Monthly Archives: December 2008

R.E.A.D.I.N.G. is fun.

Books bought today:

Wuthering Heights– Emily Bronte

Leaves of Grass– Walt Whitman

The Waste Land and Other Writings– T.S. Eliot

A Christmas Carol– Charles Dickens

The Jane Austen Book Club– Karen Joy Fowler

13 Little Blue Envelopes– Maureen Johnson

My Labotomy– Howard Dully

Interred with their Bones–  Jennifer Lee Carrell

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner– Bich Minh Nguyen

Looking for Alaska– John Green

An Abundance of Katherines– John Green

The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume D

The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume E

So basically the trip was a success. I haven’t gotten all the books on my list yet, but I am going to a huge used book store on Wednesday where I will (hopefully) get the rest of them. Oh how I do love books.

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An exceptionally long post about the best Christmas ever.

For as far back as I can remember, which is a very, very long time, I cannot think of a Christmas I didn’t spend with my family in Florida. By family I mean the ENTIRE family. There is the immediate family- mom, dad, sister, brother. The extended family- grandmother, grandfather (moms side). The slightly more extended family- aunt, uncle, older cousin, younger cousin (also moms side). The even more extended family- great aunt (also moms side… sensing a pattern?). And with those Christmas times come all the memories. There was the good, always going to a movie on Christmas day, all of the pranks, all of the gag gifts; the bad, quite a few things have been broken over the years; the ugly, lets just say drama from one individual can lead to a whole mess of ugly; and last, but not least, the uuuuugly, consisting of what I like to call “The Family Christmas Portrait From Hell” where a certain person with a flair for the dramatics had a bit of a problem with the outfits, the hair, and well, everything.
And as fun and as miserable those Christmases have been, it is something I look forward to all year long. Seriously Internet, I am not lying when I say that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. And many people tell me I just like getting or giving gifts, but its more than that. It’s the Christmas smell. It’s the Christmas decorations. It’s the Christmas heat (we are in Florida, don’t forget). It’s the running around the house dressing up my brother as a girl. It’s shouting over all the noise to talk to one person. It’s playing pranks, it’s being with family, it’s bringing everyone together. I love it all. And last year was the last “real” Christmas I was ever going to have. But this year topped it all.

Okay, lets start from December 2007. As mentioned before, the entire family is at the house in Florida spreading the usual Christmas cheer. But things are different. My oldest cousin, Audrey, is engaged, and announced that next year she and her new husband will be spending their first Christmas in Jacksonville where they will be living. Okay, fine I can handle that, no big deal. Right? Then my mother invites everyone to her house for Christmas the following year (meaning yesterday). Now, for those of you who do not know this about me… I hate change. I hate it, hate it, hate it. With a passion. Almost as much as I hate Martha Stewart, but that’s an entirely different story. My mother seemed very happy with this idea, so I tried my hardest not to let her know I was a tiny, teeny, bit sad, but I would eventually get over it.
Alright, fast forward 364 days. December 24, 2008. The house is decorated. The air is quite chilly (see, we are in Delaware now. Where they have real seasons). My immediate family is awaiting the arrival of my grandparents (fathers side) and my cousin, uncle, and aunt (mothers side). And that is it. No one else is coming for Christmas. Not the extended family, or the even more extended family. And for some odd reason I am okay with that. The house looked amazing, even if it was decorated with Martha Stewart merchandise. My mom was happy. I was happy. The grandparents arrived and soon the cousin, aunt, and uncle arrived. And it felt like Christmas again, though, a slightly quieter one at that.

Now let me explain the sleeping situations. The grandparents on my father’s side ALWAYS stay in hotels. As far back as those memories of Christmases in Florida go, so goes my memories of them staying in hotels. Which is perfectly fine. Next come the aunt and uncle. In Florida my mother and father would sometimes stay at my grandparents other house, which they (grandparents) would rent out to girls going to my college. They stayed in my sister’s room over there, while my sister would bunk with my cousin over at my grandparent’s house. Confused yet? Let me try and make it as simple as possible. Inside the grandparents second house we have my parents. Inside the grandparent’s house we have my aunt and uncle in guest room. My older cousin Audrey and sister in my grandmother’s study on the comfortable pull out couch. My younger cousin Courtney and me in my grandfather’s study on the not so comfortable pull out couch. And in the family room my brother slept on the couch. That is how it always was, whether it be Christmas or just when we were all down for the summer. Now I have spent many, many years sharing that pull out couch with my cousin, staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning talking about the most random of topics, hers usually being her latest boyfriend and mine usually being awesome movies I have seen. And the same can be said for when my family goes up to Ohio for a summer vacation and I sleep in Courtney’s room. But nothing could prepare me for this trip.

Like I said, my grandparents are in a hotel. My aunt and uncle are in my brother’s room, kicking him out to sleep on his game room couch. My sister is in her room, and my cousin and I are in my room. This is perfectly normal, me sharing a bed with my cousin. So I didn’t think anything of it. Except that my bed seems to feel three times smaller than hers or that unholy pull out couch. Its not, but my gosh, it sure feels like it. Add the freezing temperature outside and the fact that for the past two nights my cousin has turned into some kind of cover- stealer, something that has never in my 20 years of occasionally sharing a bed with her happened before. Sure, for a couple years she kicked me. Then there was the talking in her sleep, which was actually more amusing than annoying. But never has she stolen my covers. If we were in Florida or even Ohio, I wouldn’t mind so much, as I am usually roasting. But for some reason this darn cold weather has turned me into ice, and darn it all! I NEED MY COVERS.
But I digress. So everyone is here by Christmas Eve, and we eat tacos because that is the tradition with my family (immediate that is) and everyone enjoyed them. Then we watched some TV and went to bed and woke up the next morning for presents!!

Okay, so back up needed for my best Christmas story ever. Before I went to England I fell in love with these two brothers on youtube who did this daily blog. (I don’t feel like explaining it all, so check them out here.) Basically they became this huge youtube sensation, etc. Well long story short, one of the brothers, John Green, is an author. And he has written three books- Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and finally Paper Towns (which I talk about here). He also took part in two collaboration books. And while I was in England he and his brother went all over America promoting his book and holding little gatherings and book signings and such. Well one of these happened to be a little ways from my house. And by a little, I mean an hour or so. I begged my mother go to since I would not be able to, and she said she would see. But she called me and said she couldn’t make it. So I called her the night of the signing and she seemed really sad, and I told her I was attempting to watch the live video feed on the website, but the internet was being horrible and it just wasn’t working and she really felt bad, blah, blah, blah. I told her not to feel back because she did send me to England so I couldn’t really complain, but Internet I can’t lie to you. I was sad. I was very sad. But I got over it. His newest book, which actually came out while I was in England, wasn’t published in the UK so I wasn’t able to buy it.

So about two days before all of the family came I went to the mall with my mother so she could get a few last minute gifts, and I pulled her into the bookstore and while searching, found a copy of Paper Towns. The last copy in the store, I might add. So I bought it and she was happy and I was ecstatic and it was even better because I got sad Margo, which is the cover I wanted to begin with. Then we went to the antique store where she said she had to pick up my Christmas present, which was going to be the best gift ever. She kept building up this gift, saying how much I was going to love it. Needless to say, I was rather excited.
Christmas day rolls around and I notice a stack of boxes with ribbon holding them in place. Five or six boxes of various sizes. And in it was this gift my mother swore I was going to either love or think was stupid. And she made me wait until the very end to open it up. And by “very end” I mean until the entire family was done opening up all of their gifts. And then I opened the first box.

And in it was a t-shirt form the gathering. And a picture album. I opened the album up and there was John Green, holding a microphone, staring back at me. I screamed, “NO YOU DID NOT.”

I opened the second box. Two more shirts from the gathering.

I opened the third box. Two more shirts with Hank’s (his brother) cd of funny songs that he wrote while they were doing their youtube project. Also mini-dvds of the event. She recorded the entire thing.

I opened the fourth box.  Four of his books. Again, I screamed at my mother, “NO YOU DID NOT.” She told me to open them. They were all signed and personalized to me.

I opened the fifth box. “Happy Margo” sat on top of “Sad Margo”. Again, both personalized and signed. I picked them up and noticed a paperback version of Paper Towns which was weird, because the paperback versions are not out yet. And then I realized what exactly it was. I turned it over and there was “Happy Margo”. I turned it over and there was “Sad Margo”. My mom had found a copy of the unedited version of Paper Towns that only a select few had gotten.

Internet, I don’t think any words I write will capture the pure awesomeness that is my mother. That gift… was the Best. Gift. Ever. Best. Christmas. EVER.

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Santa Baby…

This is a Christmas survey that doesn’t really have anything to do with Christmas. Get over it people. I don’t really feel like a full on blog tonight. But Internet, that doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

How many people have you dated in 2008?
z.e.r.o.
thanks for reminding me.

How did you feel when you woke up today?
happy because my sister brought me yogurt.

What are you thinking about right now?
England.

Who do you wish you were with right now?
I’m with the people I wish to be with.

What time did you go to sleep last night?
11? 12? I don’t know.

Where did you buy the shirt you’re wearing now?
Kohl’s.

What were the last words you spoke?
“I can tell.”

What are you listening to?
My cousin yelling at her boyfriend for not picking up his phone.

Did you sing at all today?
yes. much to the dismay of my family.

When’s the last time you cried?
two days ago… or yesterday.. or whenever it was that I watched Steel Magnolias.

Do you believe in love?
yes.

Do you miss anyone?
I do.

Are you too forgiving?
Its what I have been told before.

Did you mean it when you said “I love you” last?
yes.

Do you think you’ll be married in 10 years?
yes. hopefully.

Do you own big sunglasses?
um ew. no.

Would you go into town looking like you do right now?
no.

Name a couple of your favorite colors?
blue. brick red.

Last annoyance?
not being able to win Call of Duty against my brother because I don’t understand how to work the controller. Also, he didn’t tell me half the stuff I could do, so it was an epic fail.

Have you ever felt replaced?
yes.

What is your current mood?
excited.

Do you talk about your feelings or hide them?
I talk about them with a select few, hide them from most. But if you really get me angry, I will just let it all spill out.

What is something you really want right now?
I am happy with life. What I want will eventually work itself out.

Name something you CANNOT wait for:
school. I just love school. OOO school supply shopping! It’s basically my favorite time of the year.

Any plans for tomorrow?
christmas!

What color are your eyes?
brown with a ring of blue around the edges. I love my eye color.

Who was the last person to message you?
ummmmmmmmm my old roommate Abby?

Who was the first person you talked to this morning?
my mother woke me up to inform me she was leaving. I informed her I was “FREEEEZING.”

Do you believe in what goes around comes around?
not necessarily but it usually happens.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and change?
yes.

Who was the last person you saw that you haven’t seen in a while?
My cousin Courtney!

Is there anything or anyone that you wish was back in your life?
no.
maybe.
This is a tough question.

Have you ever kissed anyone whose name started with an A, D, B or J?
no.
thanks for reminding me.

What woke you up this morning?
me mum

Would you go back in time to change something if you were given?
i honestly don’t know. Most likely, but I don’t know.

Is it hard leaving people behind?
yes.

Is there a person of the same gender who means a lot to you?
yes.

Can you whistle?
No. It makes me sad.

Who was the last person you talked to last night before you went to bed?
My brother I think.

Has anyone disappointed you recently?
sure.

Are you a morning person or night person?
I function better in the morning but I am really both.

Would you rather sleep at a friends or have them over?
it depends i guess.

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year?
No.
Do you hate me or something?

Has a boy sat on your bed before?
ha yes.

Do you want to see somebody right now? Who?
MACIE!!!

Next time you will kiss someone ?
Seriously?

When did you last kiss someone?
I hate you.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My mom? Idk. I text.

What are you NOT looking forward to?
the rest of these questions.

What were you doing at 4am?
sleeping.

Do you hate the last person you had a conversation with?
no.

Have you ever cried and didn’t know why?
yes.

What made you happy today?
seeing my cousin. and auntie. and uncleee.

Are you happy right now?
yes.

Have you ever fell asleep in someone’s arms?
yes.

Who’s car were you in last?
my grandparents.

Have you ever thrown something at anyone?
daily.

Are you easily excited?
yes.

If you could have anything right now what would it be?
Martha Stewart back in jail.

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Just play it cool boys, real cool.

When I was younger my brother and I sometimes got the rare privilege of going with my father to work on a sunny Saturday afternoon. While he stayed on the phone doing important things, my brother and I would wander around the empty cubicles looking at the various objects lying around on people’s desks. We would always hit the people we knew first. Then it was just about the randomness. And let me tell you, there are some really funny people in this world. And boy do they love their pets. After that we would get water out of the water cooler thing where we found it impossible to not get cup full after cup full of water. Because we were thirsty? No. Because we liked the cone shaped cups, and simply could not use the same one to get another cup of water. After we helped kill about 900 trees, my brother and I would make our way to the freezer. The gigantic freezer that stored all of those keep-frozen items, as freezers are intended to do. There we would partake in snowball fights which was great because 1. it was the middle of summer and 2. I love snow A LOT. Then we would always get spooked out because the boxes in the far far back corner of this gigantic freezer were always shaped in the form of a man holding an ax (I’m not even lying). So without fail we would get creeped out and run back to exploring weird desk items. Where it was safe.

But today I got to witness my father work from home in the form of a conference call. Now over the years, particularly on vacations in Florida, my father has had to deal with the occasional conference call. But he would always step into the other room where no one could really bother him. So today my father is on one of these conference calls. But things have changed internet, and now my father is the president of his division. Why did I tell you that? Because this apparantly changes the way things are done when it comes to conference calls. There I was in the kitchen making lunch for everyone and my father pulls out his cell phone and switches it to speaker. Then other people -strangers whose voices always sounded like they were crying- start talking, thus beginning said conference call. But here is the new dynamic. My father proceedes to switch his phone to “mute” and sits the phone on the kitchen counter then goes about his business doing laundry and other things around the house. As in he just sort of walked away. So there I am in the kitchen, making food, and strangers are on the kitchen counter right next to me conversing about the sales and distributions of gatorades and cigarettes. Occasionly they would call on my father, so I had to shout to my dad “DAAAAAAD THEY ARE CALLING FOR YOU” which has a sort of creeper tone to it when typed out. But it was all normal. Well, as normal as my family can get. My father would get there just in time to comment and no one knew anything else was going on. Just another typical day in my life.

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Margo Roth Spiegelman

Internet, it is 3:11 am and I just (as in about ten minutes ago) finished Paper Towns, the latest book written by the amazing John Green. Here is the basic explanation as to the plot (totally taken from the back cover of the book). Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

This book was released while I was in London and they do not publish in the UK which made me sad. It should also be known that I am a very impatient person when it comes to certain things so I really, really wanted this book. Tonight my mother and I were at the mall getting a few last minute Christmas gifts when we passed the Boarders Express. I pulled my mother in the store and started a serious search for this book. Or any of his books, really. We had just about given up hope when my mother saw it. On the shelf. In all of its beautiful glory.

margopapertowns

Now I should explain. There are two different covers to this book, a “sad Margo” and a “happy Margo” and I’ll let you figure out which is which. I really desired to own the “sad Margo” but four months had passed by and my desire to own a copy of the book at all was winning over my desire to own “sad Margo.” But when you order online you do not get a choice as to which cover you receive, it is more of a “surprise Margo.” But I really deep down wanted “sad Margo” so I stuck with “sad Margo” or no book at all. Luckily, that was the only copy they had in the book store. I say luckily because I really wanted the book so much I was about to compromise and get whatever freaking Margo they had. I purchased “sad Margo” and all I wanted to do was sit down on the bench in the middle of the mall and read the book, but the mother figure would have none of that. So after dinner I ran up to my room and started reading. And just kept on reading.

I finished the book (305 pages) in a record 5 hours, with the occasional interruption (mainly in the form of a brother who would not leave me alone to read). I read the book fast because it was just that good- I had to know what happened. I had to find out the fate of Margo. I had to find out if the characters could make it on the road trip without getting a speeding ticket. I had to know what was going to happen in regards to the worlds largest black Santa collection. I just had to  keep reading, not bothering to pause on the details. And while I read, all along the way I kept in the back of my mind the whole reason behind John Green having two covers. This was not some brilliant marketing scheme to entice readers like me to want to collect both covers. And yes, I do. John Green created two covers because no one ever sees the real Margo for what she is. Every single character in the book has an  idea of Margo, and each person’s is different. Keeping that in mind as I speed-read over the slightly less important details, I created in my mind a little file about this Margo character. How no one ever really sees her face, whether she has painted it for some scheme she created, or her hair is in the way, or her sweatshirt is pulled up to her eyes, or how it is usually dark when people are around her. No one knows the real Margo, no one can see her. How Q thinks he sees her laughing, when really she is crying. She is constantly misinterpreted. I kept all of this in the back of my mind, because things like this fascinate me. All of that “English stuff” as John Green once said. Why the author chose to include that particular detail about Q not being able to see her face. Why the author chose to include that detail more than twice. Why there are two covers. This sort of thing is the reason I read. To escape from reality and entire the lives of these “paper characters” as Margo would call them.

I do plan on reading this book more times than I can count, lingering on all of those tiny details that will only make the story more awesome (if that is possible). I finished the book, sat it down, and said (out loud, to no one in particular) that I do not care for this Margo Roth Spiegelman. I do not like what she did and how she acted in the end of the book, which made me cry (the end of the book, not the fact that I didn’t care for her). But then I thought to myself, wow. You are doing what every single character in that darn book did. Misinterpreting her, judging her, trying to see her as something she is not.

While all of this may seem uninteresting to you, it is quite fascinating to me. I am going to have to read this book so many more times before I can come to a judgment on Margo. She is a complex character; one that can not be judged simply by one fast, excited read through. She needs special attention. She is real. She is amazing, adventurous, scared, a huge ball of emotions all wrapped into one. And even though I said I disliked her after my first reading, I think she is quickly going to become one of my favorite literary characters.

***And for those of you who have alread ready this awesome book or are going to go read this awesome book- pg. 266-272 (aka Hour 12) FREAKING EPIC. By far the best bit of the entire book. I was in tears I was laughing so hard.***

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Marshall, Lily, Barney, Robin and Ted

Today consisted of the following:

– I woke up to a rather early phone call from my mum.

– I finally got out of bed.

– I ate breakfast.

– I helped mum decorate for Christmas.

– Annoyed my mum by singing Christmas songs in a weird accent.

– Annoyed my mum by singing Broadway songs in an awesome French Bob Dylan accent.

– Was ordered to leave my mum alone and go upstairs.

– I attempted to wrap presents. Only finished around four of them.

– My How I Met Your Mother marathon ended, as I do not own the third season on dvd. Go watch that show. It is just plain awesomeness.

– I attempted to clean my room. Attempted being the key word.

– Went with my sister to take my brother to work.

– Helped the mum pick out a snazzy outfit for the company dinner tonight.

– Ordered yummy food.

– Watched When Harry Met Sally. Brilliant movie that one.

– Started to watch Thank You For Smoking but had to go with the sister to pick the brother up from work.

– Sat in the parking lot for 45 minutes because the brother’s work went over time.

– The sister and I forced the brother to get out of the car and go buy us a hot chocolate.

– Finally made it home and watched Psych.

– And now I shall be going to bed because I am oh so sleepy.

Sorry for the no posting in a while thing. I’m a tad busy and my sleeping schedule is all messed up. Darn you time differences. But seriously go watch How I Met Your Mother. Right now. GO!

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And now for one of my favorite riddles…

And I’m not talking about Tom. (Nerd joke!! Nerd joke!!)

If you know where this is from and what the answer is, I will simply love you forever. You, sir or madam, are a hardcore fan.

First think of the person who lives in disguise,

Who deals in secrets and tells naught but lies.

Next tell me what’s always the last thing to mend

The middle of middle and end of end.

And finally give me the sound often heard,

During the search for a hard-to-find word.

Now string them together and tell me this,

Which creature would you be unwilling to kiss?

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