Monday, September 29, 2008
I could barely make it through No Choice But Seduction by Johanna Lindsey. I found myself rolling my eyes during numerous parts and skimming through the majority of the book. I was hoping that the charm of the Malory family could save the story, but it didn’t.
Too be honest, I can’t even summarize what the story was about. The plot was really choppy and I felt like Lindsey couldn’t decide if she wanted the focus to be on the main couple or on past characters within the Malory family specifically James and Tony. While I know the Malory’s are fan favorites (and used to be mine), she cannot keep relying on previous characters to carry the story. If she wants to continue with the Malory’s, than she should write another novel like The Present, which included all past characters and introduced a nice side love story to go along with it.
I just don’t find my trashy romance novels as whimsical anymore. I really believe I have outgrown them. I was getting that feeling when I picked up The Marriage Spell. I was hoping No Choice But Seduction would turn into a pleasant surprise, but instead it was old and tiresome.
Trashy romance novels have a time and a place and when I was in my younger years, they seemed so thrilling, exciting and romantic. And now that I’ve lived a little and have had life experiences, I just can’t relate to them anymore. I almost feel like they are sending a wrong message to women. Granted, I probably shouldn’t have been reading them at such a young age, and if my Mother didn’t have such a huge collection of them, I probably wouldn’t have read as many as I did. I have turned a corner with this genre and am not sure if I can go back.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
It’s a story about the Third Angel. As Frieda explains, “You can’t even tell if he’s an angel or not. You think you’re doing him a kindness, you think you’re the one taking care of him, while all the while, he’s the one who’s saving your life.” I like this concept of a Third Angel; someone who is out there and unwittingly through some act or gesture of compassion they have the ability to alter you life and save you from yourself.
Another theme is the ability to lose yourself completely without even realizing it. The most obvious is the ghost that haunts the Lion Park Hotel. This ghost is different; it’s not a ghost of a dead person, but more of an imprint of Teddy Healy (who is still alive) soul and the exact moment that he lost it. In that instant his very essence was ripped out of him and left to relive that scene every night. Teddy was never able to find himself again.
The Third Angel starts in the present and works its way to the past and you see how each woman is connected to one another. The Lion Park Hotel seems to be the central focus and events that happened 47 years ago leave a mark in each story surrounding these women’s lives.
Each woman has their own story to tell that involves love, lost, betrayal and a Third Angel. It’s interesting to see whom that Third Angel is and how their role helps shape these women’s existence. Some become the Third Angel and some are helped by the Third Angel.
I have to admit, I didn’t really like this book until I finally got to the end. Everything made sense at the end, and I even went back to the beginning to see where all the connections were. I do think Hoffman has a nice style of writing, but I wasn’t really sucked into the story until closer to the end.
Monday, September 08, 2008
The narrator of this tale is a Handmaid known as Offred who belongs to a Commander and his Wife, Serena Joy. The purpose of the Handmaid’s is to breed children for the Commander. In the society of the Gilead, people have become infertile and women who are of age and have had at least one child are forced to become Handmaid’s. Sex is solely for procreation and only performed once a month in hopes of conception.
Women are no longer allowed to hold property, money, read, write or be educated. Guards watch over the city at all times and Handmaid’s must walk in pairs to be protected. They are given no civil liberties and if they disobey they could be shipped off to the Colonies to die or hanged on the Wall as a warning to others. The Eyes see all and know all.
Offred recalls tales of her former life where she was married to Luke and had a daughter. They tried to cross the border into Canada, but failed and she was taken to the Center to be re-educated by the Aunts as her new role as Handmaid. She has no idea what has become of Luke and learns her daughter has been adopted by another Commander and his Wife. Offred resigns herself to this life in hopes that one day she will escape and be reunited with her husband and daughter.
I could go more into a plot summary of this book, but I think you get the idea. The Handmaid’s Tale starts off slow, but really begins to pick up after the first coupling ceremony. Soon Offred is secretly meeting the Commander in his office after hours and begins an affair with the driver Nick, who ultimately helps her escape (or so I hope).
This book was hugely moving and scary at the same time. The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1986 and it’s interesting to note that Gilead became after the President and Congress were gunned down and the blame was put on Islamic fanatics. The Constitution was suspended and a new military took over. It was all supposed to be temporary, but instead opened the door to this new regime; it was the catalyst they were waiting for.
It makes me wonder, if the 9/11 attacks had been more widespread, would our government have responded in return? Would we be under a military government and stripped of our rights of free speech and thoughts? Could a society like this ever form in this modern era of technology and lack of values and beliefs?
I think Atwood’s writing is stunning. There were so many passages that I earmarked that I thought were poetic, thoughtful, serene, sad and hopeful. Here is one of my favorite passages,
“Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls,
instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can
see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the
horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen
fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city.
Maybe night falls because its heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes …
Night has fallen, then. I feel it pressing down on me like a stone.”
I love books like this that really make you think and question your life or society. I think it’s interesting to read how cultures evolve, form new shapes/roles and the long-term affects of these outcomes. How was Offred to predict that events leading up to Gilead would force her to become a Handmaid, thereby losing her very identity, her place in the world, her very self? Could these acts have been prevented? How did humanity recover from this time frame (we learn that in the far future, the world is no longer like this)?
I wonder what history books will write about my generation and how we contributed to the world. I wonder how we will change the world.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here’s what you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating or Italicize since it never shows up when I try to cross things out on here.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak Tartare
6. Black Pudding
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba ghanoush
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in a sourdoug bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float (I hate root beer and putting vanilla ice cream in it does not sound appealing at all!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (A good jello shot should not taste too vodkay and should go down smooth)
41. Curried goat
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala (One of my favorite Indian dishes!)
48. Eel (Eaten it in sushi)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut Hot!
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
58. Beer above 8% ABV
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores (I heart me some S’mores. Nothing better than sitting in front of a fire and eating some delicious gooey s’mores)
62. Sweetbreads (I have actually eaten them in pate)
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (OMG, love escargot)
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky (This was my favorite snack growing up)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (I used to work in a coffee store and would steal pounds of this all the time)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
One of my favorite stories is entitled, “Mrs. Ethel Menafee and Mrs. Birdie Stoltz,” which is about two old ladies who are best friends. Birdie is diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia and is back in the hospital once again to see if treatment will work. Ethel visits her everyday. Both are widowed.
Birdie’s prognosis is not good and Ethel asks Birdie to move in with her so they can spend Birdie’s last months together. At first Birdie declines because she does not want to be a burden, but eventually she come around. They have a solid and sweet friendship based on longevity and trust.
I think I enjoyed this story the most because my Best Friend and I have known each other since we were five years old. We grew up together and have been each other biggest supporters. We have celebrated great achievements, cried over dumb boys and have laughed many laughs together.
Growing up we used to always say that in our ripe old age after our husbands have either passed away or divorced us, we would get a home and grow old together. We would still fly out to Vegas and see Chippendales and complain about the young whippersnappers in the club. We would reminisce about the past as we looked through old photo albums, cringing at our awful hairstyles and clothes we wore. Our children and grandkids would come visit us and good times would be had by all.
Overall I enjoyed this collection of short stories. It was a nice, fun quick read and some of the stories are very touching.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
One of the biggest reasons this has been such an enjoyable summer is that for once all my closest girlfriends are single, which means no boyfriend drama! And with no boyfriends we were able to bask in our friendships and remind ourselves that we can have a hella lot more fun without pesky boys.
There were bits of boy drama here and there, but not enough to put a damper on things. Instead we just shrugged it off and continued on our merry way. Nothing or nobody was going to ruin our fun. We were on a mission to enjoy one of our last summers together to the fullest! (A lot of my friends are in medical school and this really is their last summer of freedom before residency starts.)
The summer kickoff began on July 4th at Lakeapoolza. My friend’s parent owns a lake house up in Pennsylvania right near the Poconos and he invited a shitload of us to celebrate American’s Independence. Literally all I did that weekend was drink, eat and shoot off fireworks. I also witnessed boys shot gunning beers by first pounding a can on their forehead. High-liarious! I have never LOLed so much in my life. There is a video but BFE still can’t figure out how to load it up on her computer.
It was a great weekend to get away from work and enjoy being out on a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere. Nothing better than games of flip cup, Jenga, Never Have I Ever, sitting on the dock of the bay with beers, tubing and spending time with great friends.
I also went to Dhrit-Apoolza, the Anti-Wedding Party. My friend was supposed to be having his wedding this summer, but thankfully they called it off. They weren’t right for each other and he would’ve been miserable in the marriage if he had gone through with it. So to celebrate dodging the bullet, he had a Marriage to Freedom Party, which was a hella good time. He was dressed up head to toe in his wedding outfit and you could come dressed in your worst bridal outfits. I opted to curl my hair.
Shenanigans were had, which included more flip cup, flying on a magic carpet, dancing to some slamming tunes, and witnessing Dhritty is all his magnificent glory.
We had a reunion of Lakeapoolza and it became BBQ-Poolza (notice a trend here). Somehow I ended up with a beer in one hand and a mojito in the other. The night became a drunken blur after that. I do remember rounds of flip cup (another trend) and racing my friend Vicki to the bathroom, with my other friend Martin following closely behind. The best part is that Vicki has no recollection of chasing me to the bathroom or much of that night.
Oh, how could I forget The Wife’s B-day (BFE)! That was the real start of summer in June. A group of us went to The Park, a club in DC, where we danced until we couldn’t feel the numbing pain from wearing high-heeled shoes. We staked ourselves a nice little area near the bar where we could boogie uninterrupted and still have easy access to the alcohol. The Wife enjoyed her birthday greatly.
Wrapping up the close of summer, I got a lovely visit from Miss KJ and Stacy. They made the trek back to Maryland for Virgin Festival. Unfortunately we couldn’t get any free tickets from our old radio contacts, but we were able to find a pair of tixs at a discounted price. The weather was perfect, not too hot, and not too humid. We saw some amazing acts play such as Lupe Fiasco, The Offspring and Foo Fighters. We hung out in the ravers tent for a bit, where I danced to trance/house music (it all sounds the same to me) and definitely got a contact high from all the weed around us. I saw a man piss on himself while he was passed out standing straight up. He was hammer-timed! This was my first Vfest and I’m glad I got to experience it.
And of course it was awesome to see Kiah and Stacy again. Last time we all saw each other was our trip to Vegas, which was a show. Although we didn’t party like rock stars that weekend, it was still great to see my girls again. I wish they could’ve stayed longer and NYE plans may already be in the works.
This has been one hell of a summer and I’m so upset that it’s ending. I feel like it just started, but already the days are getting shorter and traffic is picking up on the beltway. Soon the kiddies will be back in school, it won’t be sweltering hot, and the leaves will turn to gold and amber. I truly feel that I have embraced living in the moment this summer and just enjoying whatever comes my way without too much stress and worry. This so far has ranked as one of my best summers ever! I'm so glad I got to share it with all my friends.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Every Wednesday from the moment they were married, Jack has written Laurel a love letter. Sometimes it’s a quick one or two liner, other letters are pouring of his heart. When Jack and Laurel pass away together, their children discover their father’s letters and some family secrets.
Malcolm, the troubled son, is the most affected by the secret since it concerns him. One of the letters reveals that Jack is not Malcolm’s biological father. This sends Malcolm in a tailspin and he wonders how his Mother could cheat and how his Father could forgive her. His world is shaken and he questions who he really is.
Through more letter reading, Malcolm finds out that his mother was raped, but decided to keep the baby. She has forgiven her rapist and teaches Jack to forgive as well. Now Malcolm must learn to forgive and face his troubled past.
Each of the other siblings has their own issues as well, but Malcolm’s story makes up the most of this book. His sister Samantha is a single mother and cop who always had dreams of pursuing an acting career. The eldest son Matthew has a strained marriage and wants to adopt a child with his wife. All children are deeply moved by their parent’s love story.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. I love that Jack wrote Laurel a letter every Wednesday regardless of what was going on in their lives. Even when Jack found out the devastating truth about Malcolm, he still wrote her a letter explaining how mad and hurt he was with her for not telling him sooner.
The art of letter writing is dying art form in this technology era. The only time I ever write letters now is when I send out my Christmas cards. I always try and make each card personally instead of just signing my name. I would love to receive a love letter; I think it’s so romantic. I feel like romance is dead and a man would not even think about writing his wife or girlfriend a letter expressing how he feels about her.
Here are two excerpts from my favorite letters by Jack, “Now I’ll make one more promise. Laurel, I will always stand by you. No matter what. We’re in everything together. No secrets. No surprises. And I will always be true. In every way.”
And the other one, “Somehow we will make it. We will. Do you trust me? So, yes, I am sorry. I’m sorry for not yet being the man I promised to be. Please don’t give up on me.”
A great tale that again left me feeling uplifted and hopeful. I am definitely in a place where I am more open and looking forward to what may come.
Monday, July 28, 2008
The book is about a woman named Jennifer whose Grandmother Sam falls into a coma. Jennifer rushes to Lake Geneva to be by her Sam’s hospital bedside. While at her Sam’s house, she discovers a stack of letters addressed to her in which Sam narrates her loveless marriage and how she found true love.
Jennifer’s husband died about a year ago and she is clearly still mourning his passing. Now with her best friend in the hospital, she feels her world is crumbling around her. And then she finds the letters and discovers her Grandmother’s secret. Her Grandfather married Sam under false pretenses and Sam had resolved herself to a life without real love. Until she meets Doc and she is so full of love, but must always keep it secret.
While reading Sam’s letters, Jennifer finds herself slowly falling in love with Brendan, her childhood playmate at the lake. The impossible has happened; Jennifer has opened herself up to love again only to find out that Brendan is dying of a brain cancer. She has learned to love once more and it could be taken away from her in one heartbeat.
This story pulls at my heartstrings and yet it is so simple and full of hope. My favorite part is when Sam wakes up from the coma and meets Brendan and says to him, “So why have you given up hope? How can you leave someone as special as Jennifer without a fight?” Finally someone is voicing what I have been thinking for years! I believe a lot of relationships fail because people aren’t willing to fight for the relationship. It’s a lot easier to walk away from someone than it is to stay together and work at the relationship. Even with all the love that Brendan feels for Jennifer, he was going to have this one summer and then die. But Sam’s words made him want to fight for something more than just a summer regardless of what it might cost him.
I did wonder why Sam never left her husband even after he showed his true colors, but I guess there wouldn’t be much of a story to tell. I love the idea that Sam wrote these letters to Jennifer to give her an insight into her life and also into Jennifer’s. As Sam writes,
“Right now, I’m thinking about love: the hot, crazy kind that turns your chest into a bell and your heart into a clapper. But also the more enduring kindThat’s what Sam had with Doc and what Jennifer finds with Brendan.
that comes from knowing someone else deeply and letting yourself be known … I
guess I believe in both kinds of love, both kinds at the same time and with the
While I found some similarities between Patterson and Nicholas Sparks, I absolutely was not depressed or saddened by Sam’s Letters to Jennifer. In fact, I felt more inspired and hopeful that a deep, blazing, caring genuine love does exist out there. You just have to be open to it and know when to fight for it. As Sam says, “Love never dies.”
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Here are some of my favorites from yesterday:
I love the reflection of the clouds in the water.
I'm a linear person and I love clean lines.
This is by far one of my favorite shots. Everything just looks so peaceful and tranquil.
I love the vibrant red of this flower.
I love the splash of sunshine in this flower.
There was something so moving about seeing this hallowed out tree trunk just laying there in its glory.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
And then I came across Mary Jo Putney’s, The Marriage Spell. The premise sounded kinda cheesy, but out of all the authors I picked up, I kept returning to her. The story involves magic, wizards and spells, the dork in me just couldn’t resist!
The tale takes place in England, as all good romance novels should. It’s the early 1800’s and we meet Abigail Barton a gifted wizard and healer. Having magical abilities is a great gift, but is not accepted by general society and the upper crust. Luckily for Abby, she lives in an area where her and her father are respected healers.
As a young boy Jack Langdon, Lord Frayne, was sent to Stonebridge Academy where they beat the propensity of young gentlemen that either have magical talents or are far too interested in magic. After leaving the Academy, Jack has a strong distaste for anything magical.
Until he suffers a life-threatening riding accident where Abby uses her special healing powers to restore his health in exchange for his hand in marriage. Jack must accept the fact that he is married to a powerful wizard and that he may himself have strong magical powers.
With Abby’s help, Jack learns to accept his true nature and overcome his fears toward magic. He respects her and has tremendous pride in his new wife. Slowly you see them fall in love with each other and its really sweet. Instead of each other being the obstacle towards true love, they confront his evil stepfather together, and in doing so brings them closer.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I’m glad I picked it up. It was nice and refreshing that there wasn’t a cat and mouse game with Abby chasing after Jack or vice versa. Instead they got married early into the book and you got to see their relationship develop from mere strangers, to friends and then to lovers.
Although I have this labeled as a trashy romance novel, there wasn’t enough graphic sex to my liking, but what are ya gonna do? This books wasn’t trashy at all, but a very nice well developed love story. I liked how Putney made love magical and that there is real power between two people who are in love. As Jack states, “Together we can face anything Scranton can throw at us.’ This was the magical spell created by marriage he realized. Together they were greater than the sum of their individual parts.”
The Marriage Spell was a nice and easy read and to me wasn’t a cookie cutter romance novel. I liked that the characters did not fight their feelings for each other and instead learned to embrace themselves and grow with one another. I may have found a new go to in the romance genre.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Look at the list and
Bold those you have read.
Italicize those you intend to read.
Underline the books you LOVE.
1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (does it count that I have read one book out of the series)
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. 1984 - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (I’m pretty sure I read this or I may have seen the movie way too many times so I think I have read it)
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. . Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (Hated this book)
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Monday, July 14, 2008
We didn’t hang out every weekend, but we did make an effort to hang out at least once a month. He was one of my favorite people to go to sporting events with although we never did catch a Skins or Wizard’s game. We always had great conversations and I always felt very relaxed around him and I knew I could always be myself around him with no judgment.
And when he hit a rough patch with his father passing away unexpectedly, I did my best to be there for him. I knew how hard and upset he was over his father, especially because he was so close to his family and being the eldest son always took care of his family. I gently reminded him that he needed to take care of himself and allow himself to mourn. I wanted to badly to erase the pain that he was going through.
Mr. Nice Guy is moving down South. He’s an Army Doc and got his new orders. He left this morning. We had our goodbye brunch yesterday, talking about our goals for the future and me promising to come down and visit him.
At one point in the conversation he looked at me and said, “I wish things had turned out differently for us.” It caught me off guard, but I replied back, “I know exactly what you mean. I wish the same.” And I can honestly say I meant it. As we hugged each other goodbye, I held on tightly to him, not wanting to let him go. I knew I would miss our friendship dearly and also our lost opportunity.
Mr. Nice Guy is such an amazing person. I wish I had given him more of a chance when we first went out on those couple of dates. I wish I wasn’t scared of the possibility of being with a nice guy and really allowed myself to see what could happen. I don’t think I gave him a fair chance and cut it off before it even started. But I also know that he deserves someone who will appreciate him for his kindness, loyalty, honesty, friendship and love and I know inherently that I would take him and all of his great qualities for granted. And he deserves so much more than that. I firmly believe that timing is everything and I wasn’t ready for what he had to offer me.
I really hope he enjoys himself in this next stage of his life. I hope he meets a nice Southern Belle that will adore him completely. I hope he figures out what he wants to conquer next after his stint in the Army is up. I hope nothing but the best for him.
As we pulled away from our embrace he said, “I’m not even going to tell you to come down because you always have an open invitation to come visit me.” And I responded, “I promise.”
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Ellen and Andy have the perfect marriage. They love, trust and support one another, but one day walking down the street in New York City, Ellen bumps into her old love, Leo. And from that moment, Ellen’s marriage heads into a tailspin. It’s not that she doesn’t love her husband; she loves him dearly and cherishes the life they share. But she also never stopped loving Leo. He was the mad passionate love affair; Leo was the one that got away.
What begins as a simple run in turns into so much more. Ellen goes down the dangerous path of reminiscing over her relationship with Leo and wondering how things fell apart. She also partakes in the treacherous comparison game between Andy and Leo, which never goes well. All her old feelings for Leo quickly resurface after their encounter and Ellen is left feeling unsettled.
She starts to question her marriage to Andy and cannot deny the strong attraction she feels for Leo. Slowly she feels herself being sucked back in by Leo even taking a photography gig that he helped get for her. All the while Andy suspects nothing.
To escape her feelings for Leo, Ellen agrees to move to Atlanta so that Andy can work for his father’s law firm. Her resentment towards Andy only builds in Atlanta, where she feels like she has morphed into a stepford wife, which only causes her to question her marriage to Andy more and what her feelings for Leo means.
Eventually the truth comes out right before Ellen is about to fly back to New York to do another photo shoot with Leo. Andy is upset and gives Ellen an ultimatum, if she goes to New York than she better not come home to him. And even with this dire threat, Ellen has to go to New York to see Leo.
There she must decide what she wants out of her life. Does she throw away her marriage for a man whom she has loved desperately, but who also hurt her deeply? Or does she return to a man who has loved her, but to a life that leaves her unsatisfied?
I enjoyed this book more so than Giffin’s previous novel, Baby Proof. I could predict the ending, but I was happy with the way it ended. Spoiler alert: I’m glad Ellen realized she was about to ruin her marriage for a man that didn’t have the balls to fight for their relationship when they were first together. I’m glad she didn’t cheat on Andy and realized that he is exactly where she is supposed to be. As she states, “I hold that day deep within myself, as a reminder that love is the sum of our choices, the strength of our commitments, the ties that bind us together.”
I think it’s fascinating how we can hold onto our past loves and they almost become idolized in our heads. I know I’m privy to that. There is one ex in particular where all I remember is the good times and I gloss over the rough ones. And I sometimes wonder what would happen if he came back into my life asking for another chance. Would I let him have it or would I remember all the reasons why we’re not compatible? And when I finally meet someone new, will I still wonder about him or will he just be a past love that brings a smile to my face?
Do you ever fall out of love with someone or does that love just merely change and morph into a new type of love? As I said, I love books that pose these types of questions. And while there was a happy ending to this book, I appreciate the fact that Giffin didn’t wrap it up too nicely. Even a year later, Ellen and Andy still struggle to find the right balance for their marriage and have found a compromise that works for the both of them currently. I’m relieved that she broke free of Leo’s hold on her.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Besides the great reviews this novel got, I also picked up this book because the main story was focused around office life. In our work driven society, we spend the majority of our lives at our jobs, grinding all day. I knew I would be able to relate.
The story is set around an advertising firm in Chicago that is going through layoffs. The employees are always at alert and nervous over whose going to be next to “Walk Spanish Down the Hall.” Obviously no one wants to be next and the employees spend mass amounts of time deliberating and gossiping about one another. Its no wonder the company is going through layoff, no one does any really work.
Ferris decides to tell the story in first person plural, the narrative “we.” As he puts it,
“Companies tend to refer to themselves in the first-person plural – in annual reports, corporate brochures, within meetings and internal memos, and, in particular in advertising. What used to be the “royal we” might now be thought of as the “corporate we.” It’s not just a company’s way of showing unity and strength; it’s also a matter of making everyone feel as if they’re a member of the club.”
Every company that I have ever worked for the Big Boss Person always refers to the underlings and themselves as “we”; “We had a stellar quarter” or “Although we accrued some financial losses, we will recover” and so on and so forth. I think it was a brilliant idea to write it this way and truly pulls the reader in and makes them feels like their an employee within the organization.
The story can be confusing because its jumps from one person’s story to the next and you can never tell whether an event happened in the present or the past. One minute someone has been layed off, and the next paragraph the narrator is telling a story about that person from last week. It can be hard to follow.
I believe Ferris does a great job of capturing an office’s dynamic between all the petty bullshit, mundane tasks, and the real camaraderie that co-workers feel towards each other. I can honestly say that some of my best friendships have started through my job. I have met and worked with a lot of amazing people and have developed wonderful friendships with them. Working with people creates a unique bond and I have kept in touch with a lot of my past co-workers.
This book also reminds me that work isn’t everything or it shouldn’t be. Its good to have a nice balance between work and play; on your deathbed you don’t want to assess your life and realize that all you’ve done is work and you never got a chance to truly live.
Friday, May 30, 2008
The novel centers around three friends who all work together at The Londoner (a magazine). Maggie is the career driven editor who is about to have her first baby and is nervous as hell about it. Roxanne is the freelancer who has been having a secret affair with the big boss man for the last six years. And Candice is a writer who has a heart of gold and feels guilty for her conman father who has screwed many people over the years.
The girls meet up once a month to gossip and catch up over cocktails. And that’s where Heather infiltrates their lives. Candice immediately recognizes her as a childhood friend whose family lost everything because of her father. Candice feels immense guilt over her father’s misdeeds and decides to make it up to Heather by getting her an interview at the magazine. Maggie and Roxanne are skeptical of Heather and warn Candice to be cautious.
Candice of course does not listen to the friendly advice and also invites Heather to move in with her (who does that by the way?). Little does she know that Heather is scheming to ruin her life. Maggie has her own problems. After the birth of her daughter, she cannot cope with motherhood and feels inadequate caring for her child (postpartum depression anyone). Roxanne is offered a great job opportunity in Cyprus and is deeply upset when her lover tells her to take it not. She does not know that he is dying from cancer.
They meet up for their monthly cocktail night when Candice drags along Heather. Maggie and Roxanne are not happy and this causes a rift between the three friends. The night ends badly with all three ladies upset at one another.
Eventually Heather’s shows her true colors and Candice is suspended from work for expense fraud. Candice has no one to turn to since her big fight with the other girls and must figure out how to clear her name. Will her friends come back to her in time?
I only picked up this book because I saw that Madeleine Wickham also writes as Sophie Kinsella, and I love Kinsella’s work. While I enjoyed Cocktails for Three, I think I prefer the writing style of Kinsella better. I always find it interesting when authors have multiple pen names. I know that some do it so that they can branch out of their typical genre and want to explore a different writing format or express themselves in another manner that may not be suitable to their typical reader. But in this instance it just seems weird that Kinsella would have another pen name in the same genre. The only real difference that I pick up on is that Wickham seems to be more mature chick lit, while Kinsella seems more whimsy hipper chick lit.
I may have to read them back to back to see if I can pick up any more differences between the two. I’m sure there has to be since she uses a pen name. I wonder which one is really her; maybe neither is her real name. Kinsella is definitely more successful and well known and has written more books.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Stephen mocked Rain by doing his own Korean pop video which can be seen here.
Stephen from there challenged Rain to a dance off, which apparently happened last week!!!! I cannot believe I missed this. You have to watch this. It's so freaking awesome. I heart him.
I mainly use my ipod now to download the podcasts of The Junkies so that I can listen to them when I’m at work or when I work out. I have never downloaded music from itunes. I used to download music the illegal way, but am too paranoid that the recording industry will come after me and demand shitloads of money from me.
So instead when I want to listen to a song, I go to youtube and play the video of the song I’m feening (I don’t think that’s how you spell that) to hear. Not only do I get to hear the song, but I also get to see the video, and for free! It’s silly! It’s also probably ghetto, but whatevs.
I seriously never listen to music on my ipod anymore. Occasionally when I’m in a bad mood or falling asleep at work I’ll listen to music to bump up my mood or wake my ass up. The few times I do this I realize I skip through a lot of songs. Its time to clean up the ipod and get rid of ditties that just shouldn’t be on there.
But I’m getting sidetracked. I came across Ne-Yo’s video called Closer and it’s my new favorite song. Its so sexual and hot and so Ne-Yo. He looks good in the video and I love the mix of slow beats and then ramped up club beats throughout the song.
From there I started to listen to Ne-Yo’s other songs like Because of You and Sexy Love and realized that each song reminded me of a different guy and I couldn’t help but smile and dance around crazily to each one of them.
Because of You reminds me of The Boy during our sexual high. All it took was hearing his voice and I was turned on, with his lazy drawn out way of saying my name, I was in my car headed over to his place. My favorite line, “I love the way you feel, just got me stuck between my fantasy and what is real. I need it when I want. I want it when I don’t.” He could just look at me and I wanted him. Our sexual attraction was strong, sometimes even too strong for me. And I was completely and thoroughly strung out on him and I could care less. He was my drug and I needed the fix constantly.
Sexy Love always makes me think of The Ex. My favorite line, “She makes the hair on the back of my hand stand up, just one touch.” When it was good between us, it was amazing, nothing compared to it. I was soaring when I was with him. I finally got what it meant to be in love. When we were together, we could never stop touching each other. A part of us always had to be touching, like we were afraid to let go. I just remember staring into his eyes and seeing myself in them and I knew I could get lost in there for hours and I knew there was no other place I’d rather be.
I think its great how songs can transport you back in another lifetime. I also think its interesting that two Ne-Yo songs remind me of two very different people. Check out Closer below.
Monday, May 12, 2008
A brief history lesson, Henry Tudor broke free from the Roman Catholic Church, so that he could set aside his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, and instead marry Anne Boleyn. This was huge during that time period because the Church no longer held authority and Henry seized all the power. His whims ruled everything and to question Henry could result with your head on the chopping block.
Mary is the narrator of this story and from the beginning she touches upon the rivalry between her and Anne. As Mary states, “There could hardly be a world for me without Anne, there was hardly world enough for us both.” They are night and day from one another. While Mary is fair and angelic, Anne is seductive and bold. But both are Boleyn girls and must heed to their family’s never ending ambition.
First Mary becomes Henry’s mistress and Anne must serve and help Mary advance the family name. Mary keeps the king’s attention for a few years and even has two children by him. Eventually his attention wanes and he begins to sniff around the other Boleyn girl. Soon Mary is commanded to step back while it is Anne’s turn to make a play at the King.
Anne will not settle for being Henry’s whore like her sister and instead has sights for the throne. Anne’s ambition knows no end and she will stop at nothing to achieve her goal. As history notes, she does become Queen, but the price is deadly. After giving birth to Princess Elizabeth, Anne knows that her next child must be a male heir. Unfortunately she cannot carry a child to term after that and is accused of witchcraft, adultery and incest where she is found guilty and beheaded.
Mary is a bystander in all of this and must watch in horror the choices her sister makes to accomplish her desires. Upon watching her sister’s beheading, Mary states, “And then the sword came down like a flash of lightning, and then her head was off her body and the long rivalry between me and the other Boleyn girl was over … He [the King] had taken my other self: Anne.”
Philippa Gregory did such an amazing job painting a vivid picture of this time period. While I felt the book ran a little long, I did love all the detail and attention she put into the story. She stayed true to the historical timeline and depicted the events as she imagined how they occurred.
I loved the relationship between Anne and Mary. They were sisters and cared deeply for one another, but also their worst enemy at the same time. They always tried to best each other and in the end, Anne paid the biggest price for it. Anne was such an interesting character to read. You could feel her determination and strength but also her desperation to maintain her hold on the King and how it drove her to do inexplicable acts. I also liked how Gregory chose to use Mary as the narrator. Her docility and sweet manner was a nice disparity to Anne and it played out well in the story. Until this book, I never even knew there was another Boleyn girl. History only writes about one.
There are so many other themes involved with this novel that I could go on and on about each one. Gregory touches upon homosexuality, women’s rights, the sanctity of marriage, socio-economic classes and so forth. The book is well balanced and I really enjoyed reading it. It gave me a keener insight into Henry’s reign and I want to pick up her novel, The Virgin’s Lover, which is about Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Now that I’ve hit some personal accomplishments such as buying my first home and climbing the corporate ladder at work, I want to have someone special to share these joys with. My relationship clock is ticking and I feel the passing of every second.
When I come home, I notice how very quiet and empty my place feels.”
This was originally what I was writing about my single life and how I want a relationship and then I had a semi-date on Wed and I’m rethinking everything. Ok, maybe not everything. Regarding my semi-date on Wednesday, while it was a fun evening, the timing is off. If perhaps this was three years earlier or maybe three years into the future, things would be different. Now I’m getting sidetracked.
Let me backtrack here. An old friend/co-worker was in town this past week. When we worked together we had a steady flirtation and even after I left the company and he moved, we still kept in touch. So naturally when he was in town, we met up for dinner.
We flirted throughout dinner and by the end of the night ended up making out in the car like teenagers. He was kissing me with so much passion and need and I completely freaked out. It was too much for me. I felt suffocated and trapped. I couldn’t handle the emotions behind the kiss. And there was a lot. I mean, we have been building this flirtation up for years and I was surprised by how much he wanted me. I probably shouldn’t have been.
Of course the minute he becomes available, I want to run screaming in the other direction. It’s so typical of me. But to be fair, logistically it can’t work right now. We don’t live in the same state, and at least for me the timing isn’t right. The crush I had on him before isn’t there for me now. I still admire and respect him and think he’s a great catch, and maybe further down the road I will feel differently. But right now, it doesn’t feel right.
And now I’m torn because I play the game so well and know exactly what to say to keep a guy interested, but the minute I feel him getting to close, I balk and panic. I know its because I’m scared of getting hurt and I need to be open to that possibility. I’ve just been burnt badly the few times I’ve done it, and it makes me more frightened for the next time.
But I meant it about what I wrote earlier before my date. I have been lonely for a while and I do want to share my life with someone. I see my friends that are married and how much love and trust that they have for one another and I know that I want that. I want to come home and share how my day has been with him. I want to hear about his day. I want us to make dinner together and then sit back on the couch and relax together. And then I want to walk up the stairs and fall asleep together.
And I know that before I can do any of this, I need to stop playing the games. I need to stop the flirting and stringing along and open myself up to whatever may come. No more pushing guys away the minute they start to really get to know me. Because I’ll never get what I want if I keep doing this.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Her baby is so precious, but seeing how tired she looks, I just know that I’m not there yet. I’m way too selfish and can barely take care of myself; I cannot imagine being responsible for another life. I know that emotionally I’m not ready to be a mother either. I need to fix some of my personal issues first before I take on the task of rearing children.
I know I’ve said it before that I just don’t like kids and mainly its because I don’t know how to relate to them. Even when I was younger and used to baby-sit (I was actually probably only 5-8 yrs older than my charges), I had a hard time interacting with them. I don’t know how to kid it down and bring it on their level.
Kids make me nervous because I feel like they can see right through me and know that I’m a complete fake. There are no fooling children, they observe so much and can be brutally honest. They also look like the suck the life out of you, are needy and dependent.
But I do want one. I want to experience what its like to be a mother and to love another being more than life itself. I want to experience the joys and triumphs of parenthood along with the trials and tribulations that come with it. My biological clock has not started ticking yet, but I do feel it winding up. It’s slowly preparing itself.
Seeing my friend and her new family, I was envious. Not because I want a baby right not, but I want that special bond that her and her husband share. The way they look at each other, the intimate smiles they give, the sweet way he takes care of her because she’s so tuckered out from being with the baby all day. I want that. I want to find someone I love so much that I want to make a baby with him.
My biological clock isn’t ticking for a baby, but it is ticking for a relationship …
To be Continued ...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
You're Feeling: Hot, very very hot. Stupid freaking hot flashes. I'm really starting to believe I have a hormonal imbalance.
To Your Left: "To the left, to the left ... I could have another you in a moment" ... Oh wait, that's another to the left. My living room is to my left.
On Your Mind: Nothing and everything ... knowing when to let go ... knowing when its time to move forward ... knowing when to not overthing every potential situation that I could get myself into.
Last Meal Included: Butternut squash ravoli, pretty tasty actually for a microwave dinner.
You Sometimes Find It Hard To: Not stress and worry about everything ... to sit still and take in the moment.
The Weather: Gorgeous and 70's, which I could be outside all day enjoying it.
Something You Have a Collection of: Coats and jackets.
A Smell That Cheers You Up: Clean towels and honeysuckles.
A Smell That Can Ruin Your Mood: Cigars.
How Long Since You Last Shaved: Last night I actually shaved my legs for the first time in two weeks.
The Current State of Your Hair: Messy and kinky.
The Largest Item on Your Desk/Workspace (not Computer): My glass of water.
Your Skill with Chopsticks: For an Asian, its pathetic, but I am getting better.
Which Section do you Head to First in a Bookstore: New fiction.
Something Your Craving: My 2nd income.
Your General Thoughts on the Presidential Race: Color me not interested. As long as the Dems can overthrow the Repubs, I'll be happy.
How Many Times Have you Been Hospitalized This Year: Zippy.
Favorite Place to go for a Quiet Moment: My car so that I can drive or my balcony.
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd be a Good: Cook, apparently, I'm not.
Something That Freaks You Out a Little: That I'll never reach my fullest potential or that I won't even realize it when I do, I guess that freaks me out a lot. Rising gas prices freak me out a little.
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately:Fast food, current favorite is Five Guys.
You Have Never: Made a meal I actually enjoyed.
You Never Want to: Stop Dreaming.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
- I really hate people who drive 60 miles or less in the fast lane of the beltway. Get out of my fucking way and move over to the slow lane. Why the hell are you even driving on the beltway?
- I really want to update my spring wardrobe. I work with a bunch of cute young girls, who dress uber-well and I feel frumpy standing next to them. I still have $100 gift card from my b-day that I have yet to use, but am not spending it yet until I lose some weight.
This is my motivation to start working out again.
- I did swim laps last week. About died after it was done. And I think I was sweating while in the pool. When I was finished my face was bright red, I was gasping for air, and for a moment there I thought I was about to pass out. My muscles started tightening up as soon as I got out of the water. So hurtin.
- I love my new couches. I finally have nice furniture and can invite people over without feeling embarrassed. People can actually sit down and not sink to the bottom of the sofa. My favorite things to do now are lay on my couch and read my book or take a nap. Even Weasley loves the couches and snuggles next to me while I’m laying on them. I have spent my tax return before I even got it, but they are so worth it.
- I know that The Hills is completely fake and yet I cannot not watch it every Monday. I have to know what is going on in the lives of LC and Heidi even though I usually know because of Perez Hilton. I don’t believe for one moment that Heidi and Spencer are on a relationship vacation or that Lauren could have gotten the job at People’s Republic if she didn’t have her own tv show. But I’m obsessed with the show and next week Stephen comes back and I kinda heart him.
- Seriously why the hell do the goddamn birds chirp so loud in the morning? Don’t they realize that not everyone is an early riser hunting for the worm? Every morning I wake up to their incessant chirping and I want to throw rocks at them to shut up.
- Heat apparently does rise and my upstairs is warmer now that the weather has gotten nicer. When I go to sleep, I need it to be an icebox. I like to be snuggled under my duvet even during the summer. The last few nights, I’ve had my windows wide open, my ceiling fan on high, and I was still hot. I had to go get my small fan and will now try having two fans blowing air on me to see if it helps me sleep better.
- I have not had any serious action since November. I am coming upon my six-month rule. I refuse to go longer than six months without. If I go longer than six months I become very grumpy. I will have to rectify this situation soon.
- I am trying to come up with my “30 Things to do Before I Turn 30” list and so far have only eight items listed. I’m stumped and can’t think of anything else I want/need to do. Does that mean I’m boring?
- My favorite sound in the world is listening to Weasley purr as he sits in my lap while I pet him. It’s so soothing. God, I need a boyfriend.
- My ten-year high school reunion is coming up and I cannot be bothered to go. Actually I know I will not be going because its BFE’s birthday weekend and I would rather be out with her celebrating her b-day than seeing the 90210 crowd that still thinks their the shit.
- I cannot believe ten years has gone by since I’ve been in high school. It seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago. What an interesting time. My high school experience can best be summarized as bumpy, but I also had some great times during those four years. Knowing what I know now, would I change certain things, and I’d have to say YES! But there really is no point in playing the “What If” game.
- I wish I wasn’t such a Nervous Nelly and didn’t over think every potential situation that I can get myself into. I wish I could learn to not be such a control freak and just breathe and let things play out naturally instead of trying to mastermind and determine the outcome. I think I would have more fun if I allowed myself to do that.
- I cannot remember the last time I played in the rain. I need to do that soon.
- I need to figure out what I want out of my life and stop trying to please those around me. I need to live for me and not for my family or friends or work or past loves. I try to hard to please everyone else and end up forgetting about myself.
- I am looking forward to a vacation. Not sure when, where or how I’ll be taking that vacation, but I can’t hardly wait for it.
- Sex and the City is coming to theaters on May 30! I have been gearing up by watching all the old season. Right now I’m in the middle of season 4 where Carrie gets back together with Adian only to break his heart all over again. Sometimes I hate, hate, hate Carrie and just want to smack her for being so self-centered. I love the show and really hope the movie does it justice.
- Gas prices are soaring and it’s killing me. The other day it cost me $50 to fill up my tank! $50 is a nice dinner out or a nice pair of sandals! $50 should not be what it costs to fill up my tank!
- I introduced my coworker to I Can Has Cheezburger; he has in turn introduced me to I Has a Hotdog. Hilarity ensues, and we never get any work done. Seriously, I need a boyfriend.
Monday, April 14, 2008
3) Who is your favorite band?
4) What is your favorite movie?
5) What kind of pet do you have?
6) Where do you live?
7) What do you do at work?
8) What do you look like?
9) What do you drive?
10) What's your favorite tv show?
11) Describe yourself:
12) What's your name?
13) What's your favorite candy?