Back To The Attic

So Saturday was the big night, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC!



I went to my Mom’s to watch, and I have to say it was a good time.  First, the movie was pretty good, sure there were elements I didn’t go for that were not in the book.  The electric fence and Butler John helping them got a big old “WHY?” from me – but on the whole, not bad.  Ellen Burstyn was great as the evil Granny, and frankly there were a few times when I felt she had a little humanity, just a tinge mind you.  Kiernan Shipka was great as Cathy and Mason Dye was exactly how I pictured Christopher.   I would have liked there to be a little more of Corrine, for me she’s always been the real monster in the story.  But on the whole, not bad.

The best part was watching with my mom. Dash was on his blanket in between us, and when old Granny delivered a good line Mom would repeat it to Dash. “God sees what evil you do behind my back! ” Of course this got Dash’s tail wagging and  he’d try to get in her chair with her. You probably had to be there but for us it was hilarious.

After the movie, Mom said, “You read that?”

Yup. I told her that my friend Valerie had lent it to me. She was suprised because Valerie was such a nice girl.  She then asked what other inappropriate books I got away with reading because she’s German and was unaware that there was such material out there.  Oh Mom, there are so many.  Let’s just hope they don’t make a movie of My Sweet Audrina

that's my hanging around not doing nothing shoe in the corner. Mom said she wanted them, I told her if she tried to take it Dash would rip her hand off. As you can see, not bloody likely.

that’s my hanging around not doing nothing shoe in the corner. Mom said she wanted them, I told her if she tried to take it Dash would rip her hand off. As you can see, not bloody likely.


Marshmallow World

I don’t usually talk politics. I am a big  liberal with a libertarian streak, which seems odd and isn’t something I can really explain, so I just don’t go there. Plus, I have very conservative parents, as in “Jesus, if I have to hear about that damn birth certificate one more time I will scream” conservative. It’s always been safer for me to not go there.

However, this  blog is supposed to chronicle at least some parts of my life, and this is a big part of it right now, so I’m going to share.  I’m in business for myself.  I’ve been in business for myself for 8 years, which means I haven’t had a real physical in that time.  If I got sick, and there were times that I did, I went  to a free clinic, and while I do appreciate the care that I got there, often it is rushed and at someone else’s expense.  They can only see so many people in a day, and there has to be a cut off and it’s hard going into the exam room when you know that there is someone who didn’t get in because you were there first.

Anyway, this year, I got insurance.  Thank you, Mr President!  Because of the Affordable Healthcare Act/Obamacare  I have REAL insurance, with copays and all that. What was over $600 last year is now $250 – and that’s the thing that I think people forget, peeps like me needed AFFORDABLE heathcare. It’s hard to work day after day and get nowhere, it’s hard to pay your taxes and not be able to afford a trip to the doctor. All I have ever needed was a bit of a break, and now I have that – and I am going to the see the doctor tomorrow — OR AM I?

I had an appointment on Monday. I was ready to go. I drank my water to make my veins nice and whatever for the blood test. I steeled my nerves in preparation of said blood test, I had my list of questions, seven years worth of questions, and there was a notepad in my bag so I could take notes.   There was a cold snap, and the roads became iced over, and Marika does not do well on ice, and apparently no one else does either. The clinic called and said they were closed and rescheduled for Wednesday.

Wednesday there was sleet.  I nearly busted my butt walking to the car.  The clinic called, apparently Kathy the super nice nurse took note that I was a “delicate” driver, and called and said it was starting to get icy there – and asked if  I wanted to reschedule.  Why yes I do.

And here we go, tomorrow at 2:10pm, I have another appointment.  If I have to cancel again, there will be only one reason why this is happening.  A vast right wing conspiracy is actively working against me. Perhaps they are afraid of what a healthy Marika could accomplish.

Till then …


I believe with all my heart that I will be able to put Operation Healthy Marika into action.  I also believe in hot chocolate and  marshmallows, lots and lots of marshmallows.

Of course the belief in marshmallows could be part of the problem

Back to the Attic

I should be cleaning the house during the snowpocalyse (we got an inch here – but Friday the Water peeps did call and say to keep the faucets dripping so the pipes don’t freeze. And how is sweet is that?)  Instead I spent the day reading, and one of the things I read, rather reread, was Flowers In The Attic. Go ahead click your tongue, judge me, I don’t care.  I and the 40 million eighth graders who first bought this book, can’t be wrong.

Unlike other writers, I really didn’t read above my age group as a child. When my best friend Valerie, who was way more mature than I,  shoved Flowers in my hands and hissed, “You have to read this”, I was still deeply into Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Occasionally I would dip my toe into some Judy Blume or Narnia, but never had I peeked at anything like it.

flowersinsideFirst, the cover was shiny, really shiny.  And little Carrie there? I wore my hair just like hers.  The sinister man in the back ready to put the grab on those blondies? Looking at him now, could be John Kerry, could be Mitt Romney depending on your political leanings. It could be John Forsythe too, tell me the Carringtons wouldn’t lock a “problem” in the attic.

And this was printed on the back:


There was nothing like that in Nancy Drew and The Secret In The Old Attic.

Valerie had gotten the book from her sister Cindy who was a high schooler and said it was too dirty for Val or me, for that matter, to read.  Which is exactly why Val read it, and then lent it on the sly to me.  I read in a Saturday, and middle school me was scandalized. Not only was there sex, it was incest sex, there was murder and just general horriblness that I would later learn were the tropes of gothic novels, a genre I grew to love.  I was hooked.

So when I saw it was going to be a Lifetime movie, you know how I love Lifetime movies, and it had a pretty good cast, I’m in.  In fact, I went back to read the original book just to see if it was as shocking as I remembered it being.

The answer, not so much.  The first thing I noticed, the dialog is clunky, like something running on square wheels. It gets there, but sometimes it’s painful.  There is an excessive use of the word “for” as in “no one will get trapped in a trunk again, for I have broken all the locks.”  “For” is all over the place.  I noticed this with another writer and I came to the conclusion that perhaps people who are rich enough to have big old houses that have attics and wings big enough to hide family members, might speak a little differently than me.  Secondly, it’s not nearly as smutty as I remember. Sure there is the taboo element but I think that it kinda proved something horror writers and movie makers have always known, the thought of the monster, the monster you create in your mind is always more terrifying than what is brought forth on the page, or is presented on the screen. The implied filthiness in my head was way worse than what was on the page. Or I could have just been a smutty headed kid.

The other thing? How was this never made into a Disney movie? It has all the elements, one parent is dead, the other is horrible, and  kids have to escape a castle to find happiness. Sure you have to take out the brother sister thing, but other than that it’s got some of the classics in there.

All of that makes it sound like I’m making fun of the book, and I guess I am, but the truth is, I read it all in one day just like I did when Val put it in my hands, and parts that I glossed over as a kid carried extra weight and seemed even more frightening than  it did then. When I finished  I was ready to get a copy of Petals On The Wind  to keep the crazy going.

Flowers was the first “grown up”book I read.  And like my first kiss, it wasn’t the best – but being the first does make it special. I don’t know that I would have found books, great books that I love, books like Dragonwyck, Rebecca, We Have Always Lived In A Castle, The Historian, The Thirteenth Tale, etc … without it. I’ve learned that I love books that have a little “what the heck is going on in the attic” element to them, and one day I’d like to write one.

So what brought this dip into all things gothy on? My Mother saw the trailer for Lifetime too, she said “Hey, didn’t you read that in high school?”  I told her it was actually middle school and she invited me over to watch it with her.

She has no idea of what she is in for, and just at the right moment, during a commercial break I’m going to make us a little snack tray of powdered donuts.