Posts Tagged ‘silliness’

clue film cast

The hubs and I recently watched Clue, for the first time in a while. We quote it incessantly (“Flames on the side of my face!” “Well, to make a long story short…” “Too late!”) but it had been several years since we’d enjoyed it in full. If you love the board game, the ’80s or ridiculously campy humor, I highly recommend it.

Afterward, I mentioned a trend I’ve noticed recently: Most of our favorite movies involve a lot of yelling.

I don’t mean my favorite movies (You’ve Got Mail, The Sound of Music) or his favorite movies (Schindler’s List, Field of Dreams). I mean our favorite movies: the ones we love to watch together. The ones we quote on a daily or weekly basis. The ones that make up a substantial part of our vernacular, along with a few beloved TV shows: Friends, Castle and Modern Family, which also frequently get loud.

A partial list: The Emperor’s New Groove. (“Yay! I’m a llama again!”) Pirates of the Caribbean. (“Why is the rum gone?!”) Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (“I don’t know that!”) The Princess Bride. (“Inconceivable!”) The original Star Wars films, both for the battle scenes and C-3PO’s incessant cries of “We’re doomed!” And, of course, anything and everything involving the Muppets. Even White Christmas, thanks to Danny Kaye, has its fair share of shouting. Honorable mentions include The Money Pit, Singin’ in the Rain (Cosmo Brown!) and the old Pink Panther films starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.

Some of it’s a function of the genres we watch together. Adventure and comedy films inevitably involve a fair bit of noise: explosions, shouting matches, attempts to save the world – or just the day – gone horribly wrong. (The Muppets’ adventures tend to include all of the above.) There’s also a lot of winking at the camera: whether the characters overtly break the fourth wall (or smash right through it, in the case of the Muppets), the audience is almost always in on the joke.

I can’t forget the nostalgia factor, of course – we’ve loved and quoted a lot of these movies, especially New Groove, Pirates and Clue, since our college days. And honestly, a lot of times it’s pure escapism. I usually don’t have a socially acceptable reason to scream at the top of my lungs, but it cracks me up when my favorite characters do it: “They don’t KNOW we know they know we know!”

I love a sweet romantic comedy or a beautifully shot epic saga as much as the next viewer. My husband is partial to dark psychological thrillers, which, frankly, creep me out. But if we’re on the couch together, you can usually find us watching something funny. And cracking up when things get loud.

Do you notice any oddball themes in your favorite movies?


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katie green coat black ink

A color story:

For several years, my favorite coat has been the jade-green wool one I found at a consignment shop in downtown Boston. It matches my eyes (like a certain Boy Who Lived, I have my mother’s green eyes) and it is warm, stylish and comfortable. It also garners compliments – from friends and strangers – like no other article of clothing I’ve ever owned.

When I started showing up at Darwin’s every day, some of the staff came to know me initially as “the girl in the green coat.” (They know my name now, and they also know my fondness for their chai lattes, shortbread cookies and soups of every kind.)

My green coat – with a warm scarf, fleece-lined tights and appropriate footwear – is perfect for many, if not most, winter days in Boston. But occasionally, we have arctic blasts (or blizzards) that send the temperatures dropping to near zero. That means I need to pull out the big guns: my knee-length, hooded, quilted down coat, which is red. (In the mornings, when I look around the subway platform, I’m often the only person not wearing black or gray.)


A few weeks back, I walked into Darwin’s on a single-digit day wearing my red coat, and chatted with a friend behind the counter before going up to place my order. The staff member working the register stared at me for a moment in utter disbelief.

“Katie!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t even know who you were when you walked in!” I laughed out loud, and reassured her that the green coat would be back soon.

I told my husband this story that night. His comment? “Only you could wear a red coat and go incognito.”

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tulips candle dog table

If you know me in real life, you might know that I have a thing for dachshunds. (I could not resist that dachshund creamer, above, at Fish’s Eddy in NYC last fall.) My family had two dachshunds when I was growing up: Molly, a black-and-gray dapple with a fondness for long naps, and later Peanut, a black mini dachshund who wanted to play all day long.

Both of those sweet dogs are long gone now, and we can’t have a dog in our current apartment. But lately I’m getting my dachshund cuteness fix through Instagram.

It started with Mary Todd Lincoln, a tiny dappled dachshund (with amazingly fuzzy ears) who is one of the resident shop dogs at Parnassus Books (Ann Patchett’s bookstore) in Nashville.

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Sunday funday. #marytoddlincoln #FLOTUS #dachshundappreciation

A post shared by Mary Todd Lincoln (@marytoddlincolncoffman) on


I mean. Is she not completely adorable? She also likes to accessorize – or tolerates her humans’ tendency to accessorize her.



The second account I’m obsessed with is Harlow and Sage – which these days actually means Harlow, a Weimaraner with the funniest facial expressions, and Indiana and Reese, her dachshund pals.




They are seriously silly, and seriously cute.



The third account I love is Riley the Dachshund. Riley is a tiny black mini dachshund (I swear he looks just like Peanut) who was adopted via the Puppy Bowl.


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Hi! Play with me?

A post shared by Riley The Dachshund (@rileythedoxie) on


My husband rolls his eyes sometimes when I have to show him all the cute dachshund photos at the end of the day. But they make me so happy.

Any animals you’re obsessed with on Instagram or other social media? (What a strange world we live in.)

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bag contents

Journal, keys, wallet, notepads, makeup bag, various toiletry items, and always a handful of pens.

What’s in your bag?

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agatha christie n or m nectarine summer

This is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

—William Carlos Williams

A little whimsy to conclude National Poetry Month. Happy Friday.

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Valencia 116

I love both tea and chocolate, but I don’t usually like tea with chocolate in it. But I am loving the Read My Lips tea I bought at David’s Tea last month. Rich, satisfying and slightly minty. (I bought it when I ran out of Santa’s Secret, their holiday black tea blend with peppermint.)

I don’t usually care for crude humor, but Tommy Boy makes me laugh so hard I weep. (Partly because I first watched it with my cousin Andy – and watching him crack up was even funnier than the movie itself.)

I’m not a coffee drinker, but on a trip to Spain a few years back, I tried cafe con leche and savored every sip. (See above for photographic evidence.)

I’m not a devotee of fantasy lit in general, but it is difficult to overstate my love for both the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Pure magic, these books, in all the best ways.

I didn’t think I liked hot pink (my sister is the pink-obsessed one), but a college roommate brought me a bright pink scarf from a trip to New York long ago and I still wear it all the time. (That one wasn’t so much an exception as a misperception.)

I grew up with spontaneous prayer, so a lot of memorized prayers feel forced in my mouth, but there are two that come easily: the Lord’s Prayer and the table prayer of my grandparents.

I’d almost always rather read a novel than short stories, but I’ve loved this collection of stories inspired by the Sherlock Holmes canon. Really fun and clever.

What are the exceptions in your life?

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Back in January, Leigh confessed that her To-Be-Read (TBR) pile had burst the boundaries of its allotted shelf. We book nerds all know this delicious, addictive problem – the teetering pile of books you want to read, the library holds that come in seemingly at their own whim, the books picked up on a quick run to the bookstore. Soon the last batch of books you bought, fully intending to read them, is buried under the next one. (This problem gets worse if you’re a reviewer who receives advance copies in the mail.)

Leigh issued herself a February Reading Challenge: for one month, the shortest month of the year, she pledged to read only books she owned. No library books, no buying new books. She invited us all to join in, and because my TBR table usually boasts four or five stacks of books, I took the pledge.

Then, of course, the holds – all six of them – came in at the library.

library book stack

I couldn’t ignore the library stack. So I started the month working through it, eventually reading four of those books (I abandoned two). I also read the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, bought at the end of January, and a novel borrowed from a friend (Orphan Train).

Mid-month, I reread two middle-grade books about ice dancing (just in time for the Olympics), and tackled Spy Mom, a two-book set that had sat on my TBR table since August. (And – ahem – a few more library books, since apparently I cannot stop placing the library holds. It’s a sickness.)

Throughout the month, I read six of the advance copies that pile up on my TBR table. (One of them was Micha’s memoir, Found, which is SO good.) And I savored Brigid Pasulka’s wonderful second novel, The Sun and Other Stars.

So how did I do? Not too badly, until the last week of the month, when I bought two new books I haven’t read. (I’d bought one used book before that, but I’d already read it, so it didn’t expand the TBR stack.) But thanks to the copious library books, and the 12 (!) ARCs that came in the mail this month, the piles on the TBR table are unwieldy as ever.

tbr table books march 2014

I’m considering giving up book-buying for Lent, which starts this week, but I wonder if that will just make me cranky. Perhaps I need to tackle a certain number of books from the TBR table each week? Or clear off the ones I know I won’t read? (I do that regularly with the ARCs anyway.)

Your opinions – and book-nerd sympathy – are welcome. And if you participated in the February Reading Challenge, how did you do?

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This is, as I’ve said before, my fourth winter in Boston. And while I’ve learned a few tricks for bundling up against the cold and navigating the snow-lined, slushy streets, I am continually astounded by the sheer volume of what I didn’t know about these winters before living through them.

Hence, a list.

snow harvard cambridge ma winter

1. Winter has a particular scent – a crisp, cold, thin one. On the first few truly frigid mornings, you can smell it in the air.
2. The days grow abruptly shorter after Daylight Savings Time ends, and this is almost more difficult than the cold.
3. Road salt is hell on boots, shoes, and dogs’ feet. (Hence the silly-looking dog booties I see around town sometimes.)
4. Clorox cleaning wipes are pretty good for cleaning road salt off said boots.
5. Sometimes the snow is thick enough that people actually have to shovel their porch roofs, lest they collapse under the weight of it.
6. Black ice is a real thing, and it is slippery, treacherous and nearly invisible.
7. The temperatures can drop low enough that it’s too cold to snow – and when the mercury rises and the snow starts falling, it actually feels warmer.
8. Down is appreciably warmer than wool.
9. Related: you need at least one down coat and one wool coat, for different types of cold days.
10. Blasting heaters indoors and frigid air outdoors make layers a necessity, and dry skin, flyaway hair, and dripping noses an inevitability. (I grew up in a warm, dry climate, where winter is a totally different and much gentler animal.)
11. Related: damp cold can be harder to take than crisp, dry cold. The former gets into your bones.
12. Piles of gray slush are infinitely harder and more depressing to walk through than fresh snow.
13. Related: puddles of melting snow/sludge can be deceptively deep.
14. Seeing light in the sky at 5:00 p.m. feels like a real victory.
15. Related: December, with its twinkly good cheer, is only the beginning of winter. The longest, hardest slog comes afterward.
16. It is possible to hate the cold and have cabin fever at the same time.
17. Your attitude toward snow changes dramatically after you watch it bury your car and street several times.
18. Related: sometimes it takes days for the snowplow to reach your street.
19. Also related: there are some streets and sidewalks that never do get plowed.
20. Despite the above, city workers and the maintenance folks at my workplace are my new heroes.
21. As long as the power’s on, you usually have to go to work no matter how bad it gets.
22. I wouldn’t have believed it, but it is possible to get tired of soup.
23. Spring clothes are infinitely tempting and also crazy-making, because you know you won’t be able to wear them till at least (at least!) April or May.
24. Taking a vacation to a warm place really does help.
25. As do Vitamin D pills and light boxes. But they are not cure-alls.
26. The sight of bare, damp earth can feel positively springy, even if it is mid-February.
27. Ditto crocuses, even if they’re peeking through snow.
28. The subway often runs more smoothly on a snow day than on a normal one.
29. If the winter is long enough and cold enough, you may start to go a little nuts and make lists like this one.

snow hood jacket

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Nov 2013 008

My friend Jessica over at Quirky Bookworm is turning 31 today (happy birthday, Jess!).

In honor of her birthday, she’s hosting a #bookwormproblems linkup – so we book nerds can moan together (while being secretly delighted) about the problems that come from our book addictions.

Nov 2013 012

  • My biggest #bookwormproblem is in the first photo above: too many books, too little storage space. I have to stack and slot books on top of the shelved ones to fit everything in. (And that’s only one of my half-dozen bookshelves.)
  • The second problem is in the second photo above: a massive, teetering set of To-Read stacks. What on earth do I read next? (The answer, in the case of this photo, was Early Decision, which was excellent.)
  • I don’t cry in public very often, but when I do, it’s usually because I’m reading an affecting book on the subway and have to furtively wipe away tears.
  • I’m a fast reader and I’m always reading more than one book at once – which means I’m constantly lugging several books in my shoulder bag, back and forth from work. (I commute on the subway.)
  • Related: I have a serious horror of getting caught without something to read.
  • Also related: I always pack far too many books when I go on vacation.
  • Like Jessica, I’m a reviewer for Shelf Awareness, and I have a constantly shifting calendar of review deadlines in my head. This gets complicated if it overlaps with the next problem…
  • Library deadlines! I have a horror of paying library fines, and I often check out new releases that can’t be renewed, so I get panicky if a book’s due date is approaching and I haven’t started it yet.
  • I often get well-meaning book recs from people who don’t know me (or my tastes) well. Example: the friend of a friend I met a couple summers ago, who immediately turned to me and exclaimed, “Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?” (Um, NO.)
  • However, sometimes a friend convinces me to try a book I don’t think I’ll like, and I end up enjoying it – which means I have to eat my words. Most recently, my sister pushed a couple of Emily Giffin books on me: one was so-so, but I did enjoy the other one. And most famously, Valerie convinced me to try Harry Potter, and (bless her) she never even said “I told you so.”
  • Related: I hate admitting to a friend that I didn’t like a book he or she recommended.
  • Sometimes when I like a book, I start following the author on Twitter, only to discover that I like the real-life person much less than his or her characters.
  • I have a huge collection of bookmarks, but I can rarely find one when I need it.
  • If I buy one or two books in a series, I get a serious urge to collect them all. (Witness my growing Dorothy Sayers stack.)
  • Related: I often can’t stop myself from buying a new release in a beloved series right when it comes out, usually in hardcover. (I can’t wait to buy the latest Flavia de Luce book in January.)
  • I am a stickler for grammar, punctuation, etc., and repeated typos (especially common in advance copies of books) set my teeth on edge. (I also write and edit for a living.)
  • Occasionally, I learn a word’s meaning from a book but I don’t know how to pronounce it – which is also Leigh’s bookworm problem.
  • I get emotionally attached to fictional characters. I miss them after I finish their stories, and I get seriously annoyed when a film interpretation of a character doesn’t match my mental image.
  • Related: I am critical of movie adaptations of my favorite books, most notably Little Women. (I read it so many times when I was young that when I finally saw the movie, the characters – especially Laurie – seemed all wrong and I couldn’t stop thinking about what they left out.)

This list grew longer than I thought it would! But I love being a bookworm, and I secretly love having most of these #bookwormproblems. (Except I really do wish I had more bookshelf space…)

It’s your turn – if you have #bookwormproblems, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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book culture shop interior nyc

I have a book-buying problem.

There are many reasons for this, chief among them my deep love for the written word and the preponderance of great bookstores in Boston (where I live) and specifically in Harvard Square (where I work).

Within half a mile of my office are at least five bookstores, including Harvard’s mammoth campus bookstore; a basement used bookshop full of scholarly titles; a foreign-language bookshop; a tiny bookshop devoted exclusively to poetry; and a big, eclectic independent bookstore with titles on hundreds of subjects and a basement bursting with used books. After living most of my life in bookshop-poor West Texas, I can hardly believe all these literary riches are at my fingertips.

I’m over at Jessica’s site, Quirky Bookworm, today, talking about my book-buying addiction. Click over there to read the rest of my post!

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