"only You can make every new day seem so new" ~Five Iron Frenzy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Books Books Books

New Year's Resolution #4

Read at least one new book every month

As much as I love reading new books, the temptation to reread old favorites can get pretty strong. I was able to squeeze in Harry Potter in February, since I finished The Hunger Games so quickly (side note: movie was awesome). Then I went on to read Walden by Thoreau - which made me want swear off modern culture and go live in the woods. I finished that about a week or so ago, and was in a panic because (for some reason) I thought it was my February read, and that I was therefore behind. 

So I continued on to Little Women (Louisa May Alcott). I loved the movie when I was younger (1994 version), and I vaguely remember my mom reading us the first couple chapters once. It's always been on my bucket list of books to read, and it was free on my Kindle, so I figured now was the time. 

I knew I liked the story, but I wasn't intending to fall deeply in love with this book. Even though I'd seen the movie (a fairly faithful adaption), and therefore knew what was coming, I still teared up a dozen times or so, and cried like a baby once or twice. It's not that the book is altogether sad, it's just that it is very touching and a very well-written story. 

I used to have one book that I went to any time my soul needed to be uplifted, and that was The Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom). I now have two books to choose from. There is something about Little Women that is very uplifting and makes me want to be a better person. Throughout the books, the four sisters continually struggle to better themselves - to control and fix their faults, to become more humble, generous, selfless, and caring of everyone around them. It really inspired me to be a better version of myself.

It is definitely a book that I recommend to everyone (especially girls - ages 5 to 95). Someday, if I have a daughter or two, I plan on reading this book to her/them. I also plan on reading this book on a regular basis from now on.

Anyway, now that I've realized that I am not behind, and have just finished my April book, I plan to read through The Hunger Games again. Come on, you didn't actually think I could just read those books once, did you? I need a second look! The first time I read Harry Potter, once I finished the last page of the last book, I immediately started on the first again. With stories like these (especially HP), there is no way I can pick up everything the first time around. I want to know the stories inside and out, to notice every detail, and to really understand them.


This year, I've read:

January - Out of Oz (the final book in The Wicked Years series) - Gregory Maguire

February - The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

(Harry Potter)

March - Walden - Henry David Thoreau

April (finished ahead of time) - Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Okay, I know I -just- posted, but I wanted to do something for St. Patrick's Day.
No, I am not Irish - and will not falsely claim to be so - but I do truly love Ireland.
I was able to visit a couple years ago. It was a trip for school, and I had signed up for the "England/Ireland" trip because I really wanted to visit England and thought ...that other place... might be fun too. Aaaand I ended up really falling in love with Ireland.

So in my reminiscence, I'll share a few of my favorite photos/moments in Ireland.

The Giant's Causeway. 
Unfortunately, this is the best picture I have of it - and there's a random guy sitting there...
If you really want to see its beauty, just do a google-image search. I'm sure some pretty fantastic pictures will come up...

Derry Ireland. These cannons were along this part of the city's (old) wall. They were also very hot on this sunny day. As we were walking along we passed a group of young ladies, one who was preparing to sit down on the cannon (in a very short skirt) - she jumped up, screamed, and exclaimed "I BURNED ME BUM!" We did our best to stay composed until we were out of view...


The Cliff's of Moher
...does this remind anyone else of "The Cliffs of Insanity"?

And lastly, Dublin - of course.

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone - especially my friends who are fortunate enough to be Irish :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Ides of March

Yesterday was the Ides of March, and an interesting day it was.
I did not get stabbed 23 times - for which I am grateful - but the day was interesting, nonetheless.

It began brightly. I woke up early(ish), worked out, and saw that I had mail. I had received a fun little card from a dear friend :) That cheered me.

As evening began to set in, we had some tornado weather over here in eastern Michigan - in the middle of March. I spent the evening watching the local weather channel and the skies changing outside. We were lucky enough to have no tornado touch downs here, but there were several nearby. We just had lots and lots of rain and thunder...with some hail. It was looking scary enough that I put Squirt in a shoe box, ready to run for cover if needed. He was not too happy with me.

During this lovely weather, Adam's grandma was driving home - chased by a funnel cloud. She went to the hospital last night, but she's okay. Mere minutes after finding this out, I found out that my sister Kathie's family was spending the evening in the ER. Her daughter Sophie has asthma induced by croup and needed breathing treatments. Luckily, she is now fine as well.

Once all this drama settled a little - as well as the weather - I got a text from my mother saying that her uncle Jim passed away last night. I have some very fond memories of Jim and his wife Margaret. Two of the nicest people I've known. Unfortunately I haven't seen him much ... at all ... in the past few years. His death is sad, but I'm more grieved for his widow and for my grandma (his sister).

That about sums up my rather ... odd ... Ides of March. Strange weather, strange events, and a slightly notorious day. Kind of cliche ... and yet a little chilling.

It's peculiar, really. Previous to yesterday, I had no idea what the "Ides of March" was. I had heard the phrase before - and knew it was somehow connected with Julius Caesar. With all the talk of it yesterday, I decided to look it up online. Thanks Wikipedia, I am now the wiser :)

But "Ides" or not, it was still a weird day.

How was your March 15th?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fun and Frustrating Moments

So I thought I was doing a fair job, keeping up with blogging this year. Maybe I had missed a week here and there, but overall, not bad. Then I realized that I haven't blogged in almost a month. Oops.

Anyway, last week I went to my sister Kathie's house to watch her girls for four days while she and her husband went away for their anniversary. It was fun ... a bit chaotic ... but fun. On Monday, the girls didn't have school, so we built a fort in the living room

(Left: Laura - another sister, back: Sophia, right: Gwen)

I'm just glad Kathie wasn't around to see her living room in this state :)
We hung out in there for the day, I brought in a basket full of snacks, we watched Gnomeo and Juliet on my laptop, then we took a nap (I think I'm the only one who actually slept, though...).

The rest of the week, the girls had school, so we didn't do anything too exciting. I went back home on Friday - glad to see my hubby again! The next day we went shopping - Adam needed new tennishoes and shorts to work out in ... and I ended up getting some shoes too.

I LOVE my new tennishoes. If these don't motivate me to workout, I don't know what will. Though truth be told, I have not used them yet (for that purpose). 

I was able to sub a couple days this week. Wednesday I signed up for a job at Pioneer HS. For the first couple hours, I was helping with the MME testing (what used to be "MEAP"). During this time, one of the teachers asked if I'd sub for her the following day ... um, yes please! 

That day, after Adam picked me up, we went shopping. I hit my favorite clothing store, ready to spend the wad I made babysitting my nieces. I needed some new shorts for this summer, and also wanted to buy a dress, so I loaded up my arms with all kinds of lovelies and went to the dressing room to decide what I was going to buy. I had 3 sundresses, 2 pairs of shorts, 3 tank tops, a jean jacket, a cute top I found in the clearance section, and a jean mini skirt. Much to my dismay, I loved everything (with the exception of one pair of shorts). Much to my delight, and utter surprise, when I came out, Adam asked me what I liked. I replied "everything but these shorts." He said "okay, let's get it all!" Let's just say, I spent twice what I was planning on, but my hubby is a gem and I love him (and tax-returns...)

And that brings us up to date. 

Frustrating moment today:
We have A LOT of laundry to do. I loaded roughly 8-10 loads up in our car (carried down from our 3rd floor apartment), and drove over to the laundry room. All 10 washers were full. All 10 of those loads were finished with their cycles. Owner of said 10 loads was not in sight. So, I drove back to my apartment, and had the pleasure of carrying all of my own 8-10 loads back up to my 3rd floor apartment.

Lesson: Do not be THAT person. If you're going to take up all the washers, at least have the curtesy to stick around and move them to the dryers promptly when they are finished. 
Eternally Frustrated.