30 June 2009

Top 10 Summer Reading List

I wanted to share some of the highlights of my summer reading plan in case anyone is looking for ideas. If you would like more information on any of the following books, just leave me a comment & I’ll get back to you.

1. Jodi Picoult

I finally read my first Picoult book this month: Plain Truth. It was quickly followed by My Sister’s Keeper & now I’m reading Salem Falls. I plan on working through the rest of her books as well, since she’s become one of my favorite authors already.

2. Harry Potter series

*ducks* I’ve never read the books. Well, I had read the first & fourth books. (I know, I know!) I reread the first book & the rest are sitting on my book shelf waiting for me.

3. Alex Cross series

The only books I’ve read by James Patterson are from the Women’s Murder Club series, but I’ve heard good things about the Alex Cross series as well. I’m going to read the first one & we’ll take it from there.

4. Contemporary Classics

You know those books everyone reads in high school? Like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, & Fahrenheit 451. I’ve never read them. I’ve always wanted to read the ones that were skipped in the English classes I took, so now I’m finally adding them to my summer reading list.

5. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I recently watched the newest film adaption of the first Douglas Adams book. Now I’m interested in reading the first book & potentially the others in the series.

6. Women’s Murder Club 7. Stephanie Plum series 8. Temperance Brennan series

These are three of my favorite book series. I’m on the waiting list for the most recent in 6. & 7., awaiting the next book in 8.

9. Jane Austen

Having seen adaptations of some of Jane Austen’s books & after watching The Jane Austen Book Club, I decided that I want to read her books. I got Sense & Sensibility from the library & couldn’t get into it, but I think it’s because I wasn’t much in the mood for it. I’m going to try to start off with a different book a little later this summer & see how that goes.

10. Your Pick!

And now it’s time for my first contest! Although I’m sad to report that there is no material prize involved (I’m still unemployed). However, you will have the satisfaction of forcing one of your favorite books on me or having me test drive a book for you.

All you have to do is leave a comment with a book suggestion – title mandatory; author would be helpful as well. If you would like to suggest more than one book, please leave separate comments. You may suggest as many as you like!

On Tuesday, 7 July at 4pm I will randomly select a winner & the next time I go to the library I will take out that book & read it!

Even if your entry isn’t chosen, you still win! Between my own summer reading list & the books suggested via comments, you should be able to find some great summer reading books of your own.

So, what book(s) do you want me to read?

29 June 2009

A Little Mood Music

The weather has been TERRIBLE here lately. It's the end of June & we've barely had any sun. All the rain & overcast skies have certainly been taking a toll on my mood, as well as the mood of just about everyone. The forecast for the week is rain, rain, & more rain. The thought is just depressing. So, in an attempt to lighten my mood, I decided to give you a top 10 list of songs which I've been digging lately.

(My musical choice might also have something to do with watching August Rush today, which is an absolutely wonderful movie.)

Falling Slowly by The FramesI Hear the Bells by Mike DoughtyThinking of You by Katy PerryCatch my Disease by Ben LeeBetter in Time by Leona LewisValerie by Amy Winehouse (Mark Ronson version)I Want You by Kelly ClarksonAll I Wanna Do by SugarlandSummertime by Kenny Chesney
I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas

28 June 2009

I Won the Lottery!

First of all, it's 4am & I'm WIDE AWAKE. I started off thinking I had some weird post-party energy. Then I realized that I've been guzzling Diet Mountain Dew. Dude, did you know Mountain Dew has CAFFEINE in it? Really? Okay, so did I. For some reason, that just didn't compute in my brain. I was all, ohhhh we NEVER have Mountain Dew! I love Mountain Dew! I will drink lots of Mountain Dew!

Not a good idea.

So then I was all, ohhhh I can write a blog post!

Fabulous idea.

So here we are. *waves* Hi. I'll try not to speak tons of LOLcatz, because I think we all know that happens when I'm overtired & over-caffeinated. This is called restraint. I haz skills. (Damn, that was LOLcat speak. I haz downfalls.)

Today (... yesterday) was my graduation/birthday party. Lots of family & friends came over, there was way too much food & somehow even more dessert -- we're Italian, it happens -- & an infinite amount of fun. Everyone was very generous & it was only slightly awkward when I had to open cards & presents in front of people. At least we had moved inside due to the crazy ass thunderstorm, so most people were in other rooms.

Someone got me 10 BINGO lottery tickets. FYI, BINGO lottery tickets? They take FOR-EV-ER to do! You have to scratch 27 call numbers, then go through the 4 BINGO cards on the ticket & see if you get BINGO -- a line, four corners, or an X. A line is worth so much, 4-corners is worth more, & an X is worth the most. Each card down those amounts increase. Have I mentioned that they take FOR-EV-ER to do?! I think it took an hour & a half to go through all 10 cards, & that was with my brother's help! So we're scratching cards & double checking to make sure we didn't miss anything. No BINGOs in sight. My brother decides to go to bed because now it's 2am -- how the hell did he stay up so late? I swear he's turning into me!

Suddenly I only have one ticket left. I feel bad because I'm thinking about how $20 was spent on these tickets & I'd much rather have the $20 + the hour & a half I've dedicated to scratching these damn cards. Then BAM, I have a four corners! BAM, I have another four corners! BAM, I have a line! All on the same ticket! Hey, it's only $25 ... but that's $5 more than they spent on the tickets.

But this entry isn't really about winning $25 on one lottery ticket. No, this is about the day I spent in wonderful company. I know it's cheesy, but I really did win the lottery when it comes to my family & friends.

Today there were people from my mom's side of the family, people from my dad's side of the family, people from my mom's boyfriend's family, & my made family -- my friends. I was sadly lacking my best friend who now lives across the country, but we talked on the phone on Friday, my actual birthday. The day was spent in truly wonderful company, from my sort of niece & her mom being the first to arrive -- meaning I got to spend time playing with her before anyone else showed up -- to ending the night by reading a pop-up graphic novel version of Moby Dick with some of the friends I made the semester we were in London.

I am so blessed to have these people in my life. My family is always willing to lend their support, their material goods even when they are lacking themselves, their hand when we need it -- like helping paint various rooms in our house & rip up carpeting. And they always bring smiles & laughs when we have something to celebrate.

My friends are the same too & it amazes me. I've known my best friend since elementary school, but other than that I've drifted away from the friends I had in high school. The friends I made in college though, it was clear from the moment I met them that things were different. The quality of these people ... I don't know how to put it into words. I always have an amazing time with them. I always miss them more when they leave than before. I always want more time with them. They know how to make me laugh when I need it. They know how to listen when I need to let something out. They know how to prod me when I need to talk, but I'm keeping it in & it's unhealthy. Sometimes they know me better than I know myself. They love me unconditionally & they chose to be in my life, the same as I've chosen to be in theirs.

I can't close without mentioning some other friends who weren't at my party. Some people might call them internet friends, & yes, I use that term as well when I don't know how else to describe them. Actually, I don't talk about them much with a lot of people in my life. At least not while mention that *shock, gasp* I met them on the internet. But that undescribable high quality as stated above? It totally goes for this group of people as well. Some of them I've *shock, gasp* met in person now, some of them I have plans to meet in person, & some of them I may unfortunately never meet in person. That doesn't change a thing though. These friends, they also love me unconditionally & it amazes me sometimes. Then I think about it & really, how different is it? I have friends who are moving all over the place & I won't be able to see them in person, but we'll still have the same connection. So what difference does it make that I may not have met these friends in person, may not hang out with them & go out to do things?

The answer is: There is no difference. Well, that's sort of a lie. It means that I'm doubly blessed.

So, I may have only won $25 on that lottery ticket, but the people in my life are priceless.

And because I'm still hopped up on caffeine & I feel like it's impossible to be completely serious while in this state, I give you a summary of this post in MasterCard commercial form:

10 BINGO Lottery Tickets: $20
20 Thank You Notes: $8.99
Kimmy's Family & Friends: PRICELESS

24 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday #4

Here are some pictures from that insane morning I stayed up to watch the sun rise.
All shot with my HP Photosmart M415.

For more, check out my Flickr page.

23 June 2009

The One Where Kimmy Doesn't Have an Explanation

When I don't have any time obligations like school or work (soon, fingers crossed) I tend to be semi-nocturnal. I'm not sure what the draw is, I just prefer to stay up until 4am & then wake up in the afternoon. It's been like that since I was old enough to set my own bedtimes.
So the other day when I was still up at 5am & noticed it was getting light out, I decided I would watch the sun rise & take pictures. I threw on my clogs & went out into the yard.
After the sun rose, I took some pictures in the yard. The birds were chirping & when I looked at the neighbor's fence there was a blue jay perched there.
Now, I need to preface this with a little story. My dad went by Jay since there are always multiple Josephs in my family. His nickname was Jay Bird, so we've always associated blue jays with him. For me, this has increased since he passed away. Whenever I see one, I always smile & think of my dad. Kind of like it's a way to let me know he's looking down on me or something like that.
So, I see this blue jay perched on the fence & think it's appropriate since it's Father's Day weekend. Since I had my camera I snapped a picture of the bird. I watched the blue jay until it flew into the neighbor's yard where I could no longer see it. After waiting a couple minutes to see if it would come back, I moved on to take some more pictures before heading back inside.
I loaded the pictures onto my computer so I could look through them before going to bed. When I got to the blue jay one I stopped, mouth wide open.
(You'll probably have to click the picture to open the full size image ... it's hard to see what I'm talking about otherwise.)
There was only ONE blue jay outside. So how are there TWO in the picture?!
I spent half an hour looking at the picture. I took a screen shot just in case ... well, just in case I don't know what. But when I looked again after waking up there were still two blue jays in the picture. I checked to see if maybe somehow the camera had played some sort of trick, but it's not like it's a mirror image of the blue jay that I actually saw (which, by the way, is the one on the left).
I have no way to explain this photo. I don't know if there IS some digital camera explanation for this or what. For now, I'm filing this away with another story of a weird coincidence.
One day my mom & I were driving to the store where we passed the mini golf course which has a billboard. They post messages for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc. The board read, "Congratulations Joe and Kim." I thought this was funny because my brother's name is Joe, so I pointed it out to my mom. She said, "I know. When I pointed it out to your brother he said, 'Well, how else is Dad gonna say it?'" I started to tear up & my mom said she had the same reaction. I can't remember when this was, but some sort of accomplishment had just happened for both of us.
So, there you have it. Sometimes unexplanable things happen, sometimes there are weird coincidences. And soemtimes that's jsut the kind of reminder you need.

17 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday #3

This week's edition of Wordless Wednesday is animal themed. :D

Our backyard bunny!
Another backyard friend, Chip the chipmunk.My dolphin Indy who resides at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida.Beach crab.Bird sanctuary.Backyard pictures taken with my BlackBerry Curve 8320. Others taken with my HP Photosmart M415

16 June 2009

I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I can protest.

As part of the never-ending project which is cleaning my room, I’ve been finding a lot of old things. Today I found letters from the White House, the Department of State, Senators, Representatives, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and others. (What can I say, being an activist leads to interesting correspondence!) I also found a catalog from the Department of Defense.
The latter needs a bit more explanation. It’s also connected to being an activist, however, it involves more than correspondence. When I was a junior in high school, I made a trip to Georgia with my two Amnesty advisers & two other members of Amnesty. We went to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. Fort Benning is the home of the School of the Americas, or the Western Hemisphere School for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). The SOA provides training for Latin American soldiers on American soil.
The controversy over the SOA is that some of its graduates have gone on to commit grave human rights abuses. For example, SOA graduates are to blame for the assassination of Oscar Romero. For more information you can check out SOA Watch.
I also found a partial journal about the weekend we spent down there. I typed it so that it was a few less sheets of paper to save & I thought it would be nice to put it up here too. There were lots of “add reaction/elaborate” notes – the reflection journal was part of an assignment, but there was so little time to sit down & write while we were there.
Georgia Journal
21 November 2003

Plane: This trip has been in the works for several months now. Between educational workshops/meetings, movies & stories from the SOA Watch, news articles, & information about the SAO & its graduates the work was snow balling into a big, stressful project. When I first decided to go on his trip I hadn’t expected to do an independent study for it, let alone have deadlines for work I most likely would have done any ways. With deadlines & work accumulating & my stress level rising, I almost forgot my reasoning for coming on the trip in the first place. In writing my biography of Oscar Romero I re-found that reasoning. The killing of innocent people who speak out for human rights & against injustices committed by military personnel & government officials/workers. While writing the biography I recalled the movie Romero & the emotions it invoked in me. I began to forget about the stress of deadlines (as well as the school work I would be missing). Then I started to really get excited about the trip. Now that I’m sitting on the plane, flying down to Georgia, I can only imagine what the next few days are going to be like. I can’t wait to demonstrate against the horrible school that teaches torture to Latin Americans, on the ground of the United States.
Hotel: At 5 we’re planning on going to a prisoner of conscience caucus. The POC’s are former prisoners/probationers of the SOA Watch, people who have been involved in past SOA rallies. The next event we plan on attending is a Witness for Peace Gathering. After that we’re going to women’s/men’s gender queer caucuses.
22 November 2003
Morning: Today we’re going on a tour of Fort Benning. After that we’re going to the rally just outside the Fort. I don’t really know what to expect for the rally. The movies about the SOA &/or weekend are really about the vigil. I’m so excited abou
t going! I’m also interested in the tour of the Fort.
Evening: Today was awesome. I was really surprised about the way we were treated at the base. Everyone was so nice, even though they knew why we were there – to hear the other side. I appreciated the fact that the men who spoke to us understood of our opinions. The rally was amazing!
I find it interesting that I wrote about how I thought the people we met with at the SOA were understanding. They were, but in more of a “we know how to put the right spin on things” way. And they certainly put a spin on things, just the same as when the name change happened. On the surface it seems as though things are improving, but behind the scenes they really aren’t.
It was, however, an absolutely amazing experience. I had been to demonstrations before, but nothing on this scale. So many people go for the weekend demonstration every year & that collective is so inspiring. While I was there, I met Sister Helen Prejean for the first time. She’s the nun who wrote the book Dead Man Walking & is depicted in the movie. She also wrote a book called The Death of Innocents. Susan Sarandon, the actress from the movie & an avid activist, was also there. (Martin Sheen is also a huge supporter of SOA Watch.)The most memorable thing about the weekend was the vigil. There is a huge procession to the entrance of Fort Benning. Usually Fort Benning is open, but they close the gate every year when the protest happens. Most people walk until they get to the fence, where they leave a cross or some remembrance for those who have fallen at the hands of SOA graduate. Some people commit civil disobedience & scale the fence, as the original goal of the procession was to reach the building which houses the SOA.
Although most people do not commit civil disobedience, the weekend certainly makes an impact. The mass amount of protestors cannot be ignored by the SOA, even when they blast music during the rallies & vigil. (Examples: God Bless the USA, Proud to be an American.) It leaves people with a bug to do more as an activist & gives people a chance to network.
I can honestly say that participating in the SOA demonstration has been one of the defining points of my activist career. I hope to make a return trip to Georgia to participate in it again, although I hope that it’s not necessary by the time I’m able to afford the trip.

14 June 2009

A realization I didn't think would come so soon.

When I was a little girl I did a lot of playing house, as many little girls do. During kindergarten (Side note: I’m embarrassed to say I JUST learned, via spell check, that I’ve been spelling that wrong … forever. I thought it was GARDEN not garten. WTF?) a lot of playtime was spent with the little kitchen play set in the classroom. Sometimes we were even able to conscript boys to play house with us, making them our husbands. And of course there were dolls involved in playing house, because being mommy was a lot more fun than just making pretend dinners.

Even playing with Barbies turned into playing house. Barbie did have a little sister & of course there were the Barbies that came with babies. Then when I had a better idea about pregnancy, that’s when pillows were shoved up my shirts & I “delivered” babies. Somewhere in all of that play, I figured that when I got older I would have a family. Clearly all of us playing house had these expectations.

As I got older, my expectations changed. I decided that I wanted to adopt children instead of having my own. There are so many children who are given up at birth or orphaned somehow. And not just in third world countries, but here in the United States too. I dreamed of adopting a child, taking them in & giving them the love they need & deserve.

Then my expectations changed yet again. When I was a sophomore in high school I decided that I want to pursue a career in human rights. The more cases I worked on, the more I read about human rights defenders who were put in danger &, in some cases, their families being put in danger. I decided that it was one thing to put my husband through that, someone who could make the choice to be with me knowing that’s what I want to do, but it’s another to bring children into that when they have no say.

And the longer I sat with those thoughts, the more of an aversion I had to motherhood. As much as I love kids, I would get nervous whenever a cousin had a baby & I was asked if I wanted to hold them. Somewhere in my mind, my decision not to have children made me think that me + babies was a bad idea. I wound up getting over that, especially when my mom started dating her boyfriend. He has a granddaughter who was a newborn back then (& a grandson now).

When the above mentioned grandson was born, I got to hold him just a few weeks after he was born. He was so tiny, so sweet, & had that wonderful baby smell. After they left that day, the baby smell lingered & I found myself wishing that he was still there. I started having a biological response to holding a baby, one that left me with a certain longing I had never felt before. I was conflicted because this feeling was so different than the decision I had made not to have kids. I knew that my body was saying I want to eventually have kids, but my mind was still in the same place it had been before holding him.

Now … well, now I’m admitting that things have changed. I’m admitting that I DO want to have kids some day. What brought this revelation about? Recently I met up with “someone” who I have feelings for. While we were out, there were some kids. I was just hit with this desire to have a family. So, there you have the reason for this drastic change. The knowledge that making a family with someone you love, that seems like the most amazing thing in the world.

Soooooooooo, there you have it. And now? Now that my mind has caught up with the biology? I’m going insane! I got together with one of my friends & we talked babies. One of the mommy bloggers I read just had a baby yesterday. One of my cousins just had a baby this week. The books I’ve been reading have to do with kids. And today I saw the above mentioned baby who brought out this biological response. (He. Is. So. Damn. Adorable!)

This realization is so intense that I can feel it, feel the desire coursing through me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve finally admitted it or if it has more to do with that “someone”, but it’s true all the same.

Seriously, this has gotten so out of hand that I’m even coming around to the idea of PHYSICALLY HAVING A BABY. Something that has never, ever appealed to me. I have a huge aversion to pain & the more I hear/read about pregnancy & childbirth & afterward? NO THANK YOU! Yet, for some reason … it’s becoming appealing. Please, someone commit me for my own good! I still want to adopt, so now I’m all “Oh, I can adopt AND give birth!” I don’t know who this person is. However, I do know that now whenever I’m told that I’m going to be a good mother I won’t have to shock people by telling them I don’t want kids.

In the back of my head I figured that I would change my mind. I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon. Not at all.

My question is, when did you know that you want/wanted to be a mom or dad? Did you go through a similar limbo between options, or did you know all along?

10 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday #2

Continuing with the nostalgia I've been feeling so much lately, here are some more shots from London:All shot with my crappy HP Photosmart M415.

09 June 2009

Do you remember when we used to sing ...

You know how sometimes you’re reminded of something & then next thing you know it’s everywhere? Well, that’s been happening with me a lot lately. First it was with, well, one person from my past. I had a dream about him & then there were nearly constant reminders of him.

Now it’s someone else from my past. To be more specific, it’s my dad. I wasn’t intending to blog about my dad until Father’s Day, but then the reminders started. Granted, with Father’s Day just around the corner it’s easy enough. Every year around this time I think about my dad, along with the beginning of May which marks the anniversary of his death & his birthday, just a day later. Then there’s Christmas & various other occasions where he’s noticeably absent.

Maybe it’s because this year is particularly hard. I graduated from college, the second time I’ve graduated since he passed away. And then one of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family got married. My dad’s side of the family is huge, so we’ve had a lot of weddings. This is the first one since he passed away.

There were comments about how my brother looks exactly like my dad, something I had only discovered that week when I found an old picture of my dad growing up. The table of all my aunts & uncles was missing someone. But the hardest part had to be when they played Brown Eyed Girl. It’s a standard song played at wedding receptions, at least for my family, & it’s the song that my dad & I always danced to. It stung a little more when one of my aunts came over to tell one of my cousins, “this is our song for you” & she replied, “you don’t want me to dance with you, do you??”

It’s been four years & one month since my dad passed away. We had just seen him the day before to celebrate his birthday. I knew he wasn’t feeling great, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The next night when there was a knock on the door I knew something wasn’t right. My mom & brother had already gone to bed, so I went & answered the door. One of my aunts, one of my mom’s sisters, was at the door & it was clear that she had been crying. I let her in & woke my mom up.

I milled around in my room for a few minutes, waiting to let my aunt talk to my mom. I knew someone had died, that was the only explanation for her to come so late. I figured it was my grandpa. When I went downstairs my other aunt was there. As I came into the kitchen my mom turned & told me that it was my dad. I started crying immediately, but still couldn’t process it. I remember asking “what?” before stumbling into my mom’s arms to sob. One of my aunts asked if we should wake my brother up & the other said no, but I said we should because if I were asleep I would want to be woken up instead of waiting until the morning.

But I don’t really want this to be about how hard I took things. My point is, this is normally the time when I’m reminded of my dad, but it’s been amplified this time around. I said that I had found a picture of my dad when he was growing up. I had been going through everything in the eves to make room for all my dorm stuff. I found my photo album from the first five years of my life, which included some pictures of both of my parents when they were kids. I also found a journal that my mom kept while she was pregnant with me, plus some letters written by family members when I was born.

I can’t explain what it’s like to find something you had never seen from someone who’s passed away. Soon after it happened, I was given my dad’s Bible. Stuck in between the pages was a note to call me on my 13th birthday. I don’t remember how much I cried after finding that, so you can imagine finding an actual letter from him was even more. However, in the past few years I’ve made some progress & have learned to take joy in hearing stories about my dad, seeing pictures, & that sort of thing. I still get emotional (because let’s face it, I’m an extremely emotional person), but now I can do more than just cry sad tears.

It’s hard to say how I’ll react to the increase in ads for Father’s Day. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between markers & when they actually hit me. All I can hope is that I manage to dwell more on the positive memories than just the loss. Four years later, I’m dealing with things better, but sometimes there are moments when the wounds seem fresh again.

My dad battled with kidney failure for eleven years, one year longer than his doctor gave him. In case you’re looking for a new charity to take on, maybe you know a dad who prefers donations made in his name, consider the National Kidney Foundation. You can also follow NKF on Twitter @nkf.

07 June 2009

A thousand words or more

For the past several months my mom has been working on the house. She wants to put it up for sale by the end of the month, so she’s been making changes to make it more desirable. First was the upstairs bathroom (which looks incredible!). Next was the kitchen, which just needs to be wallpapered now that we picked something out. The downstairs bathroom also has to be redone. Those are the major renovations; there are also minor things that need to be done.

Yesterday & today my mom & one of my aunts painted the living room. That one change has made a HUGE difference! Before there was gray primer up (don’t even get me started on how much I hated that) & now there’s a nice light beige up. It makes the room look so much bigger & makes the carpet stand out more. We have a kick ass carpet that I picked out, thankyouverymuch.

Now that the walls have been painted, we started talking about hanging things up. Tons of pictures were taken down to put up the paint & my mom wants to put things up so it doesn’t look bare, but she wants impersonal shots. No people, nothing recognizable. So she asked me to go through my pictures, see if I have any landscapes from Ireland or that sort of thing. I started going through everything & was hit hard with nostalgia.

After I graduated from high school, I went on my first vacation without my family. My best friend Jared & I went to Mexico. We flew into Mexico City for a night, & then went to Taxco, a silver mining city in the mountains. We stayed in Pie de la Cuesta for a night & enjoyed the beach a town away from Acapulco. Then we went back to Mexico City to explore the city & visit some pyramids. It was a wonderful vacation spent with great company.

The semester I spent in London, the two most beautiful places I visited were Greenwich & Notting Hill. Both the day I went to Greenwich & the day I

went to Notting Hill were gorgeous days. I did both by myself &

enjoyed taking in the scenery.

The first trip I made while I was abroad was to Barcelona for a weekend with a friend. We tried to pack a lot into the trip & it was a lot of fun. It was so nice to be somewhere in February with warm weather! One of my favorite places was the old catedral which was right across from the hostel we stayed in.

One of my absolute favorite parts of that semester was going to Ireland for a week with my friend Elizabeth. It was the best vacation & being in Ireland for Easter was just amazing. Despite the debacle that it wound up being (very short version: Paddywagon sucks & will strand you in Limerick if you’re a minute late getting back to the bus, even when they know you haven’t got back on … because you refused to flirt with the tour guide) the tour we did of the Cliffs of Moher & other seaside towns, like Burren, was stunning.

I wound up with some money in my pocket toward the end of my stay, so I decided to go ahead & make the best of it. One of the things I did was a day trip to Wales. Once again I had gorgeous weather, including a gorgeous blue sky as the perfect backdrop.

I thought since I took an unexpected trip down memory lane, I would share some of my favorite shots from these trips. I don’t have a very good camera – it’s extremely difficult & decides it doesn’t want to take pictures sometimes – but I realized that I have got some great shots with it. Crappy camera, I don’t hate you quite as much now. Don’t get all cocky though, I’m still hoping you get replaced in a few weeks when my birthday comes.

06 June 2009

Captain von Trapp does not approve

Oh hai, welcome to me blogging on not enough sleep & too much caffeine. I would say I might regret writing in this insane state, but that would probably be a lie. I think my Twitter history will attest to that … I gotz pride, but I’m not ashamed of the fact that I talk like a LOLcat when I’m exhausted &/or caffeinated. And let’s face it, the two go together most of the time. (Alright, fine, I talk like a LOLcat a lot, but seriously … have you seen LOLcatz? HIL-AR-I-OUS! I also direct you to a new favorite, Awkward Family Photos!)

Speaking of LOLz & awkward, I give you the story behind this title. In full it's actually "Captain von Trapp does not approve, he blows his whistle at you angrily!" but I thought that was just too long. It pretty much sums up my mood at the moment ... random & more random. I may have said this to my friend Marisa earlier when she brought up pregnant sex in regards to (have you not clicked the links yet?!) the most recent Awkward Family Photo. I made her LOL so hard she cried. I consider this a huge victory. Erm, moving on.

Although I could tell you about my lack of sleep or immense consumption of caffeine, I would much rather talk about two things I love more than sleep & caffeine. BOOKS & TV SHOWS! Let’s start with books, since that addiction formed first.

I’ve won awards for the record number of books I’ve read. I’m not kidding. I don’t care that my elementary school wasn’t the only one who had those Olympic reading contests; I still smoked the competition. Point being, I love me some books, so much that I don’t consider being able to get through a few books in a semester reading. To me reading is what I do in the summer … go through them like crazy. My summer reading counts are easily in the 75-100 range. (I was sorely disappointed last year when my old laptop crapped out & I lost my book list. This year I’m not taking any chances with my shiny new laptop & I’m making a duplicate list to keep elsewhere.) I looove when I’m finally able to read a book, or simultaneous books, and not have it take me a month & a half. I love not having to add titles to a list that I won’t be able to get to until the semester ends when someone suggests a book. Granted there is still a list, it’s just a lot more accessible!

I just started a Goodreads account, so as I remember what I’ve read you can see what my taste in books is like. To give you an idea though, there are two genres that I’m big on – crime & romance. If they’re combined? Perfect! Example: the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. A Jersey girl who’s a terrible bounty hunter with multiple love interests, it brings the crime, the romance, AND the funny. Plus I’m a huge fan of book series. Some of my other favorites include the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs & the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson. For romance, Nicholas Sparks is my man. I also love reading non-fiction books … which tend to be in the crime theme. It’s no surprise when someone sees me toting around a book about forensic anthropology or any book you would find in the “true crime” section.

My taste in TV tends to reflect those same genres, but with a bit of a different story. I only allow myself to watch a few shows since the seasons run during the school year, but I make a point of keeping up with them. Well, for the most part. I haven’t seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy since … February or March? I’m not sure. Just don’t spoil me! “My” shows are Bones, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, & Grey’s Anatomy. I might limit myself to what I watch during the regular season, but during the summer I try to make up for it. This will be the third summer that I watch a series (well, probably two this time) in full.

The first series was Alias, and then last year it was SVU. I prefer to keep it to finished series, but I made an exception last summer since I got hooked at the end of the season & decided I was making it a must-watch show. This summer I’m working on Veronica Mars. (Two seasons down, one to go!) I’m not sure what it’ll be after that. Much like my list of books I want to read/that have been recommended, I have one for TV shows too!

The fun part is that now I DON’T HAVE TO LIMIT BOOKS & TV TO THE SUMMER! I know that I won’t have as much free time once I land a job I won’t have as much free time, but I also won’t have tons of homework to do. Who’s excited?! I know I am. ;)

To quote one of my favorite TV interviews ever (yes, I sadly have a favorite TV interview): I don’t know where we’ve gone … I’m sort of like, I don’t know what happened, but I loved it.

Now I’m going to pass out or finish cleaning my room … it depends on which wins out, the over-tired or the over-caffeinated. Who’s taking bets?

03 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday #1

Rose from the Sociology Department -- April 2009

Flowers on campus -- May 2009

Two bouquets of roses for graduation -- May 2009