Monday, August 30, 2010

Thoughts on Nantucket - Part 2 - Bread

These thoughts are taking much longer than I wanted. Work is taking up far too much of my blogging time.

Food on Nantucket is obviously delicious, because, for some reason, all food tastes better on vacation. And on Nantucket my family is blessed to have unlimited opportunities to eat on the front porch of Granny's house. The front porch overlooks the Atlantic ocean and is right on a public walkway - its basically an opportunity to make complete strangers incredibly jealous (my favorite kind of opportunity).

Anyway - the BEST part of Nantucket is eating your breakfast on the porch. Preferably after 10 AM to get the full hedonistic feeling.

When you are a kid - Nantucket is the only place your mom lets you eat sugary cereal. So you spend HOURS in the cereal aisle at the Safeway trying to find the best/worst most sugary disgusting you can find. This is not an easy task, until you're 12 and too cool to look and just get Reese's Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which were always the best anyway). And that's what you eat.

Once you get to be a grown up - the only really acceptable breakfast is portuguese bread toasted with your choice of toppings. You can add fruit if you like, or juice or a cup of coffee - but the toast is the most important part. There are people in the world who think that portuguese bread tastes just like regular bread. They are obviously idiots who do not understand the finer things in life.

Again with the either or - there is Something Natural's portuguese bread and then there is Bake Shop portuguese bread. And you have a favorite. If you know what you're doing you have a favorite. Sure, you'll suffer through the other bakery if you absolutely must, but if someone really loved you - they'd have your preferred bread at the house.

And this is the kind of thing that can divide families. Example - Granny is a Something Natural kind of lady. Mom is a Bake Shop gal as am I. This makes things complicated - when I go with Mom, I am assured to have Bake Shop bread because apparently once you get to a certain age (mid-30's?) you can demand bakery products. At my young age - I am at the mercy of the matriarch of the house. But I suffer quietly.

Naturally toast is totally different from other bread needs - I would eat either as the outer perimeters of a sandwich. And they both have their bonus points. Bake Shop - Short bread cookies. They come in these huge squares and you break them off. Oh man... perfect boat food. Something Natural - oatmeal biscuits. Don't question it. Just accept it.

The fact that there is an epic battle over who makes the best bread is (of course) ridiculous. But, I think thats part of the fun. As if all you have to worry about when you're there is if you have the right brand of bread.

Also if you're out of Reese's Puff cereal. That is the kind of catastrophe from which the only escape is a trip to the dreaded Stop and Shop.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thoughts on Nantucket. Part 1 - Transportation

So I am on Nantucket for a woefully brief time this Summer, and I've been looking at it with a more critical eye. Not for any particular reason, but just to help me understand the Why of "Why I love it so much."

First off, for my first thought - let me start with I had very romantic ideas about posting one of these a day for the 5 days that I was here, but then I remembered I am on vacation, and that just seemed a lot like work to me. So I have just been brain writing this week and I'm hoping to get them all out and in the world by sometime next week.

What I've discovered about Nantucket is it is an island of paradoxes, of "this or that's" of "what kind of people are you?" It permeates every part of your stay. For most people who only go once or twice - it probably doesn't register, but once you can no longer count the visits on both hands you realize just how picky/a jerk you are.

Getting to Nantucket is no easy feat. That's the problem with an island 30 miles out in the Atlantic.

When I was a kid, and when my Mom was a kid (which is as far back as this train goes) we were slow boat ferry people. It is about an eight hour drive from the D.C. area to Hyannis and depending on a variety of factors (age of children, boat reservation, traffic, sanity etc) this drive can take one to two days. If you're on the two-day side of things, then you stay in a hotel in Hyannis. Its almost always a Days Inn, and on very rare occasions it has a pool. Sometimes your bike gets stolen. Every now and then you get a cheeseburger or a doughnut.

We are Steamship Authority people. This used to be the only game in town, but then the Hyline showed up with its fancy seats from this decade and its speediness, but my family are staunch supporters of the Steamship Authority. When we were kids, and my Great-Grandmother was alive, we used to take our car over, because otherwise we would be stranded, but even once we stopped driving and walked on the boat - the first choice was the slow boat from the Steamship Authority.

The slow boat takes at least two hours (if not 2 and a half?) depending on the weather its a bumpy and monotonous ride, but it is the beginning of vacation. In fact, I've already waxed poetic about it.

Occasionally the fast boat becomes a necessity and it is fancy pants...but not the same.

Since moving out to Chicago, my only realistic option has been to fly over (normally on JetBlue - which I have a very tumultuous relationship with - because its almost affordable). This has been, for the most part, incredibly stressful what with tornadoes in Brooklyn, lost pilots and (of course) fog. Fog makes flying into Nantucket the most inexact annoying science every and leaves me longing for the days when I could get there by boat - as it should be.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ya ya ya (part 2)

And now for the rousing conclusion to the most amazing YA novels according to Persnickety Snark.

51- Stargirl - Jerry Spinelli

52- Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones

53- The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper

54- Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

55- Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta

56- Second Helpings - Megan McCafferty

57- Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

58- Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer. WHEW! That was a long dry spell right there. Eclipse I don't like for all the reasons I don't like Twilight. That being said - I read them and I got through them without needing to actually throw the book across the wall, but man - do I hate most of those characters.

59- Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn, David Levithan. I don't think I knew this was a book - but I am curious as I had no desire to see the movie.

60- Fire - Kristin Cashore. I have heard these are okay, but there has been a huge outpouring of fantasy/sci-fi output in the past few years, and I can't really keep track.

61- The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier. I honestly had never heard of this book - but reading the Amazon blurb makes me want to read it really badly. I'll be looking for it at used book stores.

62- Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block

63- The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank. This is kind of like a freebie. What YA book list isn't going to have this? Of course its amazing and a life altering read, but I think I was far more moved by Night by Elie Wiesel. Two totally different stories, yes, but its a personal preference.

64- Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta

65- How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

66- City of Glass - Cassandra Clare

67- Keeping the Moon - Sarah Dessen

68- Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer. Is this the last book? I think so - which means its my least favorite. As I get further and further down this list I am starting to call shenanigans a little bit because there are a bunch of books that I think are missing and that I would happily replace all of these Twilight books with. That's the problem with living in a democracy I guess.

69- Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison

70- If I Stay - Gayle Forman. This sounds good. Like The Lovely Bones but better.

71- The King of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner

72- Wintergirls - Laurie Halse Anderson

73- Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast - Robin McKinley

74- The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley. Back-to-back books is pretty cool.

75- Feed - M.T. Anderson

76- The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares. I love me some pants. I've only probably gotten through like half of one of these books before having to put it down and focus on something else. But I am a big fan of the pants.

77- Go Ask Alice - Anonymous. This book scared the CRAP out of me. If drug awareness classes in high school were just reading this book and no lecturing, I probably would have tried way fewer drugs. Forget D.a.r.e. (do we still do that)? And make all kids (especially girls) read this.

78- Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr

79- Lord of the Flies - William Golding. This is a 9th grade staple I'm pretty sure. I liked it much more than A Separate Peace anyway - if I'm going to read a book about boys going through adolescence - I would much rather it be set in the jungle.

80- Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen. Finally! Ms. Dessen is the IT girl on this list and this is the only book of her's I've read. I was forced to read it because I did not bring enough reading material to Europe so Bear and I had to trade books and she got Lahiri's The Namesake and I was stuck with this (and a book that was even worse). This is easily my least favorite kind of young adult fiction. Its the equivalent of Chick lit for teens and it is okay sometimes, but it doesn't really require much brain power. Its the Baby-Sitters Club of this generation and if any of Dessen's other books are this melodramatic I am going to have to pass, even though she is totally at the popular girl's lunch table.

81- The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

82- Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson. I think? I read this, but I am not totally remembering what went down. The wikipedia blurb sounds very familiar, but it did not resonate like other books from my childhood.

83- The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

84- Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder

85- Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead

86- The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi. This is one of my go-to bedtime books when I am at my Mom's house. It's so good and very comforting.

87- An Abundance of Katherines - John Green

88- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon. Is this really billed as a YA book? Because I think everyone should read it. Everyone in the whole world. My contact with autism was very limited before I had read this book and I think that as I have met more children with autism it has helped me understand how their brains work (naturally, all children are different and this is obviously a very specialized case, but it is so interesting). If you ever plan to talk to or see a child - read it.

89- A Ring of Endless Light - Madeleine L'Engle. Really? This is the L'Engle book that people picked?? I have not read it, but I have read a whole bunch of her books and the fact that I don't think I've even heard about this makes me think maybe it wasn't the best choice. The blurb makes it sound interesting enough but it is no Wrinkle in Time.

90- Glass Houses - Rachel Caine. Eeee-Nough with the Vampires. Sheesh.

91- The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party - M.T. Anderson

92- Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech. Did I read this? I feel like I was supposed to at one point or another, but I can't remember. Twelve was a long time ago.

93- Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher

94- Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles

95- Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols

96- The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks

97- Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

98. Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

99- The Pigman - Paul Zindel

100. The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley

So the second half of this list, over all was way anticlimactic for me (probably should have thought of that before I started this dumb little project, Dur). But I think what amazes me are not necessarily the books that are included, but the books that are excluded. I wonder if maybe it's because I am approximately 1,000-years old. But the books that helped shaped my young adult years are nowhere to be found on this list. Books like:

Calico Captive

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Wise Child (and Juniper)

Island of the Blue Dolphins

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and Black Hearts in Battersea)

The Giver

...there are more but those are the first ones to come to mind, the books that I remember in their entirety and that made we want to write.

Most of the books I just listed are at least 20 or 30 years old, but so are many of the books on the top 100 - I think that maybe it has a lot to do with the influence of my Mother, who gave me the books that shaped her childhood with the belief that they would also affect mine. And she was right.

There are some other nit-picky things I have with picking one book over another of a particular author (seriously, Alanna: The First Adventure is probably the most boring book in all of the Tortall books. Wild Magic is SO better...).

I hope that the reason the books that made this list made the list because a lot of the voters/nominators are young adults right now, and these are the books that excite them. I would hope that librarians/teachers/parents have not given up on the books of their generation for vampires and mopey girls.

Anyway - I am jazzed about Persnickety Snark and can't wait to read more of their stuff. I hope that if they do this poll next year, it can be a return to more vintage stuff.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ya ya ya (part 1) which first of all, has the most amazing blog name ever, did a badass list of the best Young Adult novels ever. So sweet life. So here is my take on it, because I, no joke, majored in young adult literature (or...creative writing, but I read a lot of books geared towards 13 year-olds).

Here is the first half because I'm only at book 50 and its 11:04 at night and I need to pack.

Anyway - here we go:

1 - The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. While I don't necessarily know if this would be at the top of my all-time list, I am pretty obsessed with this book. I read it in about 5 hours. It is so gripping and suspenseful, and since its YA - you're fairly confident there is going to be a "happy" ending, but its a little dicey sometimes. I audibly gasped while reading this book. I am so jazzed for Mockingjay to come out tomorrow

2- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling. Well, DUH. This book was so amazing the first time I read it, and it has not ever disappointed, even in four or five rereads. The first one only scratches the surface of the potential these books had, and the rest do not disappoint.

3- To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee. I read this book as an assignment in 10th grade and was obviously, totally drawn to Scout, because I was once a curious little girl who asked questions, but recently I've read a lot of stuff about how that book, that seems so racially sensitive is actually incredibly racist. Which is a fairly valid point, and makes me want to read it again.

4- Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

5- Northern Lights - Philip Pullman. This is known as The Golden Compass in America and also known as one of my personal top 5 books in the world. I don't like the other 2 books in the series nearly as much, but that didn't stop me from writing my thesis on The Amber Spyglass because it gave me an opportunity to use The Golden Compass as a source.

6- The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

7- The Book Thief - Markus Zusak. Its on my to-read list.

8- The Outsiders - S. E. Hinton. I think this is one of those books that I was supposed to read in high school or maybe even middle school but I never did. From what I know about it, I'm okay with that.

9- Twilight - Stephenie Meyer. I get the big whoop about these books. I don't necessarily agree with it, but I get it. Steph got the formula so right, its kind of amazing. I personally, found my eyes rolling like every third or fourth sentence and really - I could write a whole blog on why these books make me so angry but what it boils down to is - Bella is such a whiny, pathetic girl...and she has horrible taste in men, even for a 15 year old.

10- This Lullaby - Sarah Dessen

11- Looking for Alaska - John Green

12- Just Listen - Sarah Dessen

13- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling. I find it super interesting that the first and last books of this series are the top two on the list. But I also totally agree with it. When I reread this book earlier this year, there were moments when I had to shut the book because I felt terrified and I Already Knew What happened (also its Fiction). So amazing. The last 10 pages make me grouchy but they are to be expected, I was better than the alternative.

14- Little Women- Louisa May Alcott. Of course. Please. I just realized I don't own it, or maybe its at my Mom's house? I feel like I need a copy for when I have the flu and its cold and rainy.

15- City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

16- On the Jellicoe Road- Melina Marchetta

17- The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger. I know this is heresy to some people, but I only got through the first 25 pages of this before I gave up on it. I hate Holden Caufield. So hard. Ugh. Maybe if I had tried to read it in high school or college I would have *gotten* it. But at the age of 24, there were US Weekly's that held my attention for longer.

18- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling. Oh Sirius Black. I heart you.

19- The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. How did I not read this book yet? Its going to the top of the list. Well, near the top.

20- Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen

21- Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater

22- Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

23- Graceling - Kristin Cashore

24- Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

25- Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty

26- The Lord of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkien - yeah, I know, I should read this or at least see the movie, but I am afraid its possible the moment has passed.

27- Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce. First of all, these books are WAY more scandalous than I think a 13-year old is ready for. I mean, there is a substantial amount of boning in this book and she's what, 17 year and goes on birth control?! However, its all very chaste and totally enjoyable and wonderful and I think the fact that she gets around sends a message about confidence to girls which I support more than Miss Bella Swann.

28- Ender's Game- Orson Scott Card

29- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Price - J.K. Rowling. Delores Umbridge might be the best written/most awful/awesome character I've ever read.

30- Uglies- Scott Westerfeld. I got this for C-bomb a few years ago and never managed to steal it back to read. Bear has it too. No excuses for this one.

31- A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

32- Tomorrow, When the War Began - John Marsden

33- The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart

34- Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen. Wow, is this really YA? Awesome. Same as Little Women, I need a copy for a day when I want to be on the couch for 6-8 hours.

35- The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

36- Paper Towns - John Green

37- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling. Cedric Diggory...mmm.

38- Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins. Oh man, again - I read this book in what felt like seconds. I left work early because it was just sitting in my bookbag and I knew I wasn't going to actually get any work done until I finished it. Katniss, again, an awesome strong female protagonist that will use men to her advantage but doesn't need them to get up in the morning.

39- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith. Again, I am so sad I haven't read this...I feel like a failure sometimes.

40- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Sherman Alexie

41- Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen

42- The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman. For real people, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on this book and I got an A. I love this trilogy but I won't ever see the movies because of the whole taking out the anti-religion piece. It would be like making "Paradise Lost" a romantic comedy. This book gets really slow towards the end, but the world she discovers in this book is so magical and wonderful.

43- Evernight - Claudia Gray

44- Sabriel - Garth Nix

45- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling. Is this the first one where Harry makes out with a girl? That is always so uncomfortable for me.

46- Beautiful Creatures- Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

47- Forever - Judy Blume

48- I Captured the Castle - Dodie Smith. The most perfect vacation book ever. This book will always remind me of Nantucket, because that's the first porch I read it on, but it deserves others. The girl who narrates is so wonderful and secretly who I spent my whole childhood (and most of adulthood) wanting to be.

49- Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine. I don't think I knew this was a book. But okay. I did not see the movie because of my aversion to Anne Hathaway, but I've heard its better than I expect...I am not holding my breath.

50- The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot. Again - Anne Hathaway makes me itchy. And I could never read these books without thinking of her.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

fail the bees

So you may have noticed two spelling errors in the last two posts - if not, congratulations, we are much more cosmically linked than I knew before.

Anyway, they were very subtly pointed out to me, which I am cool with - I can take some constructive criticism, but there was a part of me that, after reading the e-mail was like,"Meh? What do I care?" which is pretty pathetic, because I should care about things like proper word spelling, but the fact of the matter is, unless you're going to pay me to care by hiring me to write for you or If I think you might give me a job, I will spellcheck a cover letter from time to time, (this got me though the time I put "roll" instead of "role." Ugh! I will never live that down).

So WHY? pray-tell does a writer think she can be so loosey-goosey with the spelling of words, particularly in her native language?

Because no one ever really told me that I had to worry about it.


In second grade - Mrs. Bierley told us that we were allowed to spell words how they sounded (or phonetically - as the grown-ups say it). And so I did. And that meant that words that are spelled much differently (ie - "bowls") than they sounded in my head, came out dead wrong, ("boules" for example). And while she always corrected my spelling, I never once was told that what I was doing was wrong.

Enter third grade where I had a teacher who, looking back on it, should not have been employed by the Frederick County public school system and is all that is wrong with tenure and teachers unions and all that. She was a hot mess. She had at least three kids under the age of three and so was only in the classroom half of the day (because that's an excuse to not do your job). The rest of the day we were shuttled around like boxcar children from one random room to the next.

Needless to say, our education was not at the top of any one's priority list.

In 3rd grade not much happens, which meant it was a pretty good year to get abandoned like a ginger at the prom but the one critical thing that happens, is you start in with the spelling tests. Because apparently before third grade everyone is way to ADHD to get in on some rote memorization.

Anyway - in third grade I started flunking spelling tests, not a lot, because 98% of the English language is common sense, and I'm not a total moron, but I was sliding by with 13 out of 20's most weeks, and because no one cared at all as long I wasn't burning the building down - I didn't really catch any flack for not knowing how to spell these words like tomorrow and surprise (both of which still take a few tries most days) so I never learned to care about spelling.

Which is pretty pathetic, I know...but it got to a point where my complete lack of spelling skills became a cute quirk in my personality. It was right up there with self deprecating humor and weirdly small feet. So now I make a concerted effort but really - thanks to a whole bunch of people not caring about me during that tender age of 8 - I could honestly care less when things are wrong.

And according to 7 year old Rachel, as long as it looks right when I sound it out- its right.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

two is really enough

For the past almost-three-weeks my boss has been away. This isn't new, she is quite the world traveler and has left me home alone before, although during past adventures in baby-sitting there has always been another adult around, maybe not in the office every day, but just a phone call and a short drive away.

This time however, I've been flying solo. People are checking emails and talking on skype fairly frequently so I don't feel abandoned, but there is still has been about 98% of alone time.

This means I should be getting TONS of work done, which is of course not true, because its hard to find motivation when you're flying solo and facebook will not leave you alone (grr...facebook).

But I am making progress all by myself...I am a good worker.

The point of this blog is not whether or not I am good employee - its what happens once I get home from work.

Rachel - "...and then I had a sandwich."

Boyfriend - laughter

Rachel - "What? What is so funny?"

Boyfriend - you just spoke for about 30 minutes straight and I just realized why. You haven't talked to anyone all day.

Once he brought up I started to realize it was totally true, I've been lucky enough to get food and drinks with people most nights the past few weeks and thinking back - I have not been able to shut up. Even more than normal. And I have even heard myself talking, and tried to make myself stop talking and start listening, and it still keeps coming out.

Its not really word vomit, per se - but its all the little anecdotes that I share with my boss every day. Its the this happened to me last night, this morning, five minutes ago. Without her, they get all stored up and then come out really fast all at once - kind of like, well - word vomit.


And this is why I am now confident in the fact that there is no way I could possibly live alone. I could, but I would probably explode. I need to talk to people. I am not sure if this is something I should feel bad about - or if its just something I should accept about myself.

And I mean, lets be real - I am also a listener, and happy to be... but once I've had a day, I need to analyze and discuss it to make sure that I'm okay with it.

And so now - my boss will be back soon, but of course it took nearly three weeks to realize what was happening, so the past two nights I've been able to warn people,

"I haven't had an actual conversation today - so I'm going to talk a lot about nothing at all."

According to most of my friends - this is nothing new.

Monday, August 16, 2010

the stuff

I've decided that 2010 is the year of being a writer.

I know, its a little late in the game to be deciding anything about 2010 - since its already almost over (essentially). But - I want to try harder for the rest of the year and see what comes of it.

And secretly, I've been trying for a while now. Forcing myself to attempt to write 30 blogs in 30 days (which, AnnieBelle, I want a rematch - even though I won last time) and boring the interweb universe with my insanely cliche anecdote about my trip to Europe... this is me trying.

I write at work too - I write to make people believe in our cause and our mission - for people to give us work and money...and for the most part it seems to be working.

And I'm editing old writing. Trying to make it real instead of just fun.

So anyway - Happy Monday everyone. Please bug the shit out of me if more than a couple days go by without a post, because I might forget that this is the year (or 5/12ths of a year) of being a writer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lost it

there was a miserable, self deprecating post here that would have made people want to comment and tell me to cheer up. But instead now there is a picture of delicious Maryland Blue Crabs.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

by the cover

I have this impulse that is nearly uncontrollable -

When I see people on the train or in the gym or at the crosswalk holding a book that I've read - I desperately want to talk to them about it. It gets to the point where I have to physically turn my body and think about something else, so insistent is my desire to get their thoughts and opinions.

Well, whackjob, why don't you just join a book club??

I did! And I love book club, but for the most part the same 8 or 10 fabulous ladies have been in it for two or three years and so I almost already know what people are going to think about certain books...when you have strong opinions - they hardly ever change. And for real, sometimes these ladies surprise me with their thoughts and get me to look at things a different way, but mostly I'm ready for the page that they're going to be on (as it were).

Whereas - strangers? Oh man - I have No IDEA what that girl holding "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was thinking, she was only like 50 pages in (judging from where her index finger was in the pages) and I so.badly wanted to be like, "I know, its slow and boring now, but just give it some time..."

The most amazing moment of this was when I was on the bus reading "Team of Rivals" (for Book Club). I was pretty engrossed but aware enough to notice that an older gentleman with a long white beard and a badass old man hat had sat down next to me. I was curious to find out what he was reading and I find that no joke he was reading the SAME BOOK. We were both reading Team of Rivals, next to each other on the same number #2 bus. How does that even happen??

I had soooo many questions and queries about that book, and I was dying to ask him all of them but he looked engrossed and like he might be an old man of the grouchy variety so I didn't. I did hold the cover of my book up in a very obvious way as to say, "Hey! Hey! Look at me! We're not a wasted generation as a whole!" He either never noticed or didn't care. To this day I wished I had worked up the courage to find out how he felt about the book and its relevance to our current political climate, because I KNOW he would have had some crazy interesting answers.

Some people do not have my willpower - and I have been asked before by strangers how I like books that are in my hands. This is pretty much the only time I talk to strangers ever. Of course, most of the time once they ask I go into an overly long diatribe about how I'm having trouble relating to the main character, and how the parents are just caricatures and the writing style leaves something to be desired and the people will give me a minor stink eye. And then I realize they're looking for a, "its pretty good."

I wonder if other English major/bibliophiles have the same problem or is it just I'm weird with a poor sense of social decency.

Friday, August 06, 2010

two years ago...

Two years ago, today, I changed my clothes in the bathroom on the lower level of the Harold Washington Library.

I was coming from work, where I was required to wear jeans. And I didn't want to be wearing jeans for tonight (two years ago).

Because I wanted to look nice.

And the bus let me off downtown. On State and Van Buren.

And I didn't have time to go home.

So I went to the Library. And changed my clothes.

And then I left the library and felt slightly ridiculous about myself, but knowing it was worth it.

And that feeling?

Of absurdity that makes sense?

It hasn't gone away.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I cannot find acceptable length shorts.

I am 5'2 and some of that is legs, and some is torso - its pretty standard. And I really want shorts that are acceptable to wear besides at the beach/grocery store/baseball game.

Turns out that is a pipe dream. There is no such thing as a flattering pair of shorts for a girl of my proportions, which doesn't seem quite fair - because despite the fact that taller people might feel the rain first, I get unbearable hot just like everyone else.

Monday, August 02, 2010

just a barrel

Sometimes I get to a point where I think I have just the right amount of clothes, but then an event pops up, like a wedding, and I cannot find anything to wear in my whooooole closet, and that gives me permission to buy more things.

This is a sick, twisted system and is the reason it will take me 7 years to save for a down payment for a house.

She's pint-sized and amazing.