Thursday, January 27, 2011

Books, Books, Books

A friend of mine posted a link to a website on Facebook: Book Shelf Porn. I love books. My whole office space is full of books. Parting with three boxes of books when I got married was hard...physically painful even. But I did it all for love! (Ah, do you not just love over-dramatic yet true cliches?)  While my office does not look like these marvelous works of art, I am proud of its overcrowded shelves and eclectic wall space. While drooling on Book Shelf Porn, I found a few (ok, A LOT of) jewels and I wanted to share....

One picture:

I am Harry Potter NUT! I have tons of Harry Potter memorabilia: books, wands, Legos. The last movie is being released around our one year wedding anniversary. I am already planning a one year Harry Potter party complete with a midnight showing of the last movie! 

Then I found a well written book blog: Both Eyes Book Blog. I found a very old entry of hers that rewrites "I like Big Butts" (Mind you one of my two bridesmaids did a stand up fantastic version of this song....WORD FOR WORD at my wedding! It was amazing. I died laughing!) While, in honor of her and my book love, I will share her post: I like big books and I cannot lie

The words are as follow:
Oh, my, god.  Becky, look at her book.
It is so big.  She looks like,
One of those writers’ girlfriends.
But, you know, who understands those writers?
They only talk to her, because,
She looks like a dang librarian, ‘kay?
I mean, that book, is just so big.
I can’t believe it’s just so thick, it’s like,
A tome, I mean – whoa.  Look!
She’s got a stack!
I like big books and I cannot lie
You other bloggers can’t deny
I’ve got my books stacked up in an itty bitty space
And one in front of my face
I read Proust, I don’t think it’s so tough
You might notice I can’t get enough
At the fat books I’m staring
I’m hooked on the book comparing
O Author, I want your signature -
Autographed picture
My dilemma is thorny
A big book has just got to adorn me
Ooh, readin’ women
You say you want to impress my friends?
Well, bring grub, don’t flub
‘Cause we ain’t the average book club
I’ve seen them chit-chat
To hell with groups like that
We read, feed
We’ve got all the discussion you need
I’m tired of magazines
I say fat books are the thing
Take the average reader and ask him that
I got a full backpack
So, fellas!  (Yeah!)  Fellas!  (Yeah!)
Has your girlfriend got a book?  (Hell yeah!)
Tell her to share it!  (Share it!)  Share it!  (Share it!)
Share that heavy book!
Baby got book!
(Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker also)
Baby got book!
I like ‘em thick, and big
And complicated like Trig
I just can’t help myself, I’m actin’ like a recluse
Now here’s my excuse
I wanna get it home
And ugh, read all night, ugh, ugh
I ain’t talkin’ bout Netflix
‘Cause some books are gonna be my picks
I want ‘em real thick and juicy
So find that juicy novel
I might even grovel
Lookin’ for a book in my hovel
I don’t waste time watchin’ videos
At the mall shoppin’ for clothes
I am not a bimbo
I’ve got the book readin’ mojo
A word to the lit crit sisters, I wanna get with ya
And discuss literature
But I gotta be straight when I say I wanna read
Till the break of dawn
Books got it goin’ on
Novice readers won’t like this song
‘Cause when they just don’t get it, they quit it
But I’ve got the need to read
If it’s long, can’t go wrong
When I’m down to get some fiction on
So, Larry!  (Yeah!)  Mary!  (Yeah!)
If you wanna check out my library  (Yeah!)
Then come around!  Check it out!
Even frat boys got to shout
Baby got book!
Baby got book!
Yeah, baby… when it comes to reading, Cosmo ain’t got nothing
To do with my selection.  Say you’re only on page 36?  Ha ha, ‘m already in chapter three.
So your reading tastes are shoddy, rather work on your Pilates
Everybody’s more impressed if you are good at karate
The literati don’t care none
Unless you read books, hun
On the bus, in the bathtub
But please don’t lose that book
Some people don’t have the attention
For literary invention
They see a book and leave it
I see it but I don’t believe it
Cosmo’s about fashion
Not the bookish passion
When you’re at the mall and you’re contemplatin’
Some readin’ meditation
The pointless features in the magazines:
They just ain’t the thing!
Give me a classic, or I’ll go spastic
Ring it up on the plastic
Some knucklehead might have missed
All the classics on my list
He’d rather sit around, watch TV
Won’t be able to compete with me
So ladies who have books around
And who might want a Scrabble throw down,
Is the blog for your thoughts
Baby got book!
Bookmark in the middle of a paperback [4x]

Hope you enjoy my finds! (Just wondering: What is your favorite book?)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sex and Wedding

I love bridal TV shows, and I am a newly wed. In fact, on January 31, I will have been married for six months. As a newly wed, I love answering questions about my wedding while showing off pictures.

My husband helped design the cake, and it was breath taking. The flowers looked like they had been cut and paste from a magazine. The chapel was fairy tale perfect. I do not think Walt Disney himself could have designed a more romantic setting, yet at the same time, my wedding was not a "princess" wedding. I did not have a theme per say.

I had an elegant beautiful traditional wedding. TV shows, on the other hand, depict weddings with over the top themes, with the emphasis being on the perfect tablecloth or bigger centerpieces and not on the vows, the commitment that occurs between two people on a wedding day.

I do not mind couples having a themed wedding. I love looking at pictures of steam punk weddings, Renaissance Fair weddings, and Disney weddings. I also adore the website Off Beat Bride. What I do mind is the new direction the wedding dress has taken. Does the dress need to be white? No. Can the dress be fun? Yes. (I adore the retro dresses, like the one Audrey Hepburn wore in Funny Face!)

A wedding dress is an extension of the bride; it is to be an enhancement to the commitment and a reminder of vows the bride is about to take. Therefore, I was shocked during an episode TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" when a woman said, "The theme of my wedding is SEXY!" She went on to talk about how her dress had to be sexy and tight so it would show off her booty. When did a bride become a sex symbol?

I have noticed a trend arising lately with wedding dresses. Dresses are becoming more expensive for a lot less fabric...almost like a bathing suit. One designer in particular is designing dresses that are stunning, until it becomes apparent that the lace corset is transparent. The top of the dresses are already a sweetheart neck line, which would cause cleavage. Cleavage can be done tastefully. Yet on these dresses, take away the skirt and you would be left with a top that if dyed a different color could worn to a bar. Bar attire does not belong on a bride.

I believe that by wanting a sexy wedding dress, the bride is belittling the commitment she is about to make. Instead of putting the focus on the vows that are about to exchanged, the bride is saying "Look at my abs!" or if boobs are pouring out, "Look at my plastic! Your monetary gifts are going to finish paying for them!"

(Please not how low the dress below goes. This dress is very popular at Klenfeild's in NYC and on TV, the see-through part goes past the belly button!)

My husband told me on our wedding night that I was the sexist woman alive in my wedding dress: a dress that didn't show cleavage, wasn't short, and didn't cling. I believed him. In short, let the see-through be worn on the honeymoon. Let the wedding be about the love.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kitty Introduction

I have three cats and since I know I will be talking about them a good bit, I figured you should be introduced to them. My husband knows they are my true loves, especially Clementine. She was the"first born" so to speak. From this picture, you can clearly see where his place is in the relationship of girl, boy, and cats.

Clementine is a light colored calico with no tail. (She is a manx, so no I did not cut off her tail!) Her spots have tabby stripes and when she meows, she sticks out her tongue...every time! She was my only love at first sight experience! She is probably the funnier of all the cats, but her adoption is rather bland. Pet's Mart one week, saw her, came back a week later, she was still there, she came home.

Mona's full name is Mona Lisa. She is a darker colored calico with a half black, half orange face, and is the reincarnation of my mom's favorite cat Lisa; my godmother even asked me on Facebook the other day is Mona was Lisa's reincarnation and Lisa has been gone for about 14 years. (My mom loved that cat so much, she wanted to name me Lisa when I was born. Lisa did not pass away till I was in high school. Yeah, you read that right. She wanted to name me after a cat that was living.) Mom called me one day, crying from Pet's Mart; all I understood was "Lisa! Lisa!" My dad took the phone from her, and said, "She has found Lisa's twin. If her (five) cats don't like Lisa Jr, will you take her?" Well, Mona is Mom's favorite grandkitty!

Sam Libby is dad's girl. The husband did not want to keep her but since we were not even engaged when she came into the apartment, I still called ALL the shots. Sam Libby was thrown from a moving car and barely weighed four pounds, which for an almost year old cat is emancipated, when she was found. One of her legs was crushed and talks of having it amputated were had. (Side note: Almost named her Easel because tripod sounded too cruel, and easel was a sophisticated way of saying three legged.) Good news...She is fat (daddy defends her, "rolly polly!") and has all four legs. She is has a shoe fetish.

Slacker ME

I really need to get in the habit of writing every day or every other day. I know I could make time to do it. Heck, I played on Facebook for an hour or more last night! Oopps! This is my vow to my non existent readers, that I will indeed write more! Hehe.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blankets: A must read graphic novel

As I discussed yesterday, I love snow, especially playing in the snow. What I also love is coming in after playing in the snow and thawing my body out with a hot shower. Then a homemade quilt, a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with a book is all I want. I normally use snow days to reread favorite books: a Harry Potter novel, Little House in the Big Woods, Ovid's Metamorphosis, etc. Another fall back is Blankets by Craig Thompson.

Until Blankets, I had read a few  wonderful graphic novels (Maus, Persepolis), but I still regarded graphic novels as fat, over rated comic books. I liked the idea of the graphic novel as a novel, but I still hadn't found a "novel" in these graphics. Blankets was discovered on a rare trip to Barnes and Noble. The serene blue cover popped out amongst the bold primary colors of bulky superheroes.

I read the book in one sitting. The complex story that wove childhood, adolescence, and adulthood's evolution not only through life's experiences, such as love, but also through religion. 

“It was nearly impossible for me to accept that a group of people could adhere to the same belief, to be one in heart and mind, much less join together in a constructive goal. The personal Savior concept of Christianity is what appealed to me, the Good Shepherd neglecting the herd to search for the lonely, lost lamb…not this mass mentality.”
from Blankets

At the time of purchasing the book, I was in my second year of grade school, and a non-church goer. The book's simple approach to religion and how life pulls us to or away from God appealed to me. Blankets is autobiographical. His whimsical drawing style is balanced with aspects of realism and he is able to tackle very poignant topics, such as child abuse, teenage sexuality, etc. The flashback aspects were not cliche, cheesy, or a cop out; instead they enhanced the story in a way that flashbacks rarely do. The book balances his childhood with his brother and his first true love perfectly. 
To me, Blankets is one of the rare graphic novels who truly lives up to its genre; the masterfully drawn illustrations enhance a strong autobiography. Everyone can read this wonderful piece of literature and get something soulful from it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Giddy Happy Circles

While I have lived in the North Carolina and Tennessee mountains, snow was not something that was seen in great abundances in my childhood. Therefore, when it snows, I become a five year old, running circles. My toboggan literally looks like Shrek. It is green with little ear/ dilly-boppers and everything. It was a present for when I moved to Asheville, NC. (Everyone thought I was going to freeze to death; they were close to being right!)

I remember I once called out of work at Biltmore just so I could play in the snow. The next day I had to go in and made a snowman off the view point from Edith Vanderbilt's bedroom. Throughout the day other employees added touches to him. He ended up with latex gloves from housekeeping,  a scarf from another tour guide, etc. The next day a memo was issued about keeping the prestigious upscale nature of the Estate and the Vanderbilt family intact, and thusly no more snowmen. Oops? Anyways.......

Today is snowed. A lot. Six inches or so. It also happened to be the first day of school at the technical college I teach out. The excitement level exceed 100%; not only was it a snow day, but it was a SCHOOL day with snow!! Cue five year old behavior and running circles. (I didn't  make a snowman, but I did make a snow angel and played on the apartment playground!) Even better news....School is canceled tomorrow too!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Name of Blog

One of my most prized positions should be my marriage license, but considering I misplaced it for about two/ three months out of the five we have been married, you can tell it isn't. (I can replace it for ten bucks, but good news: I found it like six days ago. Now I can change my name!) I treasure the man, not the piece of paper that proves us to be married.

Anyways, one of my most prized positions is a copy of Truman Capote's "The Grass Harp." The book is a first edition, first printing and has a home in a glass case in the apartment. (My husband quickly learned that he had to ask permission to touch some of my books, like the hard back Harry Potters.) Now, I don't have money, nor will you ever see me pretending to, which is one of the reasons I love this book so much. (Oxymoron, no?)

Books have always been a source of comfort for me. A bad day was always fixed by a trip to the bookstore; I didn't even have to buy a book to feel better. I just had to walk in and take a deep breath and inhale the smell of them. (Trust me, therapy has nothing on the smell of a book and I've had therapy!)

When I worked at the Biltmore Estate, I became a frequent visitor to The Captain's Bookshelf. The second-hand bookstore specialized in rare and first edition books. Some of the books are in huge ornate cabinets; those books are the extremely rare editions, such as a "House on Pooh Corner" signed by the illustrator. Other books were in unlocked cabinets that were situated in the middle of the store.

I use to sit in the store and look at those books; books that one day I could afford, but defiantly not on my 9.50 an hour tour guide job in a expensive mountain town. Books that I knew the authors as if they were friends: Iris Murdoch, Flannery O'Conner, Truman Capote. The nice lady who worked there learned my name and would let me open the cabinets to touch the books. Holding these books made life wonderful. Touching Eudora Welty's signature made me giddy. Then, the Grass Harp arrived. I swear I went in there once a week to hold it.

The store didn't do payment plans, but they had pity from this uprooted girl. Setting up a payment plan with the store gave me a renewed sense of purpose, because at that time I felt lost in my job and my location. Yet, a book, aptly an expensive book, renewed me. I've always had a soft spot for Capote and his stories such as Grass Harp and Christmas Memory make believe he might have been one of the few people to truly understand human nature. Ever since I read Grass Harp as a sophomore in college, I made some of the lines from the book as a personal motto. I never want to loose who I am in this world, which is no easy task and I cannot say I have always been faithful to myself. Hopefully by naming my blog after one of my favorite stories of all times and putting myself in the tree, I can stay true to myself as I write. Therefore I leave you with this quote--the motto of this blog-- from the Grass Harp:

"A person to whom everything can be said. Am I an idiot to want such a thing? But ah, the energy we spend hiding from one another, afraid as we are of being identified. But here we are, identified: five fools in a tree. A great piece of luck provided we know how to use it: no longer any need to worry about the picture we present-- free to find out who we truly are." Judge Cool in The Grass Harp


I am not sure why I want to blog. I am not even sure what I have to say...Really makes you want to read this, huh? I guess I feel the urge to blog because I have always wanted to; I have an MA in English, so I also feel like I should work on my writing.

I graduated with my MA in 2007, so I have been getting rusty on my writing. I've had various jobs since graduating: guest relations at Biltmore Estate (aka tour guide), independent bookstore clerk, adjunct at a community college, and Direct Services Coordinator for a Sexual Trauma Center. Right now: adjunct. I think this odd mish-mash of jobs and experiences makes for a promising blog. I also like to bake and have cats; cliche, but true.

Most importantly I am a newly wed who is trying to find her way in religion again. No, I won't condemn you all to hell, but I will be tackling my own questions with religion. (Also, who am I to condemn? I am writing this while drinking wine; I am no Angel.) I want to make 2011 a year of self discovery and understanding of happiness.

I picked up a book before I got married titled The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I've just now gotten around to reading it. The premise of the book is that by changing the way you view the world and how you go about your day, you can find happiness. (I promise when I picked up the book, I had no idea it was a semi-self help book; I liked the title and the cover. I tend to "judge a book by its cover!"I would, however, recommend the book to anyone.) I already write in a journal, but Ms. Rubin said she gained a lot of happiness from her blog. Since I am starting my own "Happiness Project," I figured that I too would get that nagging feeling of "I could blog" out of my system.

Therefore, what you will find in this blog is:
--kitty stories
--job stories (some funny, some not so funny)
--self discovery
--newly wed stuff
--and who knows what else!