Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I am currently without a journal. This is the first time in almost 15 years. The old one took its place last year on the shelf with the rest of my memoirs as Vol. 11 and I have yet to start Vol. 12. It has been so long since I've purchased a new one that I'm at a loss for what kind to buy and where to buy one. I don't need one with a lock or one that is covered in butterflies. That narrows down my choices quite a bit. Though I feel a little like a wannabe indy poet with this choice, I think I may go with a Moleskine. One reason is because they are the only "journals" in B&N or Borders that proclaim to be "acid-free." Another is because they are plain and sans colors and patterns and motivational phrases. The other reason is because they are thin. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I finish a journal so the smaller it is, the quicker I'll complete it. Plus, I can also buy them in a pack of three really thin ones, that way I can use one for my personal journal and the other ones can be used to record all those random creative plans... (it's a good thing they are thin books).

On the cover of the Moleskine notebook is the description "The legendary notebooks of Hemingway, Picasso, Chatwin." That tagline alone is saying "Once you own me, a piece of Hemingway's genius will be absorbed into you. Good luck my child." It's like they know. They know that you are not just a student or a teacher or a trash man or an accountant. They know that deep down you are meant to be a champion of creativity. You are meant to spend your evenings on the porch of your cottage on the coast of Maine, with a glass of wine, leisurely penning the next great American novel. Not because you want to... but because you can. The website also caters to this unexplored chasm of your potential. It describes the notebooks as "flexible and brilliantly simple tools for use both in everyday and extraordinary circumstances, ultimately becoming an integral part of one's personality." Yes, you too, my friend, are extraordinary and can become one with your Moleskine. It will inevitably become part of you. And you, in turn, a part of it.

My journal functions as an outlet for my brain. Mental exercise, if you will. In its absence, I am experiencing a bit of mental overload. All of my thoughts have become so jumbled up in my head that there isn't room for new ones so they are becoming underdeveloped and mutated. My mind has become a tiny aquarium with thousands of goldfish whose individual presence is preventing each of the fellow goldfish from expanding to their fullest potential. Thus, I must find a journal (or a pensieve) and begin to extract my mental goldfish one by one. Tonight, I will become the first-time owner of a Moleskine (or three). Wish me luck.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Book List (Grown up edition)

I stole this from various friends' blogs and thought it was a good idea. It is similar to the BBC Big Read list. I have the BBC Big Read printed out and kept in my purse for quick reference. I have the books marked that I own so I don't duplicate any if I see a good buy. I'm a fan of owning the "classics." Even if you don't find the books that you were forced to read in school as gripping, page-turning entertainment, it really is literature at its best.

The object of this little list is to mark what you've read. I've taken the list and marked what I've read (red) and what I own but haven't read yet (blue) and the black is everything else left over that I hope to one day read or at least own to build up my library and convey a false sense of intelligence.

1 - Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2 - The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 - Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 - Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 - To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6- The Bible
7 - Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 - Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 - His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 - Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 - Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 - Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 - Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 - Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 - Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 - The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 - Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 - Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 - The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 - Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 - Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 - The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 - Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 - War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 - The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 - Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 - Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 - Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 - Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 - The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 - Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 - David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 - Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 - Emma - Jane Austen

35 - Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 - The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 - Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 - Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 - Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 - Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 - The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 - One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 - A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 - The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 - Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 - Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 - The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 - Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 - Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 - Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 - Dune - Frank Herbert
53 - Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 - Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 - A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 - The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 - A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 - Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 - Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 - Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 - Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 - The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 - The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 - Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 - On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 - Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 - Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 - Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 - Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 - Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 - Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 - The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 - Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 - Ulysses - James Joyce
76 - The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 - Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 - Germinal - Emile Zola
79 - Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 - Possession - AS Byatt
81 - A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 - Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 - The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 - The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 - Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 - A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 - Charlotte’s Web - EB White 88 - The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 - Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 - The Faraway Tree Collection
91 - Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 - The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 - The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 - Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 - A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 - A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 - The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 - Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 - Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fighting the early signs of aging

The other day I was standing in line at Target and overheard a conversation between two girls behind me. They seemed about college freshman age, decked out in the UNC paraphernalia purchased from the cutesy section of the college bookstore (i.e. pink oversized sweats instead of the traditional school colors). One pulled the current NOW CD from the shelf (I think it was NOW 247), and began to read off the songs and declare what an awesome CD it was. For those that don't know, the NOW CDs - full name, NOW that's what I call music!- are the CDs of the current top Pop songs. They have been making them since I was in high school. I never purchased one then though I did listen to that music. Currently, I would rather slide down a banister of razor blades than purchase a NOW CD.

Upon hearing this conversation, it made me realize that I'm starting to become one of those people that is so distanced from the young generation of teeny boppers, that I'm making mental judgments on how much better I am because I'm not longer like them. Growing older is like taking progressive steps outside of the bubble that covers each of our respective life phases. And with each step, certain realities are made a bit more evident. The following are a few examples of these, sometimes haunting, realities that I have been noticing in my life.

One that has been a little troubling is that I no longer have the same retail shopping endurance. I have become a quest shopper only. For example, if I need a new pair of jeans, I go to American Eagle (usually online first and if I find that they have what I want, I go to the actual store so I don't have to pay shipping), see if they have my size, grumble while I deliberate if I'm actually going to try them on, end up trying them on, buy them, and go home. Gone are the days of going to the mall just for the sake of going to the mall. Not that I was ever one of the girls that would meet up with friends at the food court and shop as a disguise to check out hot boys hanging out at the Sbarro. Regardless, I no longer have the patience to search through store after store for a super-cute top or killer strappy heels. I now get bored after about 30 minutes, get an Orange Julius and call it a day.

I was once told that when you started choosing comfort/practicability over fashion is a sign that you are no longer young and in style. I have reached a point where this might be true. I have not resorted to wearing sweats and a fanny pack everywhere or shopping out of the Lands End catalog but if I'm not at work, I am frequently seen in basketball shorts and a t-shirt. Who do I have to impress?? Clearly no one.

It's understood that Jericho is pretty much the cutest boy ever, but I do find myself pretty capable in seeing various ways other males can be attractive to women. I do not, however, have any part of me that finds teenage guys attractive who weigh 110 pounds and wear their 10 year old sister's jeans. I know one of the ultimate signs of being un-cool and past the times is when you bash on the modern trends. Whatever. Gross is gross.

As a teenager, it felt like we went to the movies every weekend. If it wasn't a full price movie, it was a cheap one at Blue Ridge that we'd already seen 3 times. With this year as an exception - since there have been and will be some rockin movies this year - I no longer have the same desire to watch movies or am entertained by as many. I have either developed ADD and can no longer manage to sit in one place long enough to watch a movie or the movies are getting worse. Or I'm too narcissistic to have any interests in anything other than myself.

While those are not hugely dramatic changes in my life, it's still enough to make the progression of my age all that more obvious. I am still at a point where I can pluck my 3 gray hairs so clearly I'm not ready to embrace complete aging just yet. I still take comfort in the fact that I'm the youngest in my office by 7 years and that most of the partners have kids my age.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good becoming evil. Evil becoming good.

While doing my regular cardio at the gym, I usually bring a book to help pass the time. The other day I knew I was going to have a shorter workout so I figured I'd just grab a magazine from the rack at the gym. In my laziness I grabbed the closest one - Cosmo. Not really my magazine but it was better than staring at the time slowly tick away.

This particular copy of Cosmo had a brief article that caught my eye. It was about the reasons why women cheating on their spouse/significant other is becoming more commonplace. One piece that I found especially disturbing was about a dating website devoted entirely to people that are in relationships and looking to cheat. The name of the organization sounded familiar but I was still curious if it really existed. Sure enough, I went to the website and underneath the name was their trademarked tagline: "Life is short. Have an affair." They call themselves "The world's premier discreet dating service with more than 3,245,000 like-minded members." I've never been good with numbers but over 3 million people? That's a big number.

I did a little google-ing to find additional articles about this site. Because of the nature of this topic, I am not going to post links to the articles, websites, or news clips on this particular site (their ads are a bit inappropriate). With the little research I've done, the information has been astounding.

The CEO of this particular agency/website was interviewed by CNN. The entire time this guy was talking, all I heard from his mouth was a whopping serving of rationalization with a hefty side of justification. He claims to just be in the business of making money. He has convinced himself that he is by no means counseling people to cheat, making them do something they otherwise wouldn't do without the aid of the website, nor is he perpetuating the destruction of marriages. The CNN interviewer asked him how he felt about what his business does. The CEO replied, "We have always maintained that we are on the cutting edge of something [internet dating]. We are in a time when the institution of marriage is being redefined. Just look at the situation in California." The interviewer promptly interrupted him at this point yelling, "You're not redefining the institution of marriage, YOU'RE RIPPING IT APART!"

This CEO as well as articles I found about this and other sites like it say that people who are going to cheat are going to cheat regardless of the means. I don't agree with this. I feel it's like saying, "People who want to work out will work out regardless if they have a gym." It's only partly true. The more available the means people have to make anything happen will further propel them to do it. Anyone who has ever tried to work out regularly knows how much harder it is to do it on your own as opposed to having a gym nearby. You may still have the desire, but having the encouragement, acceptance, and availability of a gym makes accomplishing your goals that much easier. As is the same with cheating websites.

I heard a statistic that put the divorce rate something like: first marriages 50%, second marriages 60%, third marriages 75%. So how does this work? You're in an unhappy marriage, so you cheat, the marriage ends, you move on to someone else, get married again and end up even MORE unlikely to make that marriage work? The availability of allowing people to cheat only further instills in couples and subsequently their children, that cheating is an answer, that cheating is a solution to a problem, and that faithful marriages/relationships are archaic and temporary.

Life is short. Have an affair. Seriously?!?! Is that what we are telling ourselves and what we are teaching our children? Life cannot be fulfilling if spent married to the same person? Well, as for now, I'm done with this rant. It's just further evidence of the destruction of the home. The most troubling part to me has to with what is becoming acceptable in our society. Being "open-minded" is being mistaken for the dissolution of once-universal moral truths.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I was going to put the wedding pictures on a separate blog post from my Facebook album but after spending WAY too much time doing the one on Facebook, I've decided to provide you with the link instead. Plus, it's getting to a point where almost everyone who reads this is on Facebook anyway. So this is just another plug for my wedding pics on Facebook.

Click Here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

1 Month Report

I have often realized that one of the reasons being an adult is sucky is because we really don't have end points to look forward to that break up the phases in our lives. When we were students, we had end points. We had tests, semesters, years, graduation. In the real world, everything is ongoing. We have holidays and vacations to look forward to, but nothing that is drastically transitional, or at least not as often. For some people, this creates comfort and stability. In others, like me, it creates a sense of unrest and stagnancy.

Getting married is one of those drastically transitional times. It created a point of reference for things like, "After the wedding, I need to... [fill in given task here]." For me, I need a kick off point like this to help me make and achieve goals. For Jericho, his goal accomplishments are ongoing so he doesn't necessarily need an excuse to make a new set of goals.

Besides no longer caring about fitting into my wedding dress, I have made changes in my everyday life since being married and have made different goals that can now use the wedding as official lift off time. By 1 month of lapsed married life, we have completed the following post-wedding tasks [though this is actually shorter since the first week was honeymoon and not actual productive time]:
  • Opened all presents/cards and threw away roughly 50 pounds of wrapping paper, tissue paper, and cardboard
  • Returned part of the gifts that needed returning (only a few, don't get offended, none of them were from you) and purchased more apartment necessities with gift cards and store credit
  • Put away all presents and categorized gift cards, cash, checks, gift receipts
  • Completed Thank You card list (to date) and completed about 90% of the cards to be written
  • Finished unpacking everything from the move and putting it in its place, hung almost all pictures
  • Added me to Jericho's checking account (allowance time!) and other banking/money matters
  • Purchased and installed ceiling fan for bedroom (special thanks to Chip and Becca and a coincidental run-in at the Lowes, purchased the correct lights for the fan)
  • Implemented universal guidelines for what should and should not be washed in the dishwasher
  • Read about 3 chapters of our marriage how-to book given as a wedding present. 130 more pages and we'll be marriage experts and ready to share with all our single friends the secrets to relationships
  • Re-posted Craiglist ad for my car (sniff, sniff)
  • Cut my hair. I love it. I have a side part and some "bangs". It's the most drastic thing I've done to my hair in more than 3 years. I blame my childhood of tomboy-short hair and sometimes mistaken gender for my psychological attachment to long hair. I almost devoted an entire post to my new hair cut but realized it's only drastic to me so the before and after pictures wouldn't be that interesting. It's still long. I haven't done the after-marriage-chop-off-all-my-hair ritual yet.
  • Started going back to the gym. (And by "started", I mean "made the goal to start going back")
  • Partial completion of changes in various annoying paperwork (insurance, 401K, etc)
  • Decided not to get cable and are going the Netflix route so our two giant flat screen TVs don't go to waste
  • I cut Jericho's hair for the first time. We have such a trusting relationship.
There are lots of other little things that we have accomplished but that's the gist of it right there. The first month has been absolutely fab. We managed to unpack and organize from the move and from wedding presents really quickly so we haven't been living among boxes at all. Whenever people have asked how married life is, I have nothing but good things to say. One thing that I specifically mention is that I'm grateful that Jericho and I dated for long enough that living together wasn't a huge shock of finding out uber-annoying things that the other one does. Whenever I tell this to people they say, "Oh, just wait" or "That's so cute! You're still in the honeymoon phase!" Thanks for the optimism people. It's like being a newlywed somehow translates to "bliss clouds my judgment on reality." Oh yeah?! Well how about bitterness clouds your ability for happiness! Bam!! I'm happy and I love my husband to pieces. Deal with it!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Culinarily Adventurous

With the recent acquisition of a husband, I am focusing more on a few things. One of those being real meals. Prior to being wed, most of my lunches and dinners consisted of eating out. Such is the life of single-hood. But not only do I have a husband now, I have a cost-conscious husband, so the goal was made that eating out is to be reserved for the weekends or really tiring work-day evenings when I whine enough about not wanting to cook us a meal.

The other day I was making a grocery list and found that I was drawing a blank on what I needed for a typical meal. I had been eating out or making one-person meals for so long that I'd forgotten my standby meals. I get to the store without much of a list figuring I'll just wing it, which I'm actually pretty good at.

The other thing I'm good at when I get to the grocery store is overconfidence. Or rather, unrealistic expectations for what I will actually make for a meal. I read recipes or cooking articles and I get to the grocery store and see asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes and 5,000 spices and baby red potatoes and have instant visions of these spectacular meals and winning greatest domestic goddess awards. It's not that if I bought these materials I would burn the apartment down or kill Jericho, it's that they would rot in my refrigerator before I ever made anything with them. I also get this same ambition in craft stores. I am hoping that Jericho's passion for starting and finishing all of his intended projects will eventually start rubbing off on me.

Thankfully, I was given some great recipe books as wedding presents that I've been able to pull some basic meals from. I don't typically like to use recipes. They're too restrictive. Or maybe I don't trust them. Maybe it's a manifestation of some deeper rooted issue comparable to coloring outside the lines or eating cupcakes like a sandwich.

The most logical progression of this post would next call for a request for recipe ideas or sharing a winning recipe with my reader(s). As this is not that type of blog nor would my reader(s) actually send me a recipe, my conclusion will not be one of recipe swapping. My conclusion is more of happiness that I'm finally able to cook real meals. I greatly enjoy cooking and feel that it is my genes to have a natural gift for it but when you're single, there isn't much incentive to spend a lot of time cooking for one person. But now! I get to cook for the both of us and since Jericho isn't a picky eater in the least, all of my meals have been stellar.

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