Category Archives: books

My Five Favorite Romantic Movies

Good thing Kathy specified movies, not books, in this week’s Writers Workshop because I’d never be able to narrow my favorite romances down to just five! Movies I think I can do, though. These are in no particular order, BTW.

You’ve Got Mail (Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks)

She owns a children bookstore, he woos her with talk of bouquets of sharpened pencils. She loves daisies and he has a golden retriever. There’s mistaken identity, tragedy, and a happily ever after. It’s perfect.

The Tourist (Angelina Jolie & Johnny Depp)

I almost didn’t watch this one because Angelina Jolie annoys me. But the costumes dragged me in. Then the sexual tension ramped up and stayed there, even though they barely touched each other. And she fell in love with him all over again without even knowing who he was. A romance for the ages.

Much Ado About Nothing (Emma Thompson & Kenneth Branagh)

The comedy, the deception, the high drama of young emotions and the carefully laid plot to ensnare the reluctant lovers. And Denzel Washington as the prince is as stunning as ever! I could watch this every day.

Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightley & Matthew Macfadyen)

The rain scene. Watching Mr. Darcy’s heart break open during the rain scene. Only when you’ve loved someone you shouldn’t or someone who thinks you aren’t their equal can you understand the power of that scene.

Bringing Up Baby (Katherine Hepburn & Cary Grant)

I adore Katherine Hepburn, but I think she’s at her best in this over-the-top comedy that PETA will never allow to be remade. But that’s fine. No one else could play either of these roles, anyway!


My Heart Just Melted . . .

Last night I was up late wrapping little week-by-week gifts for my son and daughter-in-law as they count down their last trimester of pregnancy with their baby girl. Some things I’d made, some things we’d bought (by we I mean Michael bought her an adult coloring book with a Dr. Seuss theme. Totally not age-appropriate! I’ll rein him in at some point. Probably when he wants to buy her a pony. After all, she has a Great Dane mix, and if she needs something larger I prefer a llama. I could use it to do an outdoor reading of the Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney and then ship that sucker down with some nearby horses headed that way. We’re in Kentucky, they’re in Texas. Grandparenting trumps all – I can get them a llama delivered.
As I lay in bed at midnight, package (freakin’ huge, heavy package! Do NOT try to pick it up, Catherine!!) sealed I remembered the cedar chest. The one my in-laws gave me and in which I’ve preserved family memorabilia. I dug through it today and found the beautiful white booties and sweater my sister-in-law had crocheted for Aaron, his favorite stroller toy, and (sob!) the adorable outfit my best friend brought in from Atlanta and that we took him home in.

Actually, I was a bit surprised at how big it was! And I have the hospital picture of it, fitting him nicely. YIKES! Aaron was 8’9″ at birth, and everyone in the room laughed when I asked if I’d had to have an episiotomy. (To my credit, I only asked for an epidural after I started planning my husband’s murder.) The doctor who was able to speak first said, “There was nothing further we could cut!” Yeah, that’s comforting to a first-time mom, nurse or not!

So I sent a picture of the outfit to my daughter-in-law, emphasizing that having a baby a couple of weeks early (if your doc suggests it) can be a good thing!
Of course, I have to say that my younger child’s birth (even though he was a week early and 3 oz. smaller) was more difficult and stressful. THREE ounces. That’s a shot and a half. If you are pushing a bowling ball out your va-jay-jay a shot and a half doesn’t matter unless it’s alcohol you ingest shortly beforehand.

With my youngest my amniotic fluid was like pea soup, they insisted I be on the monitor all the time (quite reasonable), and then when it came time for me to push some blonde woman hopped up, knees on the bed, and started shoving on my belly. This was not covered in nursing school when I graduated in 1988. It was like she was performing CPR about 18 inches too low on an awake, alert, annoyed person. The me of today would have yanked her hair and screamed, “What the F are you doing?!” Since I was still nice then I just kept pushing. I also found a sweet card from that nurse in the cedar chest.

Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting your first child are hot topics. By hot I mean everyone has a story to share, some advice to give, and at least one urban myth to impart (there was a twin behind the other baby on every view – we had no idea! – Umm, your ultrasound tech needs to cut down on the breakfast drugs.)

Scream and jump if someone touches your belly unasked – word will get around. Smile and lie your a$$ off for your own entertainment. Tell them you are having a litter, and only just found out when your belly started growing. Tell them it’s an alien and ask them to back away slowly and silently. Tell them you are a surrogate and currently carrying a celebrity’s baby, but you’ve signed a confidentiality agreement. The guy with you? Your personal assistant. You might as well get a few laughs out of someone using your bladder as a trampoline, right?

My eldest’s coming-home outfit – which I’d forgotten I’d kept. What melts your heart these days? Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop

my newest baby-centered activity!

Seven Things that Bring Me Comfort

— 1 —

Prayer. Yeah, I know you thought I was going to say chocolate, wine, coffee, or dogs first. SURPRISE! Since I’m alone most of the day every day I have an on-going casual prayer session all day long. I do keep a prayer journal to focus on particular things I’m thankful for and people or situations I’m praying for. If I comment on FB that I’m praying for you I really mean it. I also pray more formal prayers, rosaries and novenas, because the repetition helps me focus my priorities. My favorite rosary app has audio that I can listen to with headphones in bed at night and beautiful stained glass images for each of the mysteries. I subscribe via email to Pray More Novenas, and my favorite is the St. Jude rosary. He’s the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations, so I feel pretty comfortable hanging out with him at prayer time. This is the picture I have in my hallway.
And yes, Portraits of Saints IS where I bought it if you want one of your own.

— 2 —

Cards in the mail. Weird, right? But in this age of email, text, and social media a card or letter is so unexpected I’m happy before I even open it! I have a couple of friends who send me cards “just because”, and it always perks me up no matter how bad the pain is or how down I’m feeling that day.

— 3 —

A “happier ever after, at least for now” at the end of a book. If I want something depressing and thought-provoking I’ll just live my life. If I borrow a book from the library I fully expect a happy ending. (Clearly, I’m not a fan of literary fiction.)

— 4 —

Soft socks. Really, it’s the little thinks in life. If it drops below seventy degrees I want soft, fuzzy socks. In fact, last night I slept with socks on my hands because I can’t figure out why this very minor rash on the side of my nose won’t go away. Michael suggested I might be scratching it in my sleep. It’s no better today, but my hands were quite comfy all night 😉

— 5 —

Snuggles. With my husband, my son (who hugs me every single day!), my two big fur-babies, and the two adorable little boys I hang out with most Friday nights, helping their GiGi keep them fed, clean, and uninjured while their parents have a peaceful meal out. Really, there is just nothing like a hug from a little one. If I could bottle that feeling no one would need Prozac.

— 6 —

Writing. Even though I can only write for 15-20 minutes at a time and I may never publish a single book I like knowing I have a creative outlet and that I’m being productive. That’s important to me.

— 7 —

Music. It’s amazing how the right music can be energizing, or romantic, or comforting. I’ve always found Country Christmas Carols comforting. I’m not ready for them yet, but once my decorations are up I’ll be listening to Thistlehair the Christmas Bear ASAP!

For more writing prompts go to Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!


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