Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly-ish post featuring five things that caught my attention this week.
1) We celebrated our daughter-in-law's birthday with dinner at Boqueria, a fantastic Spanish tapas restaurant in our neighborhood. She is a big reader (like her mother-in-law) and I wanted to do something fun for her birthday. I've seen on social media where people have done a combo Blind Date With a Book/ Book of the Month gift and thought that would be perfect. I chose 12 books for her, wrapped each one in bookish gift wrap, and wrote a short description of each book along with the month she should read each one. It was so much fun choosing the books, and I can't wait to hear her opinions on each book.
2) Speaking of Spanish and books, someone donated this Spanish-language book- "Una Visita a la Estación de Bomberos de Sesame Street" (A Visit to Sesame Street Firehouse) to the Book Cellar. When our sons were little boys, they would watch the Sesame Street Goes to the Firehouse video so many times, we wore the VHS tape out. They would watch the video and then don their firefighing gear (red boots, red rain coats, plastic red firefighter helmets), go outside and grab the hose to fight the fire. (Our neighbors got a big kick out that when they would extinguish the imaginary fire on the garage roof.) I had to buy it, it brought back such fond memories.
3) While running errands, I saw two signs in a window that caught my attention. They were advertising wedding officiant services, and if you wanted to elope, this apparently is the place to go. It got me thinking that I could advertise my Wedding Officiant services, but I'm not sure who could see the sign in my 36th floor apartment window.
4) We watched the movie Elvis on HBOMax this week. It was fantastic, and Austin Butler literally channels Elvis from his early days to his sad end. It was hard to believe that you weren't watching the actual Elvis at times. The story is narrated by Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' manager who, while making Elvis a household name, also manipulated Elvis and his parents. Parker created him and then destroyed him. Tom Hanks plays Parker in a role that most of us are not used to seeing Hanks- as a villain. Baz Luhrman does a masterful job directing this movie that manages to get in almost every iconic Elvis song. Butler has won many awards for his performance, and an Oscar may be headed his way. You don't have to be an Elvis Presley fan to enjoy this fantastic movie, I highly recommend it. (My favorite part was the recreation of Elvis' 1968 comeback special.)
5) I read a brilliant novel this week- Mesha Maren's Perpetual West. (My full review is here.) It tells the story of a young couple- Alex, a Mexican man who was adopted by West Virginia evangelicals as a young boy, and his wife Elana, whose family took Alex in as a college student. They moved from West Virginia to El Paso on the Mexican border, and they spend a lot of time in Juarez, Mexico. Alex is writing his thesis on lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) and he falls in love with Mateo, a wrestler who ends up unwittingly involved with the leader of a drug cartel. Elana returns from a visit back home with her family to find Alex has gone missing. The story follows Alex and Mateo as they are being held by the cartel, and Elana's search for him, hampered by her poor Spanish-speaking skills and her secret battle with anorexia. The characters are so well-drawn here, you empathize with each of them. Another high recommendation from me.
I hope you are all staying safe and healthy in 2023. Until next time.