makes sense that way.

P.S.  The new 2009 IKEA catalog just arrived today.  Now, there is interesting reading as I am starting to redo the dining room this month!  WooHoo!

Sickened by Julie Gregory

Posted in Christine, Mental Health/Mental Illness, Non-Fiction on July 4, 2008 by muerta

Quite possibly the scariest book on child abuse that I have ever read.

“Sickened” is a story about Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBP) where a young girl is subjected to her mother’s persistent cries that her daughter is sick and the frequent doctor’s appointments and tests that the child must undergo.  However, the nature of the illness is that the parent deliberately injures or sickens the child so that the doctor’s think that something is wrong, and end up doing tests and surgeries that are completely unnecessary, often painful, and force the child into a position of complete submission and complacency to the abusing parent’s will.

The child trusts the parent that the medicine will make them better, when actually, the parent is making them sicker to maintain their dominance over child, family and doctors.

Julie is another candid writer.  Her description of her family history and life, her own emotions and physical pains, and her sudden realization of what was actually happening make for a great descriptive story about how her life was lived before doctor’s (and family and friends) realized that a parent could actually do this to a child.

The psychological makeup of her family is beyond frightening; her mother makes Mommy Dearest look tame but the book brings you inside how psychology and medicine need to work together.  It also effectively proves that child abuse is not just limited to physical beatings, but there is an emotional and mental aspect that more often is ignored than assisted.

Like Wasted, realize that the author does not spare words in describing what happened in her youth.  But as MBP is a frequently missed diagnosis and is most likely more prevalent than we realize, it is a great book for spreading awareness of the disease and helping the medical profession to recognize that “doctor shopping” may have a hidden meaning.

Wasted by Marya Hornbacher

Posted in Christine, Mental Health/Mental Illness, Non-Fiction on July 4, 2008 by muerta

I have read this book before, and rereading it, I picked up many things that I had missed during the first read.  This impressed me, as when rereading a book, I often put it down after a few pages because I think “oh, I read this already.”  This time I thought, “Oh, I remember this part” and was thankful.

Marya suffers first from Bulimia and then later from Anorexia Nervosa, and beautifully explains her transition between the diseases, her moments of success, and her moments of failure.  She writes of how these diseases develop, progress, and her own thoughts while she slowly starved herself to death.  She discusses all the typical topics– relationships with therapists, parents, friends, issues of abandonment, issues of consumerism, issues with death– but handles each in a unique way that helps you to truly understand how a person could simply say “I deny myself nurishment.”

She speaks of being scared, and to me, that strikes home the hardest as one deals with a physical or mental illness.  It is fear of the unknown that makes everything that much worse, and in anorexia, the sufferer knows the ultimate outcome of the disease- get better or die.  It opens the reader’s eyes to understanding that it’s not just as simple as “getting better,” but rather, defeating your own demons as well as the demons that surround you.

This book is not for the feint of heart.  She writes candidly.  But if you ever wondered or witnessed the progression of this disease (or any mental or physical disease), Marya narrates it well.  It is a good read for understanding how fear truly can dictate or life and actions.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Posted in Christine, Fiction, Literature, Non-Fiction, South on May 23, 2008 by muerta

With all the great new books out there, sometimes it is nice to curl up with a classic.

After reading Gone with the Wind (my ultimate excuse for attempting to get out of Literature 101; “but look, I am reading Gone with the Wind!  I don’t need this course!”), I asked Lisa if I should read the sequel.  I have seldom seen Lisa passionate about a particular issue but reading the sequel to Gone With The Wind received an resounding “No.”  I assumed that Rhett Butler’s People would lack recommendation as well, but I wanted to continue on a Southern theme.  Hence, I gravitated toward Lee’s Mockingbird (having seen the movie at least twice) and enjoyed every word.

There are few books that I truly savor.  Harper Lee deserved to be slowly enjoyed and digested, like a good winter meal on a particularly cold day.  The images that she creates within your mind are majestic and believable.  While the main theme revolves around racism and Atticus’s defense of Tom Robinson, the subtle subplots constantly move the story forward.  You can not help but to love Calpurnia as she watches Jem and Scout, and admire Atticus for taking on his impossible mission– knowing that he is Don Quixote but willing to take that chance.  The reader witnesses racial separatism from a child’s eye, and realizes the ridiculousness of judging an individual because of skin color rather than quality (or “breeding” as Aunt Alexandra would remind us).  And then there is “Dill,” who is without a literary doubt, Truman Capote and Scout’s best friend beside her brother.  I loved the line that Atticus gives us when Dill shows up at their house one summer, “From rape to riot to runaways, I wonder what the next two hours will bring.”

I could talk about how this was a child’s realization of her perceived father vs. her real one, but Harper Lee tells that story so well that it should be left to the women like Miss Maudie to explain that history.  But instead, I shall just leave the story to stand as it is, a semi-autobiographical book which tells of growing up in a small southern town where one small outspoken girl learns the pain of having to walk in the shoes of other people.  Having been there, done that, I can only say that Harper Lee tells an accurate story.

My friend Kathy (another literary nutcase) tells me that the best southern female writers usually only have one good story to tell.  I tend to agree, with a sarcastic nod.  Harper Lee may have only had one good story, but like a good serving of biscuits and gravy, it is well worth the time to enjoy.

Thanks Lisa.  🙂

Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them

Posted in Christine, Non-Fiction, Sociology on May 4, 2008 by muerta

By David Anderregg, PhD., is an excellent read about the sociological demographic of those individuals who are more brainy than brawny, and exemplify social awkwardness when exposed to the opposite sex.

Anderregg uses his book to discuss how the increase in Asperger’s Syndrome (a mild form of autism) is quite possibly due to the normal bell curve of socialization and the difficulty of some parents in accepting that their child is not the social butterfly that they desire.  He strongly presents and supports his argument that intelligence = unattractiveness while beauty = attractiveness (he makes several references to the reality show “Beauty and the Geek” which only makes me more thankful that I only watch Law and Order reruns or Animal Planet).   He interviews children as young as 6-7 years old who already understand within their own developmental state what is a nerd and who unpopular they are among their classmates.  And finally, he does discuss the relationship between fantasy role playing games and the nerd culture, and how technology that used to only be related to nerds is now cultural accepted and necessary, so nerds are needed in order to keep society progressing forward.  Today it is considered cool to be a nerd or self-proclaimed geek as these individuals tend to be aware of counterculture movements, dress without regard to standards, and can be smart without criticism.

Let’s face it.  We are here.  We are blogging about books.  If we are not a nerd, we are pretty close to being one.