They’re Playing Our Song

I had the good fortune of living a train ride away from New York City. This meant that Broadway and the fantastic world of musicals and drama was close by.  My parents loved the theater.  It was not unusual for them to drag us on the train to the city where we would stand on line at the tkts booth to see something that would turn out to be either fantastic or a dud.  Lucky for me there were more fantastic shows than duds and so I fell in love with the theater.

Music was a very big part of my life.  I took dance lessons from the time I can remember.  I was pretty good but probably would not have made it in the dance world.  At first I wanted to be a Rockette.  I mean didn’t every young dancer that grew up in the shadows of Radio City Music Hall want to be a Rockette?

I remember seeing that kick line for the very first time.  They were in the Macy’s Day Parade every year.  I figured I could lift my leg and kick like the best of them.  That might be true but I had one tiny little obstacle to overcome.  There was a height requirement.  I was 5 feet and the minimum height was 5’6″.  I tried my best to grow taller but it didn’t happen.  So no Rockettes for me.  In fact it turns out that I had significant spine issues so dancing as a profession was not to be.

It didn’t matter.  I had a fall back plan anyway.  I was going to navigate my life through the wonderful world of Information Technology!

So what does this have to do with Carole Bayer Sager and why did I choose her book to read.  It is simple she wrote beautiful music.  In fact one of my favorite songs is “The Prayer” and my favorite artists singing it, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli .  (Josh Groban and Celine also sang the song together which is my second favorite combo). She and David Foster, also a favorite of mine wrote this song.

In addition to her writing more Pop songs she wrote They’re Playing Our Song which just so happens to be one of the musicals I saw on Broadway. It is, at least according to the book, loosely written about her relation with Marvin Hamlisch. Who by the way is another favorite of mine.

Needless to say I bought the album and sang the songs for weeks and weeks. Sadly or not her relationship with Marvin Hamlisch did not work out.  She moved on to work with Burt Bacharach who also was an incredible writer.  They married but the Marriage did not make it.  Not that this matters at all but I never really liked Bacharach.

Her stories are interesting.  It still boggles my mind how insecure all these amazingly talented people really are.  I guess it is the stress of composing the next hit. It seems like the next hit is what make them relevant and that is what they live for.

If you like music, want some insight on what it takes to compose music and lyrics and anecdotes about famous people read this book.  I mean she was best buds with Elizabeth Taylor!

Just to tantalize you here is  Robert Klein and Luci Arnez singing the main number.


Drop Dead Easy Knits

My Mom was an incredible knitter.  Growing up she always had a project going.  Instead of watching TV at night she would knit.  She made beautiful dresses and sweaters with very intricate patterns.

She taught me how to knit but alas I did not have her talent.  I knit one sweater when I lived in Germany. The pattern was in German but I managed to muddle though with the help of a co-worker.  I think it came out but the pattern was a no nonsense pattern with basically dong one row of knit and one of purl. But I finished it and I wore it.

I made some scarves and even gave one to my Mom. But then I got busy and pretty much gave up knitting.

Then I received  this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  It has a project for just about everyone including me.  The project that caught my eye was the leg warmers.  I love how they look inside the top of your boot and the pattern in the book is very manageable.

Not into leg warmers or boot toppers, there are 29 other projects for you to do.  So pick up some knitting needles and join me.

The Invisible Thread

I read this book in one evening.  One evening! She was a sales executive and he was a pan handler. They both lived in Manhattan just two blocks away from each which is still hard to believe.  One day she passed him on the street and he asked her for money.  Initially she passed him by after all so many people asked for money in New York City,

She started crossing the street when for some inexplicable reason she turned around and went back to talk with him.  Turns out he was hungry and she took him to McDonald’s where they ate lunch together.  From that day on they had this Invisible Thread that tied them together.

In a way, there were similarities in the way the grew up.  Although she lived on Long Island’s North Shore, she came from a very abusive environment. Outwardly she appeared to be from a lower middle class family that looked normal from the outside but it was anything but that.

Maurice for the most part lived on the streets.  Every one of his family member were on drugs except him. His father and Uncles were abusive.  His Mother was an addict in and out of jail. Life was incredibly hard and the fact that he survived was amazing.

They started having Dinner every Monday.  They became family and while Laura may have helped save Maurice’s life, he did the same for her.  It was truly an unusual friendship between two very different people and it was a great book.

Listen to Maurice in his own words.

The Clancys of Queens

Every family has its own rhythm.  What seems odd to you feels like home to them.  Tara Clancy wrote The Clancys of Queens to talk about her family.

Obviously part of her life was lived in queens but because of the man that her mother met after she divorced Tara’s father she also had a glimpse of what life was like in the Hamptons.  It certainly proved to be two very different worlds

Her grandparents were very influential in her life since her Mom was a single Mother and she spent a good deal of time with them.  I can so identify with spending time with a grandmother since mine moved in with us when I was in Muddle School.  She was there when we came home for school and was like a second Mother.

Before she moved in with us, she would rent a place in Far Rockaway during the summer.  If I was very lucky I got to visit her at the beach for a few weeks.  When my Grandfather was alive he would take us to play Skee Ball on the boardwalk.  Sadly he died when I was in elementary school but I still spent time with my Grandmother.

This was a quick read and I found it to be an interesting read…

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”


No Man’s Land

All I can say is thank God for David Baldacci and a long holiday weekend. I just never tire of his books and this one has one of my favorite characters, John Puller.

John Puller’s Dad is a three star General loved by the men who served with him but not particularly close to John. His Mother disappeared when he was young.  This fact was buried in the memories of the Puller men and really never spoken about until a former neighbor accuses Fuller Sr. of killing his wife.

It is plausible because evidently his Mom and Dad were not getting along well.  Also his Dad was suppose to be out of town but as it turns out he returned a day early even though he did not come to the house right away.

John sets out to clear his Father’s name and steps knee deep into a Government cover up.  His books are always fast paced with a good story.  Once again he stares death in the face and is lucky to be alive.

I can’t wait for him to write his next book!


Before the Fall

Eleven passengers or should I say souls in airplane speak, board a private jet one summer evening.  About fifteen minutes into the flight something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash.  Two on-board survive.  The two survivors find themselves in the middle of the ocean and only because of pure determination do they make it to shore.

Several of the people on the plane were high profile kind of guys. Immediately, as is always the case, there is speculation about what caused the crash.  Sadly one of the first questions in any crash now a days is Was it an act of terror?  After that the usual scenarios are reviewed.

What was most interesting about this book was how the author created the story by telling all the back stories about the passengers and the crew.  His take on media coverage was interesting and frightening.  As we have seen many times once the media gets involved the story takes on a life of its own.  I am all for getting information out to the public and transparency etc, but sometimes a journalist will go a little too far and create a story.  The story may ultimately prove to be wrong and innocent people become collateral damage.

Put Before the Fall on your reading list.


French Women Don’t Get Fat

french women

I can’t believe I have just become aware of this book now.  I mean it has been out since 2007! I actually listened to the audio version which I thoroughly enjoyed since the author herself narrated.  She has a lovely French accent.  More importantly, I really enjoyed the content.  It made so much sense. I used the strategy yesterday which was Thanksgiving.  I tasted everything but made sure my portions were small, no seconds and when it came to dessert, I ate a few bites of my pie than decided to save the rest for the next day.