Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Things I am Looking Forward to:

2-11-11 el Hollin at Flicker!
2-14-11 I always love Valentine's Day
2-18-11 Jim's Mom and Dad! annnnnd the Cookies open for the B-52's at the Classic Center!
2-18-11 Going to the Classic Center and NOT working
2-19-11 Athens Business Rocks finale!!!
2-25-11 George Harrison's birthday
3-3-11 Dad and Uncle Chris visit!
4-4-11 Jim back from tour
5-20-11 birthday
May 2011 possible trip?

Tuesday, February 8th

My last post I was on top of the world. Things got a little bit shaky over the weekend and as much as I look forward to having days off of work, inactivity leads my mind to dark places sometimes. Needless to say, I've been proactive since I got home today. I had to work at the hotel and it was pretty silly. I'll say no more. I treated myself to Your Pie Tuesday special and some lemon and raspberry sorbet on the way home. Delicious.

No one from MN will believe me, but it actually gets really cold here at night! I also must point out that I do a great deal more walking here in Athens than I ever really needed to on Hamline's campus with a Weyandt about a stone's throw in any direction. I came home and wanted nothing more than a hot bath. Lately Jim and I have discovered the wonders of epsom salt. Gosh, that makes us sound like a really old couple, but the stuff is great. The hot water strangely ran out so I tried to boil a few kettles full and pour them in the tub. It didn't end up working out very well.
I spent a good chunk of time learning new songs for the final round of Athens Business Rocks. I've missed doing music so much and it feels so good to get that portion of my brain working again. I have to work all day before rehearsal tomorrow so I thought I'd get something solidified tonight.
I got a phone call from my dad tonight. He and my uncle Chris are planning on coming down here in a month! I am so excited! That is such a short time to wait compared to when I used to have to wait two or three months to see Jim last year or something. I really hope we can day-trip to Savannah or Charleston. Ahhhh!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I apologize to my new followers who think my blog is boring because it's all just book reviews. Here is the latest with me:

It's February and this month is full of excitement! Just this week will be my debut musical performance in Athens! Keep in mind it's nothing serious, just a cover band with Bel Jean but I'm so excited all the same! It seems ages since I've sang or done anything and I've forgotten how much I love it. I love rehearsals, practicing, getting better, and getting excited about the show! Not quite the same as HU A Cappella, but I'll take it!

February also brings Valentine's day, always a favorite. Not so much for the romance but more for the cards and candies! A whole holiday about love, sending notes, and decorating with pink hearts! I'm excited.

There is also a big show and an up and coming visit from Jim's family in a couple of weeks that is going to be awesome but I'll go more into that later.

I mostly want to write about a strange change. For those who know me well like Jim and Jessica and my family, I've gone nearly two weeks without any feelings of guilt, sadness, or any of that crap. I haven't gotten upset at all lately. Every day seems to be happy. Things that would normally set me off I seem to shake easily as of late. I'm feeling good about myself, my life, my relationships, and where I am. I have so much to be thankful for. Apart from having to work, I am doing exactly what I want every day. Even my jobs I am lucky to have. I am living where I want, reading, going out, finally making some good friends, and successfully continuing in my relationship with Jim! I was talking to him about this the other day wondering if this return to content is just a fluke. After this past year, it seems too good to be true. His thoughts were that a lot happened this past year. Graduating, moving, losing routine, stuff with my parents, all sorts of changes that I never really expressed feelings about, yet I always seemed to get upset over really superficial insignificant things instead.

I am ready to continue in this phase! My life in Athens, or my life overall, is still just beginning! There is so much yet to happen and I am ready!

Review of "Little Women"

I am realizing that despite my studies, I'm not very good at critically reviewing books. I just like to talk about them. When I started playing around with my kindle, classics were the easiest to find. For some reason I had always (no pun intended) put 'Little Women' on the shelf, not really knowing much about it but guessing it was boring. Recently, my literary lady Emmy Kelly recommended the book to me, knowing how much I love Victorian-era romances and cute stories of sisterhood.
As soon as I started, I was entranced! I loved to read about their make believe games, the distinct personalities of the four March girls and how they all managed. Throughout the book I tried to see which March girl I identified with the most. Sweet pretty Meg, fiery independent Jo, angelic domestic Beth, or the elegant and spirited Amy. I think Scott meant for us to see some of ourselves in all of the characters. This book taught me so many lessons! Sometimes it was a bit preachy, but most of the time I really appreciated the lessons they learned from "Marmee". Especially about keeping busy to stay happy. It's quite true.
I just saw so much of my childhood experiences. Their games of make believe were precious. I remembered making my own newspapers for my house with my cousins when I was little. I also remember always having some sort of basket hanging from my summer trees as a mailbox for my family to leave me notes and treats. I was reminded of this when they made a post office in the bush between the March and Laurence houses. I recommend this to anyone who has sisters, girl friends, and appreciates the close ties of family.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review of Barbara Pym's "A Few Green Leaves"

From other critics, I understand that you seldom read Barbara Pym for an exciting plot. Pym's work sketches quaint scenes in provincial England or university life at Oxford. I haven't been disappointed yet in reading tales of the excellent women of the church, befuddled dons and vicars, nosy neighbors, and young bohemian anthropologists.

"A Few Green Leaves" takes place in a particularly small village in Oxfordshire. Throughout the book, the scenes rotate from the local rector, doctors, churchwomen, and young anthropologist hoping to complete a study on country life in their small town. Pym's writing style is humorous but compassionate. She perfectly illustrates the awkwardness of many social situations and conversations that don't always easily flow.

I found myself laughing out loud when some of the neighbors are taking a walk through the grounds of the empty manor of the village. Daphne, the rector's older sister, notices such a pretty spot of sweet violets only to be told that they are actually a discarded candy wrapper.

I love everything I've read by Pym so far and I would love to know if anyone else appreciates her. I'd say read one of her books, if it makes you smile or laugh out loud, then read on.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My review of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan"

Another historical fiction book review! I've just finished Lisa See's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". I had read See's "Shanghai Girls" a few weeks ago and was very impressed. This is the story of lifelong friendship, arranged friendship at that! In rural China in the 18th century, two young girls are matched at age seven to be old sames, friends for life. The story follows the girls journeys into womanhood, marriage, and motherhood.
See gives women the foreground in her stories, rarely even revealing the names of male characters. This is a book of the many hearbreaks faced by women Puwei China, where their only value was found in their ability to bear sons. I greatly enjoyed the friendship as the primary relationship and basis for Lily's story instead of family or romantic relationships. I just remember talking about this in French class a long time ago how romantic relationships sometimes take precedence over good friendships and we rarely see big movies with just friendships as the main dynamic. If you're interested in seeing a good example of this, check out French movie "My Best Friend" starring Daniel Auteuil. It's pretty silly, but I really liked how it was simply about finding friendship.

Back to the book review. This book not only discussed some customs such as embroidery and footbinding, but also the lost art of the language of nu shu, a calligraphy made by women for their own secret use. The secret fan carries messages in nu shu between Lily and Snow Flower during the entirety of their friendship.

Pardon the scatterbrained reviews. I just know that it's always easier for me to remember a book I heard about or was recommended than to go to the library with no plan in mind.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review of Emma Donoghue's "Slammerkin"

I had heard of Donoghue's new book, "Room" and that it's been getting good reviews. I looked for it at the library and when it was missing I decided to start with some of her other books.

Slammerkin is a the historical fiction of the life of Mary Saunders, a prostitute and maid in 18th century England. The book began with Mary's coming of age, and the bawdiness of her becoming a "Miss" was a guilty pleasure. Donoghue's descriptions of London's bustling nightlife made me feel as if I were actually there. Mary's life in London is a reference point for the rest of the book, taking place near present day Wales.

Mary's past is haunting, yet I kept hoping for her to be able to return to it. Saunders is not necessarily a pleasant character, but she breathes vigor and youth into the home of the family she works for.

I thought my review would be a lot longer, but this is all I've got. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction, descriptions of fine clothes, and household tensions.

Also, my favorite was the character Doll Higgins and her quips and quotes that appeared throughout the novel.