Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Feeling Scrooged and Thankful

Tell me I'm not the only person who feels like life is a little on overdrive right now.  It has been a busy week.

This time of the year always does this to me, and with Thanksgiving here, it's not going to get any better anytime soon.  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, as Betty and Boo were born on that day!) and spending time with my family. 

Don't tell anyone, but I'm also very much looking forward to a couple days sans-kids. I love 'em, I truly do, but they're off from school this entire week and have been invited to spend a few of them with the grandparents while The Husband and I slip into simultaneous comas. I'll likely be doing some reading as part of the Thankfully Reading Weekend event being hosted by Beth Fish Reads, Jenn's Bookshelves, and Devourer of Books.  I participated last year, and it was a lot of fun.  (More details can be found at Jenn's Bookshelves.)

I'm not much in the holiday spirit, truth be told.  I would blame it on Scroogenomics, which I read this week and plan to review for you on Black Friday, given that its subtitle is Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays. 

While author Joel Waldfogel might partially be to blame, I think I'm getting more and more bah-freakin' humbug about Christmas every year. Seriously, my favorite Christmas was the first year that Betty and Boo were born; because they arrived on Thanksgiving Day as preemies, we didn't have any gifts purchased and nobody received anything ... and we all lived. It was glorious. 

This week I also (finally!) finished listening to the audiobook of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Oppression for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. As many others have said, this is one of the most inspiring and heartbreaking books I've ever read (or listened to).  There were many times I found myself cringing, smiling, on the verge of tears, and angry that such horrific depravity exists. There were times I had to turn off the CD, times when I thought I couldn't possibly listen to any more stories of such savage and inhumane acts.

And the irony wasn't lost on me. Here I am, an average middle class mom of two wonderful kids, college-educated and gainfully employed, cruising through the Starbucks drive through for a latte and I'm finding it too diffcult to listen to these stories when the victims would probably give anything to trade places with me and have the opportunities and blessings that I fully recognize I've been given. With what they've been through, with all their suffering and heartbreak, I felt that I owed it to them to hear their cries, to feel their pain, to listen to their stories.

With all the heavy reading I've been doing this week and my scrooged mood, I think I might need to spend a little time with these people over Thanksgiving weekend:

Because this was also a week with more than the usual amount of local travel (2 hours downstate for a funeral, 2 hours up to PA), I was able to listen to the first four CDs of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which is about 150 pages.  I think this is absolutely fascinating.  Anyway, now that I'm not driving as much this week, I'm reading the print version of this and thoroughly enjoying it.  I asked The Husband, who is the smartest person I know (seriously) if he'd ever heard of HeLa cells and he hadn't.  (Now, he's a historian and not a biologist, but still.) 

I'm thinking of purchasing this as a Christmas present for my mom. (It's OK that I've just revealed this on my blog, which she reads. We kind of have this thing where we oftentimes tell each other our Christmas presents. Don't ask, because I'm not quite sure if I have an explanation for it ... it's just something we do.)

Finally, one more thing from this week. On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being part of the audience for Beth Kephart's talk at the Radnor Memorial Library in Wayne, PA (along with two longtime, dear friends of mine, one of whom organized the event) and it was a fabulous night.  If you missed my blog post about the event, you can find it here (along with more photos from the festivities).  

I was (and am) thankful that I was able to be there, just as I was (and am) grateful to have special friends sharing the evening with me.

Just as I am thankful and grateful for you, reader of this blog. 

For all those who are celebrating this week, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


JoAnn said...

Scroogenomics, huh? That got my attention...will look forward to that review.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will definitely be one of my favorite books of the year, and the audio version is SO well done! I would have gotten a print copy to keep reading at home too, but the hold list was a mile long. So glad you're enjoying it.

Happy Thanksgiving, Melissa, and Happy Birthday to Betty and Boo!

Florinda said...

I'm hoping to do some Thankful Reading later this week too. Reading is about the only thing I'm thankful for after dislocating my shoulder again - I'm afraid it might make me a bit Scrooge-y too. Fortunately, my husband is picking up the slack!

Happy birthday to the twins, and a Happy Thanksgiving to your family!