Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg is a collection of short stories about women and their life experiences. Some of the stories I really enjoyed, and there were others where I felt there was no act of liberation as the title describes. Perhaps I missed it.

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

School's Out for Summer: Oh Wait, Summer's Ovah!

I know I have been a bit MIA lately with the blog and only posting about the books I have read, and its because I’ve been having such an amazing summer! This has by far been one of the best summers in my current adult life. Every weekend has brought a new adventure and I have been able to enjoy all the moments completely.

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

The Wednesday Letters

I just finished reading another love story that involved letters. What can I say; I’m a romantic at heart. The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright is a tale about love, faith and family.

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.