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...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!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The only one he ever feared

This lovely, warm weekend has come to and end, and I actually got a lot accomplished, even with losing an hour! Unfortunately I was stuck inside Saturday leading an editorial meeting, but was able to get out and celebrate a friend's birthday last night. I was also finally able to finish the 5th Harry Potter book (Order of Phoenix). Ironically it was a "Harry Potter" weekend on ABC family, so I got a glimpse of a few of the movies.
So, my thoughts on the 5th book...Not my favorite, but still enjoyable. I saw this book more of a transition from book 4 to what is going to happen next. I actually enjoyed seeing a different side of Harry, but his anger at the world got a little annoying after a while. Reading about Harry's first attempt at love with Cho made my laugh out loud at moments - - I was glad how Rowling ended that situation. I wonder if Harry's love life will become a central part of the story at any point in the future? This was a loong book, which, for the first time, I felt was dragged out a little unnecessarily, but in the end was satisfying. I already knew about the impending death that was to occur at the end, but it was a character I had rooted for and was sad to see go.

More evident in this book than any other, I think Rowling's genius is in her story-telling ability. No doubt she is an excellent writer, but the depths and twists and turns she takes the plot continues to amaze me. Even through all the twists, the reader never gets off track and is only left wanting more. I mean, not many books can keep entranced after I wake up (accidentally) early, hungover, on a weekend morning after I've lost any hour. I was fighting sleep because I just needed to get to the end, to find out the prophecy....and I cant wait for more!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Book club anyone?

My friend's and I have decided to start a book club. Well, more of a book club/get together and have champagne cocktails on Sunday afternoons. I sat in on my roommate's book club this weekend because she was hosting, and I'd read the book already (The Reader). It was surprisingly more fun than I had imagined. Being an English minor, I had bad memories of "Socratic seminars" where everyone thing you said (or didn't said) determined your grade. I was never quite comfortable knowing my grade was being based on how profound of a statement I made about a book I was forced to read.

So our book club will be a little more lighthearted. Since it was my idea, my friends thought I should chose the book. After much deliberation I decided on Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I heard about this author because a few of her novels started as NaNoWriMo novels (write a 50,000 word novel in a month). I think that's amazing and am interested in reading this book which has been called "an enchanting escapist fairytale."