Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's a Living Book

I stole this from another blog...but had to share:

"It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be.

So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification.

And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"

- Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Long Time No See

It's been way too long since my last post. I've been caught up in a whirlwind of life, that is quickly slowly down finally. Instead of writing out my thoughts in this forum, I've bugged the crap out of my friends - they are the best for putting up with me! But I started this blog as a creative outlet for myself and I should use it.

I never wanted to get too personal on this blog, but books are not on my mind right now. I saw this quote on a friend's away message and thought it was pretty fitting of my state of mind right now:

Our ages are awkward. We dont really fit in anywhere. We arent in school, we arent really professionals yet, we arent supposed to be randomly hooking up, but we arent supposed to be married.

I'm in a funk right now and this quote really applies. I need a new job, yet I ponder if I should go back to school. But what is most tugging at me right now is boys. Yes, I said it...boys. Since my last relationship I've been pretty closed off. Lately lots of things have been happening in my so-called "love life" (ha i laugh even saying that). And without even knowing, I opened myself up. I opened myself up to something I never expected to progress, and only did so because I thought I had every reason to - would never if I was unsure or had any doubts of it being reciprocated - only to be sidelined and find out, actually, maybe you shouldn't have been so sure.

"I see you lean in, you're bound to fall, and I dont wanna be that mistake" - classic Kenny Chesney!

Anyways I'm not asking for advice or trying to give any either. Because clearly I am a little clueless when it comes to matters of the heart. Just needed a place for a little expression, thank you for listening to me dear friends :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Books Bring People Together

Books bring people together. That is how this little story begins  almost 2 years ago....But today is a sad day. Today is the day that a co-worker, turned great friend and "partner-in-crime" leaves DC for good. I met this person about 2 years ago when he started working at our office. I remember sitting in our office kitchen, finishing up my lunch and reading "This Side of Paradise." I can't recall the exact conversation, but my now-friend-at-the-time-stranger walked into the kitchen and started inquiring about what I was reading, telling me he really liked Fitzgerald too. I do distinctly recall thinking, "New guy, I'm trying to read, shhh." Little did I know that 2 years later, I would have made a great friend and had so many crazy memories to recall.

Things not to forget:
1. moving
2. kennedy bus
3. losing people in alleys
4. heart-to-hearts over martinis
5. grand plans of writing a screenplay
6. labor day party and toilet puking
7. roommates (HA)
8. texas cut-outs
9. sketchiness
10. pre-date wine drinking
11. clarendon house
12. shot gunnin' beers
13. frisbees

The list could go on and on...Last night we toasted our good friend for the last time and just moments ago we had our last work lunch with him. But he is on to bigger and better places and things, and I wish him all the best! 

CU on the OL my friend, CU!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ass in the Sand

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today. Life is good today.

The past month of this summer has been crazy. Lots of highs and lows, ups and downs. But everything seems to be coming to a close, just as the summer is quickly drawing to an end. This past week I got to put all this behind me and escape to the Outer Banks with my best friend and some other great people. For an entire week, I did nothing but eat, drink and lay on the beach. I threw in a little boogie boarding and paddleboarding action, but overall, I was a vision of laziness. And I loved it!

I also finished 2 books at the beach and was told I was a fast reader, why thank you! The first was Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahearn. She is the same young, Irish author who wrote P.S. I Love You, and my personal favorite, If You Could See Me Now. Thanks for the Memories was a fun, light beach read, but wasn't my favorite of her books. The premise is a little far-fetched and somewhat cheesy, in the end, but like all her books, they contain a magical, hopeful quality that only leaves you feeling happy.

The other book, which I finished in 2 days, was Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With. There was a reason I finished this book in 2 days....I couldn't put it down! It was a little slow at first for me, but as in her other book (Something Borrowed), she sucks you into the plight of the main character and you feel like you are part of the story. You begin to relate to the main character as you question what you would do given their situation. Another light beach read, this novel was much more satsifying in the end than Thanks for the Memories.

Now, for the first time in a while, I am not currently reading anything. What should I read next? If only I was still laying on the beach reading it, anything would do.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Commencement


OK, I realize this blog has seriously suffered since the weather became warmer. The past few weeks have also thrown some obstacles my way, but what better way to cope than to get caught up in a great book! Our book club is reading Commencement for our next meeting, and so far I'm a fan. The book, by J. Courtney Sullivan follows the lives of four girls who met and become best friends in college. The book takes place 4-5 years after college with flashbacks of their wilder days. It explores the complexities and many uncertainties we all face transitioning into the "real world." They each struggle with the different things that life throws at us- sometimes life changing things that determine our future course. In doing so, as a reader, you begin to think about your on life choices, how they brought you where you are, where they might take you in the future, and how true friendships can last through the worst of it all. I had a little trouble at first remembering who each character was, as each chapter is told from the voice of a different girl. But after a bit, it becomes easier to follow and I found myself even relating to a certain character and being reminded of other friends in the others. 

I'm a little over halfway through this book and I'm already longing for a reunion with my old college roommates and friends from back home :)  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Ugly Truth

I just came back from an advance screening of The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. I am in love with Gerard Butler and have never been to a screening so I was very excited. The movie was great, funnier than expected and I'd definitely recommend it. After the first few jokes I quickly realized there was not way this was a PG-13 movie, but I was cracking up the entire time.

After a great evening at the movies I got home to a nice surprise letter from my mom. I hadn't been feeling that great, and my mom sent me a card, in hopes that it would brighten up my day, and it did! The card has a Chinese proverb that says, "If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help others." My mom signed the card by saying "I think the Chinese are pretty smart people."

I'd have to agree :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She's Got Electric Boots a Mohair Suit


This past weekend was my undoing, and one of the best I've had in a while! Friday night I spent the entire night either on a boat drinking, or on a bus drinking. All I'll say is that it got a little intense. Unfortunately I was a bit more hungover than I would have liked to see the Elton John/Billy Joel concert I have been waiting for since I got the tickets back in February! Despite a little rain before hand, the night turned out beautiful and I had the privilege of listening to these two piano men serenade me for more than 3 hours. I have to say it was one of the best concerts I've been to. There was nothing over the top (except when Elton John's piano "broke"), but these guys don't need anything else. They can sit there, not say a word to the crowd and just play and their songs and music speak for themselves.


Despite all the fun I had this weekend, I was left feeling dizzy (literally for a few days). I thought it may just be exhaustion, but went to the doctor to find out that it was something a little more than that. Nothing unmanageable, but just one more thing I have to deal with. So this weekend is the first weekend in a while that I don't have any major plans, and I'm so happy about it. I plan on spending LOTS of time laying out at the pool and finally finishing Eat, Pray, Love...reading three books at once is fun, but it is taking me all summer to finish this thing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rocky Morning

All week I've been looking forward to this weekend. I have a lot of fun things jam packed into this tiny little 2-day weekend, but I've been so excited. Unfortunately, my morning didn't go as planned...nothing terrible happened, just minor technical malfunctions (such as my hairdryer dying) and other things left me in a rotton mood. But it's Friday and I have so much to look forward to, I need to pull myself out of this funk. Then I remembered a passage I read in Eat, Pray, Love just last night that reminded me I need to move past this crappy morning and not let it affect the rest of my day. Of course, what she is talking about is a litte deeper than my less than pleasant morning minor disruptions, but the point is that if you left something that is unhappy, or less than desirable affect you, it will not only disrupt your life, but the lives of those around you in unforeseen ways.

"As I focus on diligent joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once—that all the sorrow and trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-'n'-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contementent is, therefore, not merely a self-preserving and self-benefting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moral Compasses and Dog Birthdays = 4th of July


I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! Thanks to our flex hours at work, we got a 4-day, much needed weekend. I celebrated with friends at a bar crawl in DC and then dragged myself outta bed Friday morning to make the trip to my aunt and uncle's river house. The rest of the weekend was full of relaxing on the water, eating and lots of drinking with the fam and friends. We even had a birthday celebration for my aunt and uncle's dog, Mickey (I am obsessed with their dog, maybe b/c I've never had my own?). Anyways, I think the highlight of the weekend was hearing my dad talking about how I needed to make sure I had and followed what he referred to as a "moral" compass" after one too many glasses of crown royal and something. 

In book news, I finished my latest book club book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. More to come on this after my book club meeting. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something different. It's written from the perspective of an autistic boy trying to figure out the mystery of who killed his neighbors dog. It's written different than any book I've read and really shows that despite the complexities in life, everything can really be simplified.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

25

My lazy blog tendencies continue, but I have an excuse for this past week...it was my birthday! Yes, I am officially a mid-20 something. Although I still am having fleeting quarter-life crises thoughts, my friends helped me ring in my 25th year in fashion! It was somewhat of a week long celebration. I went home the weekend before to celebrate with my parents = my mom took me shopping.  I had a work picnic that happened to fall on my birthday, so only had a half day of real work (yay). Then I went out for some delicious drinks with coworkers and friends. The real celebration took place on Saturday ... dinner, drinks ...and more drinks with great friends. All in all it was a great birthday. 

Unfortunately I was a little under the weather Friday (getting old ya know!) so I stayed home to sleep it off. I also had lots of time to finish reading one of the three books I've been working on Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. I'm a little late getting to this series as well, but I snagged it from a friend when she told me she didn't want to read it. (Me: Really, why not? Friend: Because the girl has an affair with her best friend's fiance! Me: You read four chapters though, it says that on the back cover? Friend: Yeah, I didn't read the back cover until after I read those 4 chapters. Me: Um, it is called something BORROWED.) Anyways, one girls trash is another's treasure. I flew threw this book and really enjoyed it. It's a classic, summer read - no deep thoughts necessary. Now on to Something Blue

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pray = India

I've reached the India portion of Eat, Pray Love. I'm back in lazy blogger mode, so here is a quote from that section that seemed appropriate, especially as my 25 (I'll be old) birthday rapidly approaches:

"Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. Time-when pursued like a bandit-will behave life one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it wont. You have to admit that you can't catch it. That you're not supposed to catch it. At some point, as Richard keeps telling me, you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

Summer time is making me a bad blogger. I feel like I am constantly on the go, and when I'm not, I don't want to be stuck inside, on my computer. But I'm muli-tasking right now (watching the Bachelorette) and remembered, oh yeah I used to blog. So this will be a quick post. I'm currently reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and I absolutely love it. A few of my friends said they started reading it, but couldn't really get into it. My reaction has been the opposite, and I don't want to read it too fast, because I don't want it to end. I finally am diving head first into a nonfiction book: a recently divorced writer leaves her life in American behind to "find herself" by experiencing pleasure in Italy, devotion in India and a balance in Indonesia.

Maybe it's because I am in limbo as to where my life is going right now, but I find myself relating to this book and constantly marking pages and passages. So while I'm finishing the book I'll just share a few that stuck out:

"But I felt a glimmer of happiness when I started studying Italian, and when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt- that is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.

Monday, June 8, 2009

One Ocean, One Climate, One Future


Happy World Oceans Day! I honestly didn't even know it was World Oceans Day until I opened my gmail this morning and found the latest from Oceana, an environmental advocacy group I get updates from. Nor did I realize that World Oceans Day was proposed by the Canadian government in 1992 and has been unofficially celebrated every year - until 2009 when the United Nations chose to officially recognize June 8 as World Oceans Day each year.


The day provides "an opportunity each year to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea." This year's theme is "one ocean, one climate, one future." As with the rest of the environment, our oceans are are need of as much help as we can provide. So to help promote the ocean conservation message, the Ocean Project is urging ocean lovers to Wear Blue and Tell Two.

An addition to wearing something blue (easy, I didn't it without knowing today!) they encourage us to tell people two things they likely don't know about our ocean and how they can help. So here are two random facts for you:

1. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coral reefs support more specifies per unit area than any other marine environment.
2. According to the UN approximately 2/3 of ocean species are overfished, and many types of ocean farming are highly damaging to coastal environments. A study in the journal Science projected that, without a change, the populations of all wild fish species currently caught will collapse by the year 2050.

And I'll even bring this full circle by recommending a book for all you ocean lovers out there - there is a Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover's Soul, to help you reconnect with the magic of the ocean.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Beautiful and Damned

I was very intrigued by the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, so I did some more research. This is just a summary of their lives, but read more:

Scott Fitzgerald met Zelda Sayre at a dance at the Montgomery Country Club in July 1918. By September, Fitzgerald declared that he was in love with her. Zelda was different than many of the other women her age at that time because of her free spirit and sometimes rebellious and reckless way - a perfect match for Scott. As mentioned in the previous post, Zelda refused to commit to him because of his dismal economic standing. As soon as This Side of Paradise was accepted for publication, Zelda agreed to marry him. They were married at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on April 3, 1920.

After spending their honeymoon in NYC, they began their life together "the fabled couple who embodied the fun, the wildness the brilliance and glamour of the era which Fitzgerald named the Jazz Age." Despite shaky finances, the couple went to Europe, even living on the French Riviera for a time and finally back to the states, throwing wild parties and living a life that would eventually tire them both. At some point, they entered a period which they both drank heavily, daring each other to more reckless acts. Eventually, Zelda had a breakdown and reached a point where she was in and out of psychiatric hospitals while Scott worked to support her and their family. Later, Scott was admitted to the hospital for alcoholism.

Although their life together was essentially over, they apparently never stopped loving each other, as Zelda continued to write to Scott from the hospital and Scott refused to move her to a state institution - despite the price this cost him. In 1940 Fitzgerald later suffered a heart attack and died shortly after. In 1947 Zelda tragically died when was locked and trapped in a room awaiting electroshock therapy and a fire broke out.

"Like the subjects of one of Fitzgerald's novels, they seem the embodiment of 'the beautiful and damned'".

I'm Cheating on my Book


I'm cheating on my book. I cannot juggle reading a bunch of different books. Although I was forced to do this in college, I try not to make a habit of it in my new "adult" freedom. I'm still reading This Side of Paradise, but I'm just not getting into it and have started another book. As I was explaining to a friend yesterday, I think the talent of some writers is in their storytelling, and some is in the beauty of the words. This Side of Paradise "is about the education of a youth, and to this universal story of Fitzgerald brought the promise of everything that was new in the vigorous, restless American during the years following World War I."

To me, in this book at least Fitzgerald's strength is certainly not in the storytelling - there are long expositions about morality and much of the book focuses on the status-seeking greed of the main character, Amory Blaine. The book finally got interesting, for me at least, when the arrogant Amory finally experiences heartbreak. Apparently Fitzgerald had just broken up with a girl (Zelda) when he finished writing a a manuscript he had been working on. He hoped if he became a successful novelist he would win Zelda back. Then, after the was accepted for publication, he wooed his girl back and she agreed to marry him! About a week after the book was published they married.

In fact, I'm finding the back story of Zelda and F. Scott more interesting than the book itself! I don't think that's a good sign.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Only Connect

I came across this quote reading some blogs today:

"Only connect the prose and the pass and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer." 

It's from E.M. Forester's Howards End, another novel I somehow was not assigned to read in my days of English classes. But this quote makes me want to read the whole novel! From brief reviews I've read, it sounds like the book is about two families - one wealthy/business minded, the other idealistic and cultured - and their intertwined lives and events that occur as they argue over who will inherit a home called Howards End.

I still need to finish This Side of Paradise, but has anyone read Howards End? Is it any good? I wonder if judging a book by one quote is as bad as judging it by its cover? Well, it looks like I'm back to the library, this time with a mission. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

I wish I had 4-day weekends more often. This past long weekend was wonderful, full of good friends and way too much food and drink. One of my friends and I like to do something called "recapping," so I'll recap my very long and fun weekend:
  • I rarely make it into the actual city, but I went there two nights in a row! Nothing is better than going to happy hour knowing that you don't have to work the next day.
  • If you live in DC, you must go to Lauriol Plaza. It's delicious and has great drinks. The frozen swirl margarita = yummy!
  • Saturday and Sunday I went to two great BBQs involving, grilled shrimp, chicken, dogs and burgers. And yes, I ate all of the above.
  • Playing drunk wiffle ball is harder than playing drunk kickball I think, but so fun.
  • Night at the Museum 2 is just as good, if not better than the first movie.

On top of all my fun eating and drinking escapades, I also had some time to lay out. No, not at a pool, just in the small patch of grass outside my department. Despite not getting much of a tan, I did get through a lot of This Side of Paradise. This book is far different from many of the books I've read recently, but its I think I kind of like it b/c it is so different from many of the books I've read. There isn't really an apparent plot yet, just describing a young man's coming of age. More on this when I finish it up.

Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Library Blunders


My trip to the library tonight was very eventful. I knew the library closed at 9, but I figured that would give me plenty of time to get there after my gym class ended at 8 and still browse leisurely. I was just looking for a book about the publishing industry, a narrative of someone's experiences, and then a regular, just for fun book to read over the long weekend.


I was dreading trying to find a parking spot, only to find that the library has an entire parking lot! This is something to celebrate in Northern VA/DC. However, my initial happiness quickly faded when I couldn't find any of the books I wanted. It is a crime to find out that a book I really want, that is supposedly in the library, not checked out, is actually not on the shelf. After this little setback, I realized I only had about 20 minutes to find my "fun" books. But, sometimes I like to just wander through the stacks and pull out random books. But this time I was in a rush. So, after my Harry Potter series, I decided I needed to read some more "classic" literature. I ended up with:
  • John Updike's Seek My Face
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise
  • Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible

Which should I start with? I tried reading Tender is the Night a year or two ago and never got through it. I cant even remember why now. Maybe I owe it to Fitzgerald to give Paradise a shot. Either way, I've got a long weekend of reading ahead!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Cant Figure Out the Plot

Lately I've been thinking more and more about what my next step is. Do I stay in DC? How long do I stay here? I know I want to go somewhere else eventually, but am I too scared, or am I just not ready for that. Today my landlord asked us if we wanted to renew our lease for the next year. I thought we went month to month, but I guess not. She isn't increasing our rent, so I obviously agreed, since right now, I'm not planning on going anywhere. But, what about come next Winter? Will I still want to be here in Summer 2010? I guess if worst comes to worst, there is always Craig's list, but it made me think about the future.

Then I came across this quote I read on this great blog:

"My life has a superb cast but I cant figure out the plot."

I think this is possibly one of the greatest quotes...at least for my right now. And it rings so true! Tonight my best friend is coming in town and I look forward to a weekend enjoying the wonderful cast in my life...even if I'm not sure where the plot is going.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Last night at my volunteer reading the theme was based around Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Remember that one? I forgot how great (and funny) that book is until we read it yesterday. Maybe I liked it so much because I had a fine day yesterday....unlike today. The day started off fine, good actually. But as I sat at work and my throat and my head started to hurt worse and worse, the day went the same way.

On top of the increasingly sick feeling, I made a dumb mistake at work that I couldn't fix. I realize we all make mistakes, but at work, I am somewhat of a perfectionist and its still bugging me. Then, when I got home, too tired to go to the gym, the dinner I attempted to make didnt turn out so great (note to self, you are not a cook, dont try to be one). Now, although not a huge hockey fan, I'm watching the Capitals lose in a must-win play off game.

But I think back to Alexandar's day, and realize mine wasn't really that bad.

It was a Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. There were lima beans for dinner, and I HATE limas. There was kissing on TV, and I HATE kissing. My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas. When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night-light burned out and I bit my tongue. The cat wants to sleep with Anthony, not with me.

After each bad thing he describes, Alexendar resolves to move to Australia, because he doesn't think bad things would happen there. But at the end of the book, his Mom reminds him, and any readers having a crappy day, that everyone has Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad days every once in a while...even in Australia :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Deathly Hallows


With a bittersweet feeling, I closed the final chapter in the Harry Potter series today. I loved this series. The seventh book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may not have been my favorite of the series, but it captivated me for more than 700 pages. (If, like me, you are years behind in reading this, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS in this review/reflection, so read no further.)

As in all the previous books, I think Rowling's most gripping chapters are the final few: Snape's last memories, when Harry accepts and walks into the forest to face his death, and meeting Dumbledore in Kings Cross. These few chapters were even more powerful than the final duel with Voldemort, because of what they reveal about characters you thought you knew so much about.

First, as I'd hoped all along, Snape ends up being on Harry's side from the beginning, until he meets his bitter end. And not necessarily for Harry himself, or the good of the cause even, but because he had loved Harry's mother since they were children. Snape never recieved this love back from Lilly Potter, but it didn't matter, it lasted long after her death. And although he made a horrible mistake, he spent the rest of his life making up for it the only way he could.

Second, you find out that Dumbledore has flaws, like anyone else. His flaw was his ability to deal with power. But his strength is the wise understanding the he's shown through the entire series. He realized and finally accepted that although he sought power, he was incapable of handling it.

"I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they where it well."

Although the magical properties of wands was a little overkill and confused me a bit, I think overall Rowling had a pretty simplistic ending to this epic tale. As Dumbledore explains, Voldemort always had a disadvantage to Harry because his knowledge was incomplete. "That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty and innocence Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped."

And in the end, the true master of the deathly hallows is revealed to be Harry. "You are the true master of death, because the true master of death does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying."

Thanks to Dumbledore's well-laid plan, and everyone in Harry's life, Harry grew to become the young man who did not seek those things (the stone, the wand, the cloak) for his own personal gain. In the end, his only thoughts were of the greater good, of those who had died before him and for him. His understanding of love that lasts through death allowed him to even offer forgiveness to Voldemort after all his terrible deeds. In the end, Harry doesn't even really kill Voldemort - it's Voldemort's own curse that backfires on him as it did years before. Rowling certainly leaves us with a few lingering questions, but I think that is only fitting for such a tale.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Irish Trash Can Meets Voldemort



I think I've been reading too much Harry Potter. Or, I'm just going crazy. Last night, due to all the rain mentioned in yesterday's post, our Thursday night kickball game was canceled. But that did not stop us from heading to our sponsor bar anyways. This was after I had already shared a bottle (or 2) of wine with teammates at another bar. By the time I got into the city, I was feeling pretty happy.

Mere hours later I was a complete drunken fool. I've never in my life "blacked out" or completely forgot parts of an evening. I always thought people who said that were lying. Yes, there have been fuzzy nights, but I've always remembered parts of it. Last night after a certain point I remember nothing! Luckily I was with good friends who made sure I made it home safely (physically). However, after hearing a recap of my antics last night, I really feel ashamed and embarrassed for losing control and not realizing I'd hit my tipping point. The feeling of not remembering is scary!

I didn't DO anything stupid, I was just talking nonsense (or so I was told). Apparently, among other things, I started acting like I was living in Harry Potter world, calling people The Dark Lord. At one point (as retold by my friend) I said something like "Don't you dare bring him up!" My friends assumed I was talking about some heart breaker guy, to which I responded very seriously "No, Voldemort!"

I mean, really, who starts talking about novels when they are three sheets to the wind? Apparently me. Why couldn't' I have been quoting something more legit, like Shakespeare or something. Why is this how my subconscious works?

Lesson of the evening: NEVER drink an Irish trash can.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Exactly Where I'm Supposed to Be


Will it ever stop raining? I think it's been raining here everyday for over a week now. Occasionally, I like a rainy day. Not to be a pessimist, but a break in the sunshine every now and then is nice. But 7 straight days with rain? No thank you. Last night, though, it thunderstormed. I really love those first thunderstorms of the season (before you get sick of them b/c you've lost power for the 3 day in a row, or you are caught outside in one).

Last night, I was reading the last Harry Potter and listening to the thunder and torrential downpour of rain, and I just felt very content. I know that I'm in a transition period right now. I've been in DC long enough to get somewhat adjusted, but to also question my desire to live other places, experience other things. But last night sitting in my room, listening to the rain, I knew I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, for now.

So far the seventh HP book has been an emotional roller coaster (especially after another shocking death, that I am still very upset about). Harry keeps experiencing highs and lows, break throughs and set backs in equal measure. But last night, I think I got to a turning point in the book where he realizes he needs to stop the ups and downs, and accept what lies ahead, although it might not be completely clear currently.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Ethics of Publishing

As a Yankees fan, I've heard countless stories and opinions about the recently released biography A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts. While I haven't read the book, and honestly don't plan to, it brought up the issues of ethics in journalism, and publishing for that matter.

Although I am a Yankees fan, I realize ARod has made his fair share of mistakes and poor judgement calls. Although already called out on his steroid use in the major leagues, Roberts' bio seems to take this further (based on the few reviews I've read), implying his drug use started as early as high school. Apparently, the book is also based mainly on anonymous sources. Without reading this book, I am not one to judge - but it does bring up an interesting question: If I ever worked at or owned a publishing company, what would I, as a publisher, be willing to put my name on. Where do you draw the line of selling books and sticking to what you believe? I know my idealistic views of publishing may be naive, but I've never been immersed in that industry, in that world, so I'm not sure.

Now, as a journalism major in college, I quickly grew tired of the "politics" of journalism. I distinctly remember sitting in a news writing class thinking how I could never interview a family member or friend of someone who had just died. But, it was ingrained in me that there was a time and place for it all, a mix between reporting the truth and protecting ethics could be found in journalism. Although any journalistic reporting I did in college was about the most mundane of topics (profiling the water polo captain, detailing how college students celebrate their 21st birthdays, etc), I knew I wouldn't want to have to make that judgement call for hard hitting news. I guess I just didn't have that edge in me.

So, I am left wondering if publishing is the same? When do you say, yes this book might make a ton of money, but do I really believe in it - in what it says? I guess the point of publishing is to put different ideas out there, regardless of your personal belief in each one. Maybe the line is drawn when the method of reaching this final product or book is tainted with unethical practices. Despite my naivety, in the competitive world of publishing I'm no where near having to making a decision regarding the ethics of a book I may or may not publish. But what if one day I am faced with this dilemma? What would you do?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Toilets and Phones Don't Mix

So my raucous May Day celebration to occur Saturday night....didn't quite happen the way I'd planned. I did still have an excellent evening, eating amazing German food (how have I never had German food before? ) and sipping German wine. However, trying to do too much too soon is never a good thing. I was also trying to meet up with a friend in DC later in the night, but my plans changed suddenly when my cell phone inadvertently slipped from the back pocket of my jeans, into the flushing toilet.

Despite the loss of my dear cell phone, I had a great time. And it's been almost freeing not having a cell for the past day and a half. But I can't continue phone-less forever, so I am off to brave the Verizon store tonight. I don't need any fancy gadgets, just a phone that's not water-logged. RIP old phone. 

I'm not sure how this incident on the dawn of May bodes for the rest of this month. Maybe my phone had been contaminated by Swine (b/c I forgot to wear my mask on the subway that day) and this was nature's way of protecting me! Always look on the bright side.  

(Danke Schoen to a great friend who put on an amazing dinner party Saturday...curse your toilette) 

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

Due to the disgusting pollen that has blanketed my world lately (my car, my window sill, my throat), I am staying home on a Friday night. This is unheard of by me, as I like to really soak up the weekends. However with the threat of swine flu floating around, I think it's best for myself and everyone else that I stay home, rest and wake up healthy tomorrow. Granted, I went out Wednesday and Thursday, so a night of good sleep is necessary.

On a happier note, it's May! Did you know that May Day is an actual holiday? I had no idea either, until I was bored at work and googled it. "May Day marks the end of the uncomfortable winter half of the year in the Northern hemisphere, and it has traditionally been an occasion for popular and often raucous celebrations, regardless of the locally prevalent political or religious establishment."

Alright, so I'm not having a raucous celebration, but I will rectify this situation tomorrow night. Happy May Day!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers


April is rushing out on a rainy note here in DC. I still can't believe it is the last day of April. Where did this month go? But I'm looking forward to May, warmer temperatures (though please not in the 90s yet!) and days spent at the pool. I'm really looking forward to this summer. I'm not sure how long I will stay in the DC metro area, but the spring/summer is definitely my favorite part of the year here. I want to soak up every moment, in case I do find myself elsewhere come next summer. 

Last night I walked from my house to meet up with a friend for a late happy hour. Armed with my umbrella I started the 20 minute walk to my destination, hoping my IPOD would keep me entertained. But I walked on a different side of the street than I usually do and noticed the most interesting things - an all female martial arts class, a lovely looking ice cream/gelato store, a Santa Claus look alike on a bike who almost ran me over.  Just little things I never notice in my usual rush to work or home. 

Even though I've walked up and down that street countless times, this time I had nothing on my mind and actually paid attention to these little simple things (Ok Santa Claus bike man was a little abrupt). But I think we sometimes take for granted the little pleasures we can get out of the simplest things. I hope to embrace that more here this summer. 

Photo Credit: BBC News

Monday, April 27, 2009

Handle with Care Review

Warning: If you are in my book club or don't want to read a spoiler about Handle with Care read no further. I finally finished this book, and I've never been happier...now that it's done! I was not a fan of this book. I've read another Picoult book and am not sure what to think of her as an author. It's obvious that she likes to hone in on a particular controversial issue (in both books I've read it's been medical). The issue is usually not very common and requires her to extensively research her book. In this aspect, she succeeds.

Picoult's strength (at least in My Sister's Keeper) is making you think about a certain situation in a different way. In that book she made me go beyond my gut-reaction to think, how would I really choose or behave if I was actually put in this situation. Being able to see a complicated issue from a completely different perspective was my favorite part of that book.

I think she tried to do the same in this most recent novel, but it didn't work. Every depressing event that happened, did not in my opinion, lead to whatever she was trying to show us in the end. I came away from this book, learning nothing, feeling nothing except sadness. But not in beautiful/tragic beautiful prose way - just one hit after another.

HUGE SPOILER: I still cannot understand why Willow died in the end. Had she succeeded in her faux suicide attempt, as tragic as that was, that would have even given some validity to the hell her parents had put her through and pushed her to the brink. But to just drown out of no where? I read a review saying wondering what if Willow had survived and her mom was putting the check in her coffin many years later (having never used it, having learned from all their mistakes, etc). I think this would have made a much better ending - but I don't believe this is the case, because her mother visualizes her drowning as she is describing this section.

My favorite dialogue came from Amelia, Willow's older sister. But again, she was put to the side the whole book. Even her "cure" of bulimia was for her parents to ship her off to get help, and coming back at the end of the book fine and "healthy". Even the author pushes Amelia to the side - that was a quick fix to a problem that was just as severe as Willow's.

I can't wait to hear the opinions of my book club members. The book was a page-turner for sure, but only because you desperately wanted something good to happen to this struggling family - and it never did.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

AC-less

I'm half-asleep writing this post...the hot weather made me squeeze the most I could out of this weekend and I'm ready to crash now. I'd like to stay up and watch the rest of this Yankees/Red Sox game, but seeing as it is 10 pm and only in the 6th inning, that's probably not going to happen. I'd also like to finish Handle with Care because while this book has brought up some serious issue to contemplate, its completely a downer. I'm hoping something redeeming happens at the end, but with only about 20 pages left, I don't have high hopes.

Random thoughts from this weekend:
  • Sitting outside for the first summer-like weather is both very tiring and can cause sunburn.
  • My apartment stays surprisingly cool in 90-degree weather, with only one working AC currently. My AC-less room...not so much. Good luck to me sleeping tonight.
  • Chic-fil-a + a blanket = the best picnic ever.
  • It really feels even more like summer whenever you're drinking Corona.
  • People from Switzerland pronounce "Vs" like "Ws" such as "Napa Walley".
  • Don't put your metro card, that you just received earlier in the week, in your pocket. You will always loose it.
  • The Red Sox can really suck the life out of you. However, I've never see someone steal home plate before, which, as much as I hate to admit, was pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day


Happy Earth Day! Earth Day here in the nation's capitol started off rainy, turned sunny, I think rainy again, and finally sunnier, but much cooler. It was a weird weather day, is the earth trying to tell us something? Anyways, I'd like to say that I did something to help the environment today, but other than tossing my empty wine bottle into the recycling bin after dinner, and watching some documentary on sick killer whales on PBS right now, I can't say I contributed much.

However, my roommate was telling me about an book that would fit right into the earth day theme: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. I haven't read any of her books, but have heard great praise for them. The book is about Kingsolver and her families decision to buy only food raise in their own neighborhood or food they grew themselves. Writing about home-grown lettuce doesn't sound that intriguing, but the fact that she could read about it for pages without completely losing her mind kinda shows to me Kingsolver is a damn good writer.

My roomie even decided to stop by the farmer's market today to try and buy some locally grown produce - things that were in season for this area. Unfortunately, she could only find spinach from CA. I guess that defeats the purpose of cutting down on environmental waste by shipping it halfway across the country. Later, at Whole Foods, they had apples imported from Brazil. Oh well, at least she tried....all thanks to motivation from a book!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Lost Symbol


I think I've read all of Dan Brown's books to this point. I read The Da Vinci Code and was hooked. After Angels and Demons I even went to his other books like Digital Fortress and Deception Point.
Brown's talent isn't in the phrasing or beautiful use of words. Brown is able to take an interesting plot line, build intense suspense and keep you wanting more. I don't read a passage and stop and ponder its meaning, turn a page or break out my highlighter (yes, I do that), but I read through at a rapid pace because I can't wait to see what will happen.

After I read all his books, I remember seeing the movie (it was alright), and now am anticipating Angels and Demons (I like that one even better than Da Vinci Code). I was so happy to find out that Brown has a new book, The Lost Symbol, scheduled to be released in September. Now, I don't even care what the premise of this book is (which does feature Robert Langdon from Da Vinci Code)...I'm going to read it. And Publishers Weekly is even toting it as a much-needed boost to the publishing industry in general.
This announcement comes conveniently weeks before his Angels and Demons is released in the theaters (with Ewan McGregor, yay!). I, for one, can't wait for the movie and the new book!


Monday, April 20, 2009

New York Is the Best Revenge


I've always contemplated moving to NYC. It really is the center of the world for publishing. But I also know that its a tough town. When, and if the time is right, maybe I'll end up there one day...like all these folks.


My favorite line..."When you get laid off from your job, or get dumped by your boyfriend, New York is the best revenge."


I haven't read through all the arrival stories, but I plan to. Maybe one day I'll have my own story to tell.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Thoughts

It's Friday and closing time....so I present to you, random bullets!
  • I'm about to begin this weekend by sitting OUTSIDE enjoying some lovely beverages with my lovely coworkers. Yes, I said OUTSIDE.
  • I'm currently reading Handle with Care. It is seriously so depressing, I really just want to finish reading it. Too bad I'm not even halfway through. Reading it after 2 glasses of wine is probably not a good idea either.
  • The Yankees lost so badly in their much anticipated home opener yesterday - get it together boys!
  • Mean what you say and say what you mean....I'm not sure who said that, but it's something to live by. 
That's all I got for now. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eight Balloons


Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Neither did I, until I remembered I needed to come up with a theme for my volunteer reading last night. I went to the library and they had tons of children's poetry books already pulled and ready for the taking. I was brought back to my childhood when I saw Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic. I remember loving those books! Remember those wacky drawings? I found a great activity for the kids to do after reading, showed up at the shelter...and no kids came! It was a little disappointing because no kids showed up the month before either.


Despite my disappointment in not getting to share the poems and activities with the kids, I figured someone should be reminded of the wonderful, wistful and often touching works of Silverstein. So, for your reading pleasure, I give you "Eight Balloons". This poems just makes me happy :)


Eight Balloons
Eight balloons no one was buyin'
All broke loose one afternoon.
Eight balloons with strings a-flyin'
Free to do what they wanted to.
One flew up to touch the sun - POP!
One thought highways might be fun - POP!
One took a nap in a cactus pile - POP!
One stayed to play with a careless child - POP!
One tried to taste some bacon fryin' - POP!
One fell in love with a porcupine - POP!
One looked close in a crocodile's mouth - POP!
One sat around 'til his air ran out - WHOOSH!
Eight balloons no one was buyin'-
They broke loose and away they flew,
Free to float and free to fly
And free to pop where they wanted to.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marilyn's Chamber of Secrets

Last night I went to trivia night at my neighborhood bar. The trivia was pretty intense, but the best part of the night was making a name for our team. Apparently the MC for the night gives a "theme" on which to base your team name, and the best team name wins a prize. This particular week the name was supposed to be based off Marilyn Chambers, a porn star from the 70s who died yesterday. I dug deep down into my creative wit and came up with Marilyn's Chamber of Secrets. Who knew I'd somehow be able to tie my Harry Potter obsession into real life! 

Unfortunately my team not only lost the team name contest to I Hate When She Just Lies There (OK, a little raunchy for trivia night,  but lets consider the theme here), we didn't fare too well in the SEVEN rounds of trivia either. But, I did learn some random, useless info about Ms. Chambers as a result. In fact, she even tried to run for vice president of the US - there's some random trivia for you!
Other inventive team names:
  • Somali Pirates - really no relation to the theme, but still in good fun
  • Barack Obama is a bitch for not coming to the Nats Home Opener  - I wonder if he came if the would still be winless?
  • At least when the Nats lose they aren't shot in the head (the Nats lost yet another game as trivia was about to begin)
  • You can take the porn star out of the trailer park, but bring the body bag (that was just wrong lol)
  • Knock Knock Knockin' on Heaven's Green Door - Marilyn's famous for her role in Behind the Green Door
(There were about 30 teams, so this is just a sampling. Next time I'll write down the good names!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Half Blood Prince

Happy Easter! I'm back from a relaxing weekend at home, although the trip home took me twice the time due to lovely DC traffic. During my time literally sitting in traffic I was able to finish the 6th Harry Potter book (I promise, I was just sitting there and only had about 30 pages left.)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was nothing what I expected. I guess, all along I realized that at some point this series was going to get pretty dark. However, I'm still surprised what happened in this one! I literally didn't believe what happened at the end- I was imagining different crazy scenarios to explain it, but in the end it was clear that I had to accept the reality Rowling had created. I'm being vague in case there is somehow someone out there that hasn't read it yet, but I was very wrong in my judgement of certain characters, or how Rowling would use them. Now, I still think there are a few tricks up her sleeve, but I truly have no clue what to expect in the last book. I think she left many things unexplained, or at least things that I didn't fully understand, which I hope will be answered in the last book.

However, I'll have to put the last HP on hold because I need to start reading our next book club novel, Handle with Care by Jodie Picoult. I just realized we are halfway through April (how did that happen?) and I haven't even bought the book. Oops! Hopefully it's a fast read.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Losing Sleep

Before bed I like to cuddle up with a good book. If I lay down and read it, I'll usually gently get tired and casually drift to sleep. If the writer is really good, it might take longer, but it's going to happen eventually. I think I figured out a new way to review my books....does the book keep you awake way past your bedtime? 

Last night I got to a turning point in Harry Potter (book 6 The Half Blood Prince). I could not stop reading, despite the sheer exhaustion I felt from a long day of work, errands and the gym. As it was nearing midnight, I had to reason with myself and force myself to put the book down. (I know midnight is not that late for some of you, but I need LOTS of sleep to function. The randomness of this post will attest to that.) I am in complete suspense about what will happen next. The worst part is I know I wont have time until at least late tomorrow night to pick it up again.  Despite my frustration, its been a long time since a book kept from sleeping, so thank you J.K. Rowling.

And now a random quote from the book that I enjoyed:
"Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"An Elephant's Faithful One-Hundred Percent"


"I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent"

My book club met for the first time this past Sunday. The fact that we were able to hold our little gathering outside, enjoying the prettiest day so far of 2009 was a good sign for things to come. We munched on delicious sandwiches, goodies and of course a little cranberry champagne. It turns out that pretty much everyone enjoyed Water for Elephants. So let's get to the official review.

Water for Elephants is a book you can get lost in. The book is written from two different perspectives: The young Jacob's experiences joining the circus and the old Jacob's life living in a nursing home. The "action" parts of the book all take place during young Jacob's time with the circus, involving a crazy love triangle and his passion for animals. However, the group agreed that Gruen's depth of writing shined much more when she was describing the older Jacob. I found myself laughing out lout at some of the parts in these sections. And you would think it would be easier for an author to go into vivid detail while describing the fun, colorful, sometimes dangerous circus, but this wasn't the case, in my opinion. I even found myself wanting to skip over some sections of detailed descriptions during the young Jacob's circus days. While it was evident she did much research, which was interesting, some of the other mundane aspects stayed that way as a result of her writing.

But then, just like that, you are taken back to the perspective of older Jacob and the writing allows you to really experience what he is feeling -- as he grows older and feels he is trapped in a body that doesn't fully represent who he is. And although my book club is full of mostly early-to-mid 20 somethings, we all agreed we were able to relate to his descriptions. So, Gruen was successful in relating something (aging in this case) to a group of young women -- something pretty out of our realm at this point and time at least. I think that is always the sign of a good writer. There were a few serious topics that Gruen touches on, but doesn't really go into great detail that we felt could have made the book even richer.

Overall though, I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to know a little more about the circus, likes a good love story or is an animal lover. I think above all else, this book takes a deep look into dealing with the aging process, and how you are never too old, or young for that matter, to do anything you want.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is Nonfiction For Me?


Today on Good Morning America, they interviewed Michael J. Fox and talked about his new book Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. I've never really been an avid non-fiction reader. I'm not sure why that is really. You'd think after countless literature classes and analyzing fiction to the point that even an enjoyable read become unbearably picked apart, I'd want to take a break. Go on a crazy adventure into the world of reality. But I can't remember the last non-fiction book I read.


Maybe I like getting swept up in the fiction and mystery of something that COULD be real, but just isn't. Lately, however, I've noticed myself becoming more interested in nonfiction. Like this book for example.

In reference to how he dealt with his new life with Parkinson's disease:
"If I had to give up any part of this, how could I possibly protect myself from losing all of it? The answer had very little to do with "protection" and everything to do with perspective. The only unavailable choice was whether or not to have Parkinson's. Everything else was up to me. I could concentrate on the loss -- rush in with whatever stopgap measures my ego could manufacture. I could rely on my old friend from the nineties, denial. Or I could just get on with my life and see if maybe those holes started filling in themselves. Over the last ten years, they have, in the most amazing ways."
"...My identity has so much to do with my ability to self-express, to assert my creativity and productive worth (work), my rights and the rights of whatever communities I'm a part of and therefore responsible to (politics), my freedom to seek spiritual purpose (faith) and to explore the complex bonds I share with those I love most (family) and without whom I would have long since succumbed to darker forces. "

I've never had a strong opinion about Michael J. Fox either way, but I'm sure this memoir is inspiring. After my HP escapade is over, maybe nonfiction is the next thing awaiting me.

What is the best nonfiction book you've ever read?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sick Day


As much as I love the changing weather, my allergies don't appreciate it as much. I started feeling it last night and didn't feel much better when I woke up this morning. Time to stay home and rest, I decided. Unfortunately I also woke up with a random killer back pain, which only got worse as the day went on. It kind of made me forget about my allergies though, so I guess that was a plus?

So armed with my heating pad, I've had loads of time to read! I have been cracking up reading about the budding romance between Ron and Hermione in the 6th book (sorry if this was a spoiler, but c'mon, I think we all saw this one coming.)

"Although Harry watched his two friends more closely over the next few days, Ron and Hermione did not seem any different except that they were just a little politer to each other than usual. Harry supposed he would just have to wait to see what happened under the influence of butterbeer in Slughorn's dimly lit room on the night of the party." (How many times has that same phrase been thought or uttered in romantic situations lol!)

After Hermione announces she is dating another guy to spite Ron...."Harry was left to ponder in silence the depths to which girls would sink to get revenge."
Oh young love :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

May The Road Rise to Meet You


This weekend was one of the best, I wish it could last longer!. It's starting to get warmer, which is always a good thing, and I got to spend time with lots of good friends. As previously mentioned, I was a little anxious to attend my coworkers wedding solo on Saturday...however I ended up having such a great time! My other coworkers and their husbands are awesome. Another single coworker showed up, and another was hanging out with us because her husband was the Deejay. Despite the rainy day, the wedding took place (inside) overlooking the water and it couldn't have been more beautiful. The ceremony itself was short and sweet and then we enjoyed lots of cocktails, great food and lots of of dancing!
During the ceremony, there was a reading of the traditional Irish Blessing. I think I've heard part of this somewhere before, but it was so sweet hearing it read at the wedding and I wanted to share:


May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.


The bride definitely came from Irish heritage because her uncle followed up later with a toast including another lovely Irish wedding blessing:

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special, God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you, and fill all your coming days.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Let Us Step Into the Night


Happy Friday! Back to the business of books....I finished reading Water for Elephants this week. I'll save a full review of the book until after my book club meeting, but overall I enjoyed it. Unlike Harry Potter (which I am still currently reading) I didn't tear through this book, dying to see what happened. However, I like books that are full of little passages that make you stop and think for a bit. This book was full of them. And despite the serious nature of much of the conflict in the book, you are left with a happy, light-hearted feeling when you are done reading :)

I hate to admit that I was happy to finish reading it so I could get back to my HP. I'm so close to the end (only books 6 and 7 left) that I'm really getting into it! I have a pretty busy weekend ahead though, so I'll have to live with the suspense for a bit longer.  On Saturday I'm attending a co-worker's wedding. Although I'm going alone, my fun coworkers will be there, so it should be a good time. Tonight I'm going to my favorite local Irish pub for happy hour (martinis!), so it should be a great start to the weekend.

And in the words of Dumbledore, "...let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This Is

When we were in New York my friend and I stopped by Magnolia Bakery on Bleeker Street for some of their famously delicious cupcakes. Across from the bakery I noticed a cute little bookstore called Biography Bookstore. Although we didn't go in, we window shopped and looked through the little bins of books outside. These little travel books caught my eye, I thought they were so cute! (The 2 other books were This is New York and This is Paris*)

 
I looked up the store on yelp and apparently it's pretty popular place. It was even featured in an episode of Sex and the City! I just wish that we had taken a second to stop inside. On such a rainy day like today, I am reminded of the simple pleasures in life...like discovery a quaint little bookstore, even if it is miles away.


*I looked the books up on Amazon, and there are a ton of them!  They are a series of children's books about travel written by Czech artists an author Miroslav Sasek. In addition to the books I saw, Sasek has written about many other destinations, including This is Washington, D.C. Check out the descriptions of some of these and other books he has written.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

Reflections from Chile


I know this blog has strayed away from books and book news lately, but I've been distracted by lots of things going on. Maybe its the warmer weather coming, but I haven't had lots of time to devote to reading books. However, I still am an avid blog reader. One of my best friends is currently living and working in Chile and chronicling her adventures in her own blog. She recently wrote a post on her likes and dislikes about Chile and part of it really struck me and I'd like to share:

I love the people. I think I'm mostly too scared to live in a place like New York or DC because people are so busy and scary. Down here, even though I'm living in a HUGE city, I feel like everyone is hospitable. I'm not afraid to ask someone for directions if I'm confused, and people are always willing to help. They also share a lot more than we do in the States. I don't miss our individualistic nature at all...I think it has led to too many problems and loneliness in our country. The 'American Dream,' while it's intention may be good, it sometimes leaves people behind because it's all about what each person can accomplish and obtain for his or herself or his or her own family. I want to be successful in what I do in life, but I want to share it with others and not feel like I have to beat out or compete with someone else. Biological and immediate families are very supportive of one another (for the most part) in the U.S., but what about our ENTIRE family...friends, acquaintances, co-workers, strangers, the poor, neighbors, etc...?

Miss you mi amiga! You are part of my family :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Expectations


Expectations...they're a funny little thing thing. I went to New York expecting to have a great time, and I met my expectations, with a few little quirks along the way. Without going into too much detail, I got a lesson in expectations while there. Looking back, I'd have to say that expectations have a lot to do with how we reflect or even make decisions - and expectations can be tricky. I was going to recap all the small details and funny intricacies of the trip, but it really came down to dealing with expectations. I have a "friend" there, who in the course of the weekend, both exceeded and missed reaching my expectations.

It's funny and ironic to me that when you enter something with little expectations, many times the reality of the situation far surpasses them. And then, when you hold out with your expectations, that you never intended to have in the first place, mind you, inevitably you are let down. 

I'm not saying expectations are good or bad. I think its necessary to have hope, and equally wise to set your own limits. But even in books, the best experiences tend to happen when you go into reading them with little expectations or preconceived judgement. Letting those go can be freeing. And that's exactly what we need, freedom with no expectations.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Note from the Universe


So I'm back from my NYC trip and let me tell you, it was a blast! I always have a great time when I'm there, and then have to pay for my lack of sleep when I get home. So although I've been home since Tuesday, I've been completely exhausted. I'm just taking a quick break to update this blog. I'll have a further recap of NYC events soon.

For now, I am just trying to get back into my routine. I am halfway through Water for Elephants, which is turning out to be a better book than I'd originally imagined. But no more talk on that until its done. 

On a completely random thought on this Thursday, I'd like to share a little bit of advice. A few months ago, I found about this email you can sign up for, where you receive "Notes from the Universe" - I found it on a blog I used to read, thought it was fun, and signed up. So each weekday morning I receive one of these little notes. They're fun and usually put a smile on your face to start your day. Here's one I received a while back, that I've saved b/c I think it makes a lot of sense, and is something we should remind ourselves of daily:

"Whatever it is you want, however you want to have it, no matter why you want to have it, you can have it faster if you can first be happy without it."

"Desire and happiness, need not be mutually exclusive; they actually work best together."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New York State of Mind


I've been slacking on the postings lately. I've been busy getting ready for my upcoming trip to NYC this weekend! I'm so excited I'll be there Fri-Tues and it's always a good time. I hope to go by Pace University, because that's where I've considered applying for a master's in publishing. I've also never been to Brooklyn - so I hope to make a stop there (b/c that's probably the only place I could afford to live in New York if I ever move there!)

I'm rolling right along through Water for Elephants, but I stopped by Barnes and Noble last night which was a big mistake. I picked up a book about visiting NYC on a budget, and couldn't help wondering upstairs. Of course I left with the NYC book and the next Harry Potter (#6). I tried my hardest to resist, but alas could not, and have already read 2 chapters. I'm not one to read two books at once, but even after only 2 chapters of HP I am so hooked! I almost wanted to google what side Snape is really on...but I'll read on.

So I'll be gone for a bit. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a Happy St. Patty's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let's Talk About Trash


Along with my passion for books, I am also a huge ocean lover. Anyone that knows me know I'm happiest near or in the water. (I also have a small obsession of dolphins.) And when I was younger I used to be a nut about recycling and pollution. I was the little kid who would break apart those plastic things that held the soda bottles together so some poor bird or turtle wouldn't die in it. Well, I've lost some of that younger enthusiasm, but realize conservation is more important now than ever.

I am on a list serve for the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems. Today I received their annual report: A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris, and it was very eye opening. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, "Marine litter is one of the most pervasive and solvable pollution problems plaguing the world's ocean and waterways." 

Some interesting facts:
  • During the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup, nearly 400,000 volunteers picked up an astounding 6.8 million pounds of trash.
  • During the 2008 Cleanup, volunteers collected 11,0777 diapers in the Philippines, 19,504 fishing nets in the United Kingdom, and 1,362,741 cigarette butts in the US (gross!).
  • Of the 43 items tracked during the Cleanup, the tops 3 items of trash found in 2008 were cigarette butts, plastics bags, and food wrappers/containers. 
  • The majority of the entangles animals found during the Cleanup were bound up by old fishing line.
So what can we do to help stop it? It seems so easy, yet few of us (including myself) take these simple steps:
  • Expand public and private partnerships to monitor and reduce marine debris and fund research on the sources/impacts of debris
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Much of what winds up in the ocean wasn't truly necessary in the first place; recycle and use cloth grocery bags.
  • Seek better technological solutions.  The report gave an example of the ITW Hi-Cone company that developed a photodegradable six-pack holder (that thing I used to cut up as a little kid). The rings float in the water and within days sunlight reduces their strength and they eventually crumble, leaving animals unharmed.
Finally, the point of the report was to advertise for International Coastal Cleanup - get to your local beach and pick up some trash! Even if you live miles from the beach, a piece of trash can quickly and easily make its way to the ocean...so just pick it up!