Friday, January 27, 2012
That's exactly what I was thinking last night as I realized I was on the last chapter of the third book I've read this week. The book had started with a young girl, growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania in the early 20's. She was dreaming of opportunities...a chance to go to high school, an opportunity to be a teacher, and the dream of living in town. When tragedy strikes her family once and then twice, I wanted to cry with her over her lost opportunities. I mourned the loss of her childhood. When she made unconventional choices, I could relate. And when she found love, I rejoiced. For two days while I read "Queen of the Big Time" by Adriana Trigiani, I shared Nella's life. I grew up with her. For those two days, my own life faded away while I attended her wedding, the local fair, and dinners with her family.
And isn't that the best part of a book...we can drift away to some far off place, in a different time, with people we come to know and love?
"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."
Even the act of picking out a book can be a refuge, a peaceful endeavor. I'm going through a stressful time right now. Rob is recently unemployed (a long story that I don't want to go into right now). We're looking for a new house, more affordable. I've got a trip looming that I don't want to cancel but don't know how I'll afford.
Anyway, needless to say, I need some escape. Books have always been my escape. Some people turn to tv, the computer, or movies but they just don't engage me like a good book does. So last weekend, I remembered I have credit at the used bookstore and made a trip. I spent over an hour in the store browsing. I had no idea what I wanted to read or which author I'd choose. I perused the fiction, the historical fiction, the non-fiction, and the murder mystery section looking for the perfect refuge. I finally settled on two books by Adriana Trigiani, and a book by Lisa See. By the time I walked out of there, I was smiling, relaxed, and ready to snuggle in with a new friend and listen to her tell me her life story over a cup of hot tea.
I started with the book by Lisa See - "Shanghai Girls." I picked it because it was the shortest and I wanted to read it all in one day. This is my guilty little pleasure - scandalous I know! I had read See's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" and loved it so I was excited to start this one. I wasn't disappointed. The story of the two sisters somehow resonated with me. . . the youngest was the beautiful one, the oldest the smart one (this is how my sis and I have been described our whole lives). Similar to the Queen of the Big Time, it begins with the story of a charmed life that's changed by hardship and tragedy. I walked the streets of Shanghai with May, rode the boat to Angel Island with the sisters, and was in the room with her when she lost her baby. I rejoiced when in the end, there was triumph and happiness.
Hmm, I see a trend in my book choices this week. I know that the stress I'm feeling right now will pass. It's only temporary. And there's a part of me that relates to the strong characters in these books. Characters who persevere, who remain happy even while under tremendous stress. Characters who are strong, independent, and hopeful.
I have one more book to read before another trip to the library or bookstore is in order. What will I choose next time? An author unknown to me right now? A love story? A sad story? A piece of non-fiction that makes me think?
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.
Any books you'd recommend?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Did the flowers arrive and do they provide the right "mood" for the show?
Has the limo arrived on time?
Did I make sure all the dignitaries have their tickets?
Will the four different caterers arrive as directed?
Did the creative team rehearse enough?
Will 250+ people purchase tickets?
Will our comedy make people laugh?
Will the award winners arrive?
Will the award presenters show up?
Is the lighting right?
Is my lipstick ok?
Are my shoes comfortable?
Yes, yes, and yes. Saturday was my big event at work...the 91st Annual Awards Gala. Here in my town, we do it like Hollywood. We roll out the red carpet. We book the theater. We hire the limo. We have a band. We have a creative team writing the script. We get the congressman to attend. It's awesome and if you don't mind me bragging just a little....I help bring it all to life!
I've decided I should quit because it was SO good, I have no idea how I'll compete next year.
We did a Saturday Night Live tribute this time. With some local humor and it turned out better than I'd imagined. If you'd like to see a clip of one of our skits...follow this link.
I can't even describe how wonderful it turned out. Here's a couple of photos from the night:
|Me and Rob enjoying a drink before the event.|
|Me and Rachael ham it up at the social hour.|
|My friend Russ as Andy Kaufmann|
|Two Wild and Crazy Guys|
|The House Band plays Soul Man|
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In this photo Nate is on the bottom, about to get pinned. What you don't see is that he actually escapes which is really a big deal in wrestling!
Thursday, January 5, 2012
I got my tattoo on my shoulders done. Sadly, I'll admit I don't love it as much as I thought I would. I think it's because I put it in a place that I can hide it when I need to but it's not where I can see it. Contemplating another very small one somewhere that I can see it. Hmmm...decisions decisions!
I found and purchased one dress that makes me feel beautiful, stunning and sexy. I wear it often! It's a pretty yellow and black number (not like a bumblebee) that I love to wear with boots.
|Can't really see all the dress but here it is.|
I read 30 books. I'd suggest (I'm no book reviewer so don't judge me):
- Water for Elephants - I have to admit I avoided this book because I was under the mistaken assumption that it was one of those socially-responsible books that are "popular" right now (like Three Cups of Tea). It's not that I'm against that type of book, it's just not what I want to read right now. I'm looking to get lost in a book, not be enlightened. Yes, perhaps I'm shallow. But I digress...the book was excellent. A little romance, a little conflict - a story of hope. Haven't seen the movie yet.
- The Help - EXCELLENT book. Definitely one of my favorites lately. I love the way it was told from different people's points of view. Still haven't seen the movie.
- Snowflower and the Secret Fan - This was definitely one of my more favorite books and it made me want to learn more about the history (which is something I like books to do...make me curious). I may be sheltered but I had no idea what foot binding was. I didn't realize it was a very painful reality way back when. I also loved the way the women created a way to communicate.
I learned to love myself. I'm not perfect but I'm a good person. I like who I am. 'nuff said!
I visited Lithia Park. Just a little over an hour away, I've had this as a goal for seven years and I finally made it. It's a beautiful park in Ashland Oregon, the same town that features the Shakespeare Festival.
Oh! I accomplished 8! I went on a date! Love him!
So I've been contemplating since my birthday whether or not I want to tackle another list. I hate failure but it's such a fun thing to try and do. So without further ado...here's my list for 2012:
- Try kayaking
- Try white water rafting
- Go on at least one camping trip
- Visit my dad
- Read 35 books
- Visit Cheya in San Francisco
- Go to a Shakespeare play in Ashland
- Revive passport nights with the kids
- Climb Hogsback
- Hunt for opals in Lakeview
- Hunt for sunstones in Lakeview
- Make sushi rolls from scratch
- Learn how to use some of the manual features on my camera
- Put at least $25 in savings each month (and keep it there). I'm LOUSY at saving money!
- Take a watercolor class
- Visit the lavendar fields in Shasta
- Take Marc to a concert
- Work out at least once a week every single week of the year
- Take a dance class
- Fit in a day of crafting at least once a quarter
- Do a charity walk/hike
- Go for a ride on Rob's bike on a summer evening
- Learn to make pasta
- Take the kids to the amusement park in CA.
- Make tamales
- Be a better friend
- Watch two classic films
- Spend the night in a cabin
- Complete the photography challenge I started
- Buy a pair of red high heels
- Take Rob to Sumpter Days
- Begin my own sourdough starter and make some bread
- Write a hand-written letter with a card to one person each month (work thank you notes don't count!)
- Try five new vegetarian recipes
- Take the kids to the Oregon Caves
- Go somewhere romantic and fun with Rob without kids
- print and post this list as a constant reminder (score - first one done!!)
Monday, January 2, 2012
Our holiday season started with one goal in mind….
I wanted a month of celebration packed with family, friends, and everything important. Mission accomplished! Here’s some of my favorite photos from the holiday season:
Cooking = Love! We baked, we cooked, we ate. . . all together!
Emily and I attended a Mele Kalikimaka Luau and watched the world’s champion fire dancer:
Big brothers spent time with little brother building legos, offering brotherly advice and other brotherly things:
And in turn, little brothers attacked big brothers:
Siblings spent time together:
I met new family (Rob’s mom on the left with Marcus):
And I invited new “family” – Rob’s ex father-in-law joined our celebration:
We enjoyed community (at left a photo from our annual Snowflake Parade and at right, the parade organizers – Courtney, me and Rachael)
We sang (Nate at his Christmas pageant and yes, he is awesome)
Little elves blessed us with holiday cheer:
I turned 36 and celebrated with a cake and wrestling match:
And cousins welcomed new cousins (Zach and Emily):
I laughed and enjoyed time with my family:
Rob learned why I love my family:
We celebrated some firsts (Zach and Emily riding their first horses)
Nate learned he’s a pretty darn good wrestler:
It was a good December and I spent lots of quality time with my boys and the people I love.
Happy new year!!