“What Are You Reading?”

Books have always been an extremely important part of my life.  Every childhood day ended in a bedtime story and I would sometimes ache and yearn for the year when it was finally time to learn how to read. After 1st grade hit, there was no stopping me. Library visits resulted in my brother, mother, & me lugging 20 or so books home, where I would race in the house and mentally prepare an order of who would be read first. Sometimes it would be  too much to wait for and I’d attempt to multi-task. Never a good idea.  The stories would begin to blend together as one and I couldn’t separate one story from the next. 

Usually when I haven’t seen a friend in a while (one who is a like minded reader)  in at least the first fifteen minutes, one of us will ask, “so what are you currently reading?’

WELL, thanks for asking 🙂 At the moment, I am reading, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”,  by Barbara Kingsolver.  It is absolutely wonderful & unbelievably inspiring. The funny thing about this particular book is that I bought it two years ago, took a crack at it, but couldn’t get through the first chapter. Thinking it was just me being weird, I pushed it along to a friend, who also couldn’t get over the first chapter hump. Oh well, back on the bookshelf it went. It would be read eventually….  Looking back, I don’t think I was ready for what “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” had to offer.

The story opens with Kingsolver and her family getting ready to move from Arizona to a farm they own in the Southern Appalachian mountains. For one year they planned on working the land and using every resource their home and neighborhood made available. The idea was to grow and raise as much as possible and if they couldn’t make it, would purchase from farmer’s markets or neighboring farms.  Sounds scary right? Luckily, she had been preparing for this experiment for a while, in addition to having grown up with a family farming back round. Oh jeez,  if I was in her shoes, a year with nothing store bought would mean a year of misery & starvation. Hopefully,  I would have known a year ahead to prepare: can some tomatoes, freeze certain fruits & vegetables, & get a couple chickens.  

With each page read I daydream about a farm of my home, hopefully somewhere in the hazy future ahead.  Mornings spent feeding the chickens and tending to my garden. August filled with bountiful amounts of vegetable, so much in fact that I would have no idea what to do with them all.  I’d sun dry tomatoes, make sauces, pickle everything in sight, and enjoy the freshest vegetables ever tasted.  The joy and satisfaction Kingsolver receives while watching the cycle of life is something I could only hope for my future. How blessed a life to eat a meal that was watched from the beginning of it’s journey to it’s end.

I still have a ways to go in the book – currently in August – so am very interested to see how they enjoy their fall crops and make plans for the winter. It’s interesting how “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”  has been like anything else in life  – it can mean absolutely nothing until your ready – and now unlike others I have read, am leisurely walking through the chapters, enjoying all the lessons and tips that Kingsolver hands my way.   Sure, I probably won’t own land for a long long LONG time, but definitely the next place I live will include my very  own garden. In the meantime, I am becoming more aware of where my food comes from and enjoying and truly appreciating the fresh vegetables from my family’s garden .

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At Last! Harry Potter!

At long last, the world has been graced with the newest installment of Harry Potter, “Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince”.  After reading the books manically last early Summer, the movies were all I have left.  I vividly remember closing the final book in July 2008 and knowing the only comfort I had was, “well at least the next movie comes out in November”.

BUT Warner Brothers threw us a curve and pushed the opening date to 7/15/09. UGH. But luckily time went by kinda fast and dah dah! This past Wednesday was Potter day! Obviously I went on opening day,  got advanced tickets, waited on line early, and basically had to muffle a sob when the movie began.

And I have to say after all the hype and year worth of waiting…it wasn’t the best Potter. BUT only because the book, in my opinion, was the very best of the series.  When a book is as detailed and action packed as the Half Blood Prince, how could you possibly get that all in under 3 hours? The last book, Deathly Hallows, is being split into two movies for just that reason.

Rather than focus on what went wrong in the movie, let’s focus on some of the good & fun:

  • Ron was muscular and girls liked him? Ha, the whole scene where he is playing quidith and totally working the crowd was hysterical. It was also nice to see him getting some attention for a change.  I for one would probably hate being friends with Harry. How do you compare with the “chosen one”?

  • Bellatrix had a very strong presence in the film. Her character is phenomenal and Helena Bonham Carter (the actress who plays her) does the most amazing job ever. Bellatrix is crazy and loves to kill people, blow things up, & cause trouble.  She also knows exactly how to push people’s buttons and use their good hearts against them.

  • Snape. Sweet wonderful Snape.  At this point during my reading, I HATED him with a burning passion and wanted to seek revenge for his treacherousness. In this book, you really have no idea what is going on with him.

  • Lavender was great.  She was a typical horror of a teenager desperately in love with Ron. I guess  she just couldn’t resist those muscules.
  • Horace Slughorn, the new Potions teacher this year, was hilarious. His facial expressions are priceless.
  • Jenny being much larger than Harry. I guess when you start off with such young children, you hope that they’ll grow to a nice size.  Jenny looks like a big strong rugby player while Harry is a petitey waif. Ooops. Oh well.
  • Draco  finally showed a different side of his character. In the past he was always mean and cold. Now you could feel his fear and desperation.
  • LUNA. Looking so magnificantly quirky as usual. The only down fall was she didn’t have much of a role in the movie. All her fantastic props made up for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Lord almighty, Tom Riddle aka Lord Voldermort as a child. SO creepy. How didn’t anyone know how scary and distrurbed he was.  If I was a professor, hell no would I think he’d be using magic for good.

There are other great moments I can’t think of off the top of my head, but these give you an idea of what we’re working with. So go, go see Harry Potter!! Better yet, read!  I probably sound like a broken record by now, but *sigh* the best series of books of my life.

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Do NOT Kiss Thorsten

As I may have mentioned, our cat Thorsten is the apple of my family’s eye and pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to us.  We  applaud him daily for being the best, coo over each of his flips and rolls, & take picture of him like he’s an infant.

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Isn’t he beautiful?

On top of having good self esteem, he also has a great life because he is allowed to go outdoors. He generally spends the day rolling around in the dirt, sunbathing, chasing animals, and digging up our neighbors yards. Obviously he is only popular in our household. Most of the neighbors do not share our love.

Last night I was sitting in the living room painting a picture and watching TV, when all of a sudden I heard a muffled meow. Immediately I got worried and thought someone was injured or was locked in something, perhaps a closet or cabinet.  Oh no, it was better than that. Turns out it was Thorsten at the back screen door trying to come inside. With a rat in his mouth. Ah ha, that’s why his voice was muffled!

Well. I screamed & shooed him away. Then I told my mom for some reason, like she was going to go find him with congratulations on a good kill & to thank him for bringing it to us. No, she just peered outside and said, “well! He’s not sleeping inside tonight”!

Just a nice friendly reminder to myself when I feel the need to love and shmooze our cats: They eat rats & probably would eat me if given the chance.

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Places I Won’t Be Going…

Drum roll please……..

CANADA!

This morning one of my co-workers was telling me about his bachelor party in Montreal this past weekend. Obviously it was a wild time, exactly what a bachelor party should be. Luckily there were no real problems – just your  typical drink as much as possible & dance with strippers kind of night.  BUT they did have problems while trying to get into Canada….

Turns out that the Canadians do NOT allow people who have had a DUI in the past ten years in without a price.  One of his friends had one and had to pay $210!

Ahem, I may or may not have had an incident back in 2005…looks like this girl won’t be heading to glorious Canada til 2015.

Oh whatever, what do I need to go to Canada for anyway? Besides it being a beautiful chilly country with wonderful peaceful people & delicious maple syrup (mmm ever have maple syrup cookies, they are the best!) I have no valid reason to venture north. I don’t know anyone there.  I don’t like to ski or be anywhere near the Artic Circle. If I am in dire need of Niagra Falls, I’ll stay on the state side. 

So fine Canada, don’t let me in. I wasn’t planning on visiting anyway.

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Lounging Around Time Square

I don’t get why they thought this would be a good idea or appealing…Picture 002

God help me if I went on vacation to New York and this was what I was in store for. A weird ironic joke where they are asking for peace and relaxation in the land of chaos.

But apparently, people (as in tourists) are loving this phenomenonas a chance to sit and catch their breath – which I guess makes sense because in that area there are no places to stop for a second without having someone walking behind them (ahem, me) roaring in the back round angrily pushing  their way through.

I for one hate this lawn chair idea. Being a person who has to at some point walk back and forth through the day, the slow moving tourists are bad enough. Giving them chairs to lounge around is the icing on the cake of laziness. Walking through now feels like your walking through some mystery white trash bbq where I am the only person who has somewhere to be.

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Eh it makes me anxious and a little angry just looking at this scene, knowing it’s my guaranteed  future.

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I Cracked

After 7 months and 7 days, I finally was weakened and bought myself books. One of my New Years resolutions was to not purchase one single book for the entire year. I knew that free good books always come my way . I have mountains upon mountains of books I own (exaggeration, more like 10) that need to be read. Why not get through these before new purchases? No no, I apparently needed some new ones.

But how can you resist when they sit in Central Park, looking so appealing as they lounge on their tables under the trees, hoping someone will adopt them. Strand Bookstore is always out there, selling their hearts out.  I generally don’t stop, knowing I am a sucker for wonderful low priced books. The one time I finally did, I knew I was done for.

My reasoning was that they are USED. So I figured it was a great deal. I got 3, count it 3 books for $14.00! I leveled with myself that I am going to need plenty of books to read while traveling, so it’s a great investment.

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How can you resist Oscar Wilde & F. Scott Fitzgerald?

 I certaintly can not.

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Do It Yourself Beach Clean-Up

After hearing that one of the few free local beachs was covered in garbage, Mhern & I decided to go to the beach on our day off  (last Friday) to pick up some trash.

Turns out it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be – I was picturing mountains of garbage, six ring soda plastic holes (not cut of course) strangling seagulls, piles of styrofoam, and the water being a questionable color of green – but we did manage to pick up one full bag of garbage & another of recycling.

It felt great taking an initiative and we were appluaded by locals for our good deed. In fact one mom said she would have gotten up and helped if it wasn’t for her super young child being there.

After we finished cleaning up, obviously it began to rain. So much for a full day in the sun.  But it got me thinking. How great would it be if when everyone came to the beach was required to bring out one bag of garbage?  Well even more  ideal, if people weren’t littering in the first place. It amazes me how lazy people can get.  There was a pile of garbage literally right next to the garbage can. Really? You couldn’t  go one inch out of your way to put it in.  

Well, I think this will be becoming a new trend when I go on beach visits. I highly recommend doing your own make-shift beach clean up, or if you want an actual event and make it a social thing, plenty of towns, groups, and so on have beach clean-ups – which are usually pretty fun.

 Here are a couple links that I have that may be helpful:

Clean Ocean Action is local NJ

Surfrider Foundation  is nationwide & has chapters all over the coasts.

So go! Go clean my beach!

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