Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

As the mother of 3 YEAR old and 3 WEEK old sons, you know a book has to be pretty good to get me blogging on it rather than using my downtime to research tube-tying surgery.

It's been some time since I have been truly inspired by an author (perhaps since Elizabeth Gilbert) and I am delighted to have discovered J.R. Moehringer. I know I said I was going to review some other books first but I got sleepy. So here are the other mini-reviews:

A Life in Smoke: A Memoir by Julia Hansen (4 stars, as a former smoker, really enjoyed it.)

Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (2.5 stars. It was OK, but only because I have nothing else to read, otherwise a bit boring)

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra (3 stars. A little disappointing, slightly boring)

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (3.5 stars, A little shallow, mildly humorous)

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (4 stars, love those WWII genre books, true life all the better, still, not the best book Ive read from that era, but interesting)

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls (4.5 stars, great memoir, really unique story)

Ok, so back to The Tender Bar...

First, I wasn't so sure about this book because the name was a little off-putting. I didn't know what it meant. I have this idea that women do most of the leisure reading, is that wrong and sexist? Maybe, but I doubt it. So, given that, the title of "bar" and the write up that it was about some guy growing up near a bar, though I love to knock some back when the opportunity arises, didn't inspire me. It sounded like a book for guys. Still, I was in a book lull, so I gave it a shot.

Well I will pull out the oldest cliche for JR- you know some people can play the notes, while others make beautiful music. JR is a writer in the truest and most elegant sense. Words must follow him around like the pied piper in endless admiration. He has "the Gift". It makes me never want to write anything again, which is how I typically react to other peoples good fortune and talents.

And yes, it is about him growing up near a bar, sort of, but it's really more about relationships and an incredibly funny/witty/wry guy and his perspective on life. He has amazing self clarity and it was a joy to read his prose. I'm sounding like a lunatic I sense, but while his story wasn't inspiring the way Eat Pray and Love was, his writing is so captivating, I'd gladly read about him taking out garbage.

Like most of my lazy reviews, I didn't summarize his book or plot, but suffice it to say, this guy deserves to be at the top of the Best Sellers list and he needs to write more- if he can. Sometimes, I think, telling ones own story has a charm that cannot be replicated in other stories, but still, JR should give it a shot because he is so funny and well, yes, I demand it.

I also wonder how people can write memoirs that include other people where the writers assessment of them lays them so bare. Are they friendless outcasts after publication? I get yelled at for even relaying a story under a fake name in my never-read blog, I cant imagine how some people feel about showing up in a best seller.

That random diatribe aside, this is a 5 star book because his writing is so charming and funny- he is truly in the class of great writers.

Buy the book!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now Mom to Two

True, it's been a while since I last blogged. I plead "newborn". That said, Alec is really a good baby, but even the best babies have a pesky habit of keeping mommys up at night. Especially when they are coupled with every husband's most prized invention- breastfeeding.

Ugh, it's killing me this time around. Despite nursing my first son for 13 months and mostly enjoying it, I already feel a little worn out with this one. Plus I'm tired of lugging around the "equipment" which I had forgotten will keep me out of all my normal clothes until I wean. Speaking of normal clothes, I am in no man's land here with about two pairs of running shorts that fit and a few big t-shirts. I forgot how depressing postpartum body deflation is. Scary really. You look so much worse not pregnant that pregnant in these early days- just all doughy and eew, I can't go on. I'm feeling hideous if you can't tell.

What I do have though, is a live in nanny. Honestly I don't know how you gals who have your second or more child and are alone all day with a toddler or preschooler, do it. I would be in a crumbled heap on the floor if I couldn't hand off my darling children for 3 hours every morning to the nanny while I go collapse in bed, slowly chomping on a percoset as I drift off to dreamland.

Oh yes, I appear to have a budding narcotic problem. Compliments of my lovely c-section, which has kept me leveled for weeks. Now it was necessary for the health of the baby, which I cherish and place above all else, but still, I'm irritable over this long long recovery. I am still not driving (3 weeks later) and just feel weak. Not liking it! So I have to keep calling for more pain meds for my nerve pain at the incision site and I think there is a BIG post it note on my file now with the words "DRUG SEEKER!" or close to it. I can't help it, when I get 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night, the last thing I feel like doing is "toughing out" the pain.

On the other hand, my firstborn 3 year old kingpin son Jack is doing FANTASTIC with the new baby. Even though it's true you don't love your first child any less with the arrival of a second, let's face it, it's not the same. Jack used to be our total focus and now he isn't. I even let him run around in mismatched clothes. I just can't keep the same level of dedication to him with another child. Still, he is doing so well, helping with diapers and coming to get me when the baby cries, its really sweet. Considering I was worried he would try to arrange for Fed Ex to pick the baby up and take him away. He wont hold him, but he will "pet" him as he says, stroking his hair. So that is a major success in these parts.

So that's where we are these days. Some minutes I marvel at how much I love my two beautiful boys and other minutes I swear if one of them wakes me up again I'm moving into a hotel, but we're getting by. I know these early days go by in a flash, so I'm trying to really treasure the best parts.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Welcome Baby Alec

I forgot how much I love babies...I could stay in these moments forever.

Alec arrived 6/27/07 via scheduled c-section (my first) at 38 weeks. He was 7lbs, 11ozs. Can't say the c-section is the easiest way to go, but he was born healthy and problem-free, so it's all worth it.

He has thick, almost-black, hair and is perfect in every way. His skin is as soft as the most supple suede and his coo's are the sweetest baby sounds. He almost never cries and is just my sweet cuddle baby. It's good we are getting along so famously since he nurses 50 times a day (so it seems).

Big Brother Jack stepped up and potty trained himself the same week (I think I am safe calling this a success, we are almost at 2 weeks now without day time pull ups). He doesnt seem to mind the baby, telling him he loves him, helping me change his diapers, just so long as he "doesnt have to hug him".

I'm definately having more of these.