Here’s a quick breakdown of how I spent my holidays:

Books read: 3+1 (not a huge number, but we’re not talking about light and fluffy reading material)

  • We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver): A- Kevin went on a killing spree at his high school. The book is letters written by Kevin’s mother to his father, reflecting back on their time together right from the beginning. Very heavy, as the author seems to shun the adage that you shouldn’t use a long word when a short one will do. Movie coming out this year. No way will it compare to the book.
  • Girl In Shades (Allison Baggio): B+ My latest book club selection, also serious (written from the perspective of Maya, whose mother is dying of cancer) but also a bit of a flashback for those of us who grew up in the 80’s. This one would actually make a good movie.
  • Writing Essentials (Regie Routman): A This one’s a teacher book, and I consider the author to be my educational soulmate. (She also wrote the equally brilliant “Reading Essentials”.) In a nutshell: for kids to become good writers, they need to spend lots of time doing authentic (e.g. non-worksheet, non-prescribed-program, non-narrow-prompt) writing. One would think that would be obvious, but it isn’t to everyone.
  • Since the holidays I read one more that I have to add: Sarah’s Key (Tatiana de Rosnay) A-, which is a powerful bestseller about a fictional child in an unfortunately nonfiction situation: Sarah is a young Jewish girl in France during the notorious Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of 1942. When the police come to get her and her mother, Sarah locks her younger brother in a cupboard to keep him safe, vowing to come back for him later. Her story is intertwined with that of a modern-day Parisian journalist. (Just Googled it and realized it was also a 2010 movie…how did I miss that?)

Movies seen at the cinemas: 4

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked: B- If you have to see a kids’ movie, this one isn’t too painful.
  • Mission Impossible 4 Ghost Protocol: B- Entertaining, but not as good as we had hoped
  • New Year’s Eve: B- This is cute, but certainly not necessary on the big-screen. Rent it next New Year’s.
  • The Muppets: B+ I had 4 kids coming home in my car and they all said they preferred this to The Chipmunks. I love Amy Adams and Jason Segal, and for all of you who have always wanted to see Chris Cooper rap, your time has come.

Movies seen at home: 7

  • Columbiana: B- But my husband would rate it much higher. I’d dial down the action a tad and beef up the backstory to improve my score
  • The Sound of Music: B+ A Christmastime tradition, and my girls love it. I learned what it feels like to swoon as I watched Captain Von Trapp’s reaction when he realized Maria had returned…and I pretended that he was really looking at me. If only Christopher Plummer weren’t 81. However, he is Canadian, which makes him seem that much more attainable.
  • Stealth: C+ 2005 war/sci-fi-ish movie with Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel. Didn’t fall asleep.
  • I Don’t Know How She Does It: C  I have a habit of watching bad chick-flicks despite all warnings. It was still fine for some holiday fluff, but didn’t come close to doing the book justice (you can’t just combine different characters into one in order to simplify the plot), and as reported, SJP was very Carrie-Bradshaw-but-with-kids-and-a-demanding-job. There are also too many cheesy freeze-the-action-while-the-protagonist-talks-to-the-camera scenes.
  • The Bourne Series: A- We PVR’d them all, and watched them in the evenings (or, admittedly, on lazy afternoons). I’m excited that a fourth is coming out, but less than enthused that Matt Damon isn’t it in.

Meals Eaten at Restaurants:  4

I swear, this is true. Now, I had several delicious meals at my parents’ house and at at friends’ homes, a potluck with my husband’s family, and a couple of Tim’s bagels, but we didn’t technically “eat out” at restaurants a whole lot. I ran the dishwasher almost every day, which is always a good barometer of how much I am actually cooking.

Oh, and just to randomly end things on my new share-more-with-my-readers note:

Number of grey hairs plucked: 2

So far I have maintained that any hair-colour changes are strictly for fun. Those days may be coming to an end.

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