My Sisters Keeper and a Julie and Julia Follow-up

During Allison's visit this past weekend, we ended up renting a few movies on Sunday because she got horrifically sick. We rented My Sisters Keeper and Julie and Julia (in case you hadn't figured that out yet from the Blog Title) :-).

I REALLY wanted to see My Sisters Keeper because I was absolutely in love with the book. I finished it about 3 months ago but I read it in only a few days. Just could not put the book down it was so moving. I bawled when I finished the book and I gushed over it to anyone that would listen. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for a weekend that I could rent it and watch it where Terry was busy so that I wouldn't have to put him through having to watch it too (not his thing). Allison being sick was the perfect opportunity.

Now I'm not going to give a lot away about the movie for those of you who haven't seen it yet. The premise of the story is about a family's struggle with one of the children having acute promyelocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. There are three children; the oldest son Jesse, the middle daughter Kate (who is the one with cancer), and the youngest Anna. Anna was an engineered child, meaning she was genetically created to be a perfect match as a donor for Kate when they found out that Kate had Leukemia and Jesse was not a match. Since Anna was born, she has been giving her blood and her bone marrow to Kate. Kate's kidneys have started malfunctioning and the parents are wanting Anna to give one of her kidneys to Kate to keep her alive. The main development in the story comes when Anna hires a lawyer to claim medical emanicipation from her parents so that she can have control over her body and no longer be Kates donor. Each chapter in the book is from a different person in the family's perspective of the situation while still moving the timeline forward. It is a powerful book that pulls you in so many directions all while having you on the verge of tears through every flip of the page. Even though it is a fiction novel, it feels like it is a true story that could happen to anyone at anytime. My review of the book..... IF YOU ARE CAPABLE OF READING, BUY THIS BOOK!!!

Now onto my review of the movie.....If you have read the book (which you should be purchasing on Amazon.com right now if you have not), you will want to throw things at your TV at the end of the movie so make sure no heavy objects are in close proximity. I cursed a lot of the end of it, after I picked my jaw up off the floor. The ending in the book and the ending in the movie are complete opposites. But the thing that gets me is that the ending in the book is MADE for a movie. It adds so much complexity that it just makes no sense that they would even have the notion of changing it. It's the part of the book that I was most looking forward to seeing in the movie. I'm still bitter a bit, so sorry for the instantaneous rant.

As for the characters in the film, the casting director did a phenomenal job. I was a little skeptical of Cameron Diaz as the mother, but she did an excellent job in that role. Abigail Breslin was incredible as well in her role as Anna, but by far the best actor in the movie was the girl who played Kate, Sofia Vassilieva. I read up on her a little bit yesterday because I didn't know if she had been in anything else before this movie. In the article I read, she shaved her her bald as well as shaved her eyebrows off for the role as Kate and said it was the least she could do to come close to what Kate was going through in the movie.

After I had calmed down a bit after screaming at the TV and the writers and the producers and the novelist who allowed her book's ending to be changed (this took a little time), we watched Julie and Julia starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

From my post a few weeks ago, I was completely accurate with my hypothesis that the movie would be better than the book. I absolutely loved it! I think that Amy Adams is one of my new favorite actresses. She is so captivating to watch, and all of her little quirks make me laugh. Meryl Streeps voice as Julia Child annoyed Allison, but I'd seen and heard Julia on cooking shows before, so I thought it was quite endearing. I got a lot of really good laughs in, and overall I would definitely recommend people to watch the movie over reading the book. I am, however, now going to read My Life in France, which chronicles Julia Childs time in Paris with Paul and going to La Cordon Bleu.


St. Louis Cathedral Basilica

The last day that Jeff was in town, we worked on the house in the morning and then headed over to the city until his flight at 4pm. We stopped and took a few more pictures of the Arch from the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, then headed over to The New Cathedral, also called the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. I didn't take any pictures of the outside, so here's one I found online.

It is really quite remarkable, with how large it is as well as the art inside. We got a little nervous getting ready to walk into the church seeing as neither of us had been to a church in QUITE some time. When we walked in, the doors are just massive and you enter a hall that is all gold mosaic with intricate mosaic portraits intertwined throughout.

The next two pictures are a regular shot and then a zoomed in shot in case you dont' know what Mosaics are. The mosaics collectively contain 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces in more than 7,000 colors that cover 83,000 square feet. It is the largest mosaic collections in the world and it was completed in 1988. Other than some walls made partially with granite or tiling, the entire Cathedral is a Mosaic.

Another part of this church that I found interesting was it's interior/exterior construction. From the very first picture of the outside, it looks as though there is only one centralized dome in the church. In actuality, there are 3 full domes and two half domes. The exterior is a Romanesque architecture, all with rigid lines and one piece (the dome) that stands out centralized. The interior is a Byzantine Architecture that is more rounded and flowing. You can see from the next layout of the church that there is actually an 80ft. differential between the central dome's height on the interior from the dome on the exterior of the church.

The stained glass in the front entrance and the rear entrance of the church were made by Tiffany and Co. for the church.

Dome over the Altar of the 12 Apostles.

Within the church there are 4 chapels in each corner. This was our favorite chapel. The doorway into this section is from the US Ambassador to Austria at that time. It was quite an entrance.

Here is a statue of King Louis. He is always pictured as a young boy because he started his reign at such a young age.

You can be sure that if you come to visit us in St. Louis, this will be one of the places I want to take to show you. It is unlike anything I have ever seen before, and definitely worth the time to go and see it.


"That Arch is F^#!&*ing Huge!"~ Jeff

During Jeff's trip out here, we spent a little time in the city. Terry made the suggestion on Sunday that we should all go downtown and do a little sight-seeing. Jeff and I were still in work-mode but we pulled ourselves away from it and raced to get ready so we could see the sunset. Jeff got so many better pictures than I did, but here is a glimpse. This first one was walking in from the parking deck through the trees.

In the next picture, just to give some perspective, the round building in the center of the arch is 28 stories tall. I didn't know this fact until we went into the gift shop, but the Arch is taller than the Seattle Needle, the Washington Monument, and the Statue of Liberty. Another interesting little fact, and it's an optical illusion because you wouldn't think it just by looking at it, but the Arch is as tall as it is wide. It's 630ft from the ground to the top, and it's 630ft from one base to the other.

This was as we were about to go in to go to the top. It's WAY up there!!!

Us at the top of the Arch.

The Mississippi River has all kinds of floating ice from up north coming down to us. The picture doesn't show it well, but some of those pieces are huge! It was really pretty from the top.

At dusk after we were leaving the Arch. Always love how the sky changes color in the evening.

After the Arch, we drove around and saw the Rams Stadium, the Cardinals Stadium, we drove by where I work and we drove by the Cathedral Basilica (my next post will be pictures from here). We went down Lindell Blvd. which is where are the enormous homes are, and ended up coming around to have dinner in The Hill, which is like Little Italy in NYC. It's a small area just south of Forest Park that is the Italian Mecca of St. Louis. We ate at a Restaurant called Gian-Tony's which was out of this world. Of our three meals, Terry's won by a landslide, but they were all fantastic. Terry got the Pollo Spedini; a breaded & rolled chicken breast, stuffed with broccoli & provel cheese, served in a peppercorn cream sauce with broccoli.

We came home, bellies stuffed, worked a little longer on the house, and had a great nights rest. St. Louis treated us very well!


It's Electric! Boogie woogie, woogie!

Sorry for the slack in writing, but I promise you I have a legit excuse! My brother, Jeff, was in town from Friday morning through Monday evening helping us with all of the electrical in the house. We got a lot accomplished in the house during the trip, and I also got to see a few places in St. Louis that I've never been before.

He got in with a smooth flight Friday, which I was concerned about because we just had the snow storm come through. We had originally talked about going up the Arch when he got here, but it was still overcast so we decided just to go straight to the house. It took us a good majority of Friday to just get our list together of what we were needing as far as supplies from Lowes. Terry had to go to work Friday, but met us at Lowes after work, and in doing so, he added recessed lights for the kitchen to the list. We worked a little friday night, but wanted to get a good nights rest for Saturday.

While Jeff and I worked on the light switches and receptacles, Terry worked on deciding where he wanted the holes in the kitchen ceiling for the recessed lights. I love my boyfriend, but there are times that he is a peculiar being. It took over 4 hours to decide where 6 recessed lights were going to be placed, and that's not including all the time in the past weeks leading up to the install of deciding where their placement would be. He tacked up strings, he thought....re-thought, climbed up and down in the attic easily 10 times. Finally, they started cutting holes.

Once all the holes were cut, we had to take that hideous chandelier down, which instantly made the room look larger.

Then Jeff had to go up and install the recessed lighting boxes and do all the wiring. Finished product is a full days work, but it looks SO good! The amount of light they put out is perfect and it looks very updated.

We spent half a day Sunday continuing on with all of the outlets and light switches, and spent the second half of the day in downtown St. Louis. On Monday we did the same thing, worked on the house in the morning and then the afternoon up until Jeff's flight back to Delaware doing the sightseeing fun. We are so happy with everything that got completed. I certainly feel a lot safer knowing that everything is grounded now. Look for a post tomorrow on our fun sight-seeing from the weekend.



Julie and Julia

I just finished reading this book on Sunday night while half watching the football game (there wasn't much going on in that game honestly worth watching). I have mixed reviews about the book, and can honestly not give a definitive response as to whether I would or would not recommend it to others.

If you haven't already seen the previews of the movie that is out now based on her blog and this book, in general it is following a woman who is lost in her life and so she decides that she is going to cook all of the recipes in Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking book in one year. She hopes that in a years time she will be able to figure out what she is doing with her life and that devoting herself to a lengthy goal will help her get there.

Overall, it was a very easy read. The writer is very cynical, sarcastic, and curses far too much, but there were many times that I laughed out loud at the things she was attempting. She jumped around a lot with timelines and even within chapters, she would start at one timeframe, hop backwards to explain something from weeks before but not really explain that she had hopped time, and then hop back. There were a few places I had to re-read parts to keep on track. And there were lots of add-ins with her job and with her friends that just felt like filler material moreso that added value to the overall story.
The major complaint that I suppose I have with this book, the same with the book The Soloist, is that 99% of the time, a book far surpasses the movie made about it. This book unfortunately does not meet that standard, and even though I have still not seen the movie (that's my thing....read the book then see the movie, just haven't gotten the time yet), I believe hands-down that the movie is going to be better.

So, of course, if you're a reader, I would tell you to read it, but as far as a standing ovation or pushy recommendation.....it would be to rent the DVD.