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Anecdote, Family, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, You're Fine

Little Black Book – a ghost story

I realized I’ve never really discussed the idea of ghosts on my blog. What has prompted this inspiration is an article I asked Tierney to send to me because it was spooking her out so I thought, “Hey Jess, let’s not sleep tonight.” You can find the article here: Read at your own risk.

So now, I’m a Nervous Nelly and the only thing I can do to calm myself down is doing what I’m doing now: blogging and joking around. *insert nervous laugh*

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I love ghost stories. That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe in them, but I’m not entirely skeptical either. I know weird and unexplainable things happen. I’ve known plenty of people who have strange stories to tell, including myself. Like this one time, the stereo in the basement of my house turned on by itself in the middle of the night. The damn thing woke everyone up. We never used that stereo, so there was no set alarm either. And no, I was not the first person to walk into my dark, creepy basement to find the source of the noise. I’m smarter than that. Or that other time in college when I went to go wash my face and brush my teeth before bed and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a girl walk in and head for the stalls. After I was done brushing my teeth, I realized how silent the bathroom was, and when I went to check the stalls, nobody was in there except for me. I ran out and hid under my blankets.

But the first time I started to kind of sort of believe these things was after my dad passed away. Several strange and possibly coincidental things happened after his death, but that is for you to decide.

My dad died only a few months after my college graduation. As soon as I was in the “real world” he informed me that he wanted to send a hundred dollars every month. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted. He said, “I don’t want you to ever be without.” He sent me $100 for July and August, and then he died in September. A day or two after he passed, I flew down to Texas to help my mom with some things around the house. We had an emotional morning after picking up his belongings at the hospital, and then the funeral home allowing me to view the body for a few seconds before cremating him later that week, so my mother and I decided to take a long nap. I don’t know how long we were both asleep for, but I eventually woke up and felt anxious. I slipped out of bed, tip toed over our German Shepherd, and sat in the kitchen for a few minutes in silence. My dad’s art studio was all the way down the hallway with the door closed and I felt compelled to go inside and look around. It wasn’t just out of curiosity. It was more of a, “I have to do it now!” kind of feeling.

I began going through his things. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for but I kept digging through the drawers and closets, hoping to find something. He had a tiny book collection on his shelf and I noticed there was a little black book tucked away and it looked like a journal. I pulled it out and opened the first page. It was dated two weeks before he died and he wrote one sentence, “I don’t remember much of my life or where it went, so this is going to be tough to write.” That is all.

I fanned through the pages hoping to find more and then a hundred dollar bill fell onto my lap. After I showed my mom, we tore apart the rest of the house, wondering if he hid any other hundred dollar bills but we found nothing. Just the single bill inside his blank journal. Now, some of you might think that it was just a coincidence. However, what if I hadn’t gone through his things and found the little black book? There really wasn’t anything special about it. It was a small, blank book tucked in between about a dozen books by Stephen King and a few of my Sarah Dessen novels I enjoyed when I was younger. The little black book could have easily been thrown away along with some of his other belongings before my mom packed up the house and moved. Finding that hundred dollar bill was like finding a needle in a haystack —> not an original analogy but whatever.

Flash forward a few weeks and my mom was telling me about the weird and unexplainable things.

Grief messes with you. You start noticing things you never noticed before, and then you feel guilty for not noticing them when you should have. My mom walked by the refrigerator and found a note that said, “I love you!” and when she turned it over, it read, “Just because.” She walked outside one day and stumbled across the row of cement blocks. The day my dad passed away, he was moving them around the yard in the heat, which could be an easy explanation for his heart attack. One of the cement blocks had their initials written on it with a heart. These moments are not considered weird, but instead are happy reminders of the person they were before they are gone. I think this happens with every person once they have died. It’s like that song from The Band Perry when they say, “Funny when you’re dead and people start listening.” But one day, my mom woke up from a nap because it felt like someone pushed her. She felt the hand shove her awake and she looked up and found my dad standing there staring at her. She told me this story and a part of me thought, “She’s grieving. This is natural.” And then another part of me was jealous. Other than the mysterious hundred dollar bill, I hadn’t experienced anything except a number of sleepless nights.

My mom told me a few other stories like that one and I just nodded my head silently. For weeks, I wanted something to happen whether it was my grief talking or something real. I know it was just a desperate plea to see him one last time, and I couldn’t understand why my mom could see him and I couldn’t.

And then one fine evening I had a very strange dream. I was standing across the street from my old house in New Hampshire. Everything was set up exactly as I remembered. From across the street, I could see my dad pacing back and forth in the window of my house. I wasn’t trying to get his attention, but I was just watching him. He noticed me from the big window and waved vigorously with a huge smile on his face. And then I woke up.

Weird? Maybe. Coincidence? Possibly. But I’d rather just keep it as a way of him saying, “hello”.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Girls, Humor, You're Fine

The Underwear Story

My story begins Saturday, February 11th. After a tearful goodbye to some of my pants, I ventured off to the mall with Tierney to hunt down some newbies. The first store we stumbled upon I was hesitant to enter. The overwhelming stench of perfume screamed, “You’re about to get a headache!” and the dungeon lighting left me uneasy. I hadn’t shopped in this store I will not name since I was a teenager, when I was much more brave and alive. But they were having a sale on jeans, so I took the risk and stepped in.

I dug through the layers and layers of folded jeans, unsure of my new size and feeling like an ass for not folding them back up properly. I pulled out a few pairs, and after some grunting, moaning, and sweating, I finally found the size that fits best. Out of breath and removing my upper lip sweat, I reassured Tierney I was in fact fine by yelling, “They zipped! They have zipped up! And I only had to fight them a little tiny bit.”

Accurate depiction of me trying to put on the jeans:

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Once I made my careful selections, we walked up to the cashier, a young man possibly in his late teens or early twenties. I was not at all prepared for what was about to happen next.

“Since you are purchasing over $50 worth of merchandise, you get a free pair of underwear,” he said.

That’s kind of weird, but okay.

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I was bit alarmed by this statement. The cashier and I stared at each other until I realized I actually had to respond.

“Oh…” was about all I could muster at that point.

“Do you know your *cough*…underwear…size?” He asked. I could feel the awkwardness intensify. I’ve never actually had a man, or any person, male or female, ask me for my underwear size. I don’t even let the pestering employees of Victoria’s Secret help me out. I’ve always been pretty confident in what I’m looking for when it comes to bras and underwear. And honestly, I don’t want them measuring my breasts in the middle of the store and then relaying the size to another employee through their headset like they’re on a mission to Mars.

Of course I know my size. But I made the situation even more awkward by painfully looking around, feeling my face turn fifteens shades of red, and hoping maybe the wall would answer for me.

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After making a few babbling noises and trying my hardest not to burst out laughing, I whispered, “Uhhhhhhhhhhh….small. I’m a small…I guess.” He grabbed a random pair from the buckets behind him and held them out for me to inspect, except he fumbled them around nervously with his fingers because I honestly believe he was thinking, this horrific place doesn’t pay me enough to do this. I wanted to vomit. He stood there waiting for me to approve of the underwear he had chosen and I felt upper lip sweat forming once again and the desire to pass out in the middle of the store.

I looked at Tierney, who very conveniently picked a spot on the counter to stare at while waiting for this situation to be over. I think I even nudged her as a way of asking, “What do you think of this pair?” But then I realized she is not the one expected to wear them. I am.

The cashier waited patiently for my response, so I started throwing my arms around as a way of indicating I approve.

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All I wanted in that moment was to pay for my stuff and run out of there. But of course, the card slider was taking an obnoxiously long time. I tapped my fingers and used my telekinesis abilities on the machine to approve my card at a more rapid pace than it was currently working in. Once the transaction was complete, I sprinted out of the store, removing my sweater since I’m sure my body sweat leaked through all of my clothes.

Tierney looked traumatized.

The underwear is still sitting in the bag, untouched. They will be forever untouched. Yes, I realize they were free and I should be thankful but I will not be able to slip into them without thinking of the guy who picked them out for me. I can’t do it.

I CAN’T.

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Festivities, Humor, I'm not a mommy blogger, Out of the Ordinary, Sarcasm

Valentine’s Day Cards

No, this is not an anti-Valentine’s Day post. I’m not one of those single people who overly emphasizes that I’m alone on this holiday, or writes “Singletines” rather than “Valentine’s”. I don’t mind Valentine’s Day. Although, if you do write mushy messages to each other on social media, please know that neither I nor the rest of the world cares, and we wish you would stop. I don’t want to see it on any normal day, and to me, Valentine’s Day is just like every other day.

Now that we got that out of the way, I’d like to discuss Valentine’s Day cards. I don’t like those overly sentimental greeting cards. You know, the ones with the really fancy cursive font with a floral painting and some kind of cheesy poem inside. I don’t care for those. I like the sarcastic ones. I just got my Nana a birthday card that says “You’re Awful” on the front, but then peel the entire card open and it says, “You are awesome and wonderful.” I like that crap.

I’m not trying to brag or anything, but my family should start a greeting card business. Every time there’s a family party for someone’s birthday, my uncle goes to the store and grabs a handful of cards. I don’t even think he looks at them. He just picks out about 15 cards at random and then modifies them when he gets home.

So, I’ve decided to modify some Valentine’s Day cards I found online. I think they are a bit more original.

A big shout out to my mother, my aunt, and my two sisters for helping me out with these. I couldn’t have done it without that family wit. We should all be in therapy.

1.)

vd1

vd2

2.)

vd3

vd4

3.)

vd5

vd6

4.)

vd7

vd8

5.)

vd9

vd10

6.)

vd11

vd12

7.)

vd13

vd14

8.)

vd15

vd16

9.)

vd17

vd18

But in all seriousness, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day. To me, you are all my valentines. Plus, my cat. I can’t forget about my cat.

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Poems, Thoughts, Writing

Because

I’m waiting for my time to pass by

Because darkness is slowly eating me.

Store me in your mind for just a moment

Even a second, would be nice.

Like Nanna sings,

“I should eat you up

And spit you right out.”

But I still have faith in you.

You may never think of me

And that’s okay.

I’ll wander the world sleeplessly anyway.

Like Nanna sings,

“I should not care

But I don’t know how.”

I sit on my side of the tub

The warm rain trickling down on me

And I watch the dripping faucet

Waiting for something magnificent

To happen

Because I still have faith in you.

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Anecdote, Awkward, Girls, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts

I Need to Learn How to Say No – UPDATE

I got a lot of wonderful feedback from you friends on my post from yesterday, and I want to thank all of you. Since I never responded to Maybe Cory’s text from the other night and he’s been silent since, I figured that was the end of that. I was thankful he didn’t turn out to be a psycho stalker who would eventually become scarier and scarier with each unanswered text.

But, I woke up this morning to a text from Maybe Cory saying, “Don’t want to chat?”

Oh boy. It’s official. I have to answer him. The text was slightly passive aggressive, filled with annoyance and perhaps regret. I immediately felt bad and tried to think of what to say without hurting his feelings. I kept thinking this morning about how aggravated I’ve been in the past when my messages had gone unanswered. I tend to overthink things way too much and I didn’t necessarily want to do that to him or anybody else. He seems perfectly nice.

I apologized for not getting back to him due to the stress of moving to South Carolina. <– I had to remind him of this very important fact.

He said he understood and then the light bulb went off. “You live in Connecticut?”

I said yes.

“Ohhhh. I missed that part. *insert sweaty smiley emoji*”

And that was the end of the conversation. I have a feeling I won’t be hearing from Maybe Cory again.

So I realized many things from this very small experience.

1.) Maybe Cory was probably too drunk to comprehend what I was saying to him that evening.

2.) Maybe Cory wasn’t actually listening to anything I was saying to him that evening.

3.) It’s more than likely a mix of both 1 and 2.

4.) I need to take a chill pill.

So even though I didn’t get a chance to actually turn him down, it makes me feel a little bit better that I sorta kinda tried. Until next time.

fdgfdgdf

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Anecdote, Awkward, Girls, Humor, My Idea Of Being An Adult, Thoughts

I Need to Learn How to Say No

Why is it so hard to say no?

I read an advice column a few weeks ago and the reader asked, “How do you say no to people?” The advice columnist put it very simply – just say no. However, for people like myself, it’s a lot easier said than done. And I’m not talking about drastic situations like, your best friend wants your help committing a murder. If my best friend asked me to participate in murder, I would very easily say no and then run away/go to the police.

Here’s my example from this past weekend:

I was out with my mom, aunt, and two older sisters in a small downtown area in New Hampshire. Since it was my last weekend visiting them before I leave for South Carolina, it was kind of a big blow out. My oldest sister just had a baby back in October, so she was shaking her little mom self the whole evening. My second oldest sister was handing me Jello shots while my mom and my aunt took videos of me and my sisters reenacting the rap scene from Teen Witch. We are a close-knit family, as you can tell.

I ran off to the ladies room and on my way back, my arm was tugged ever so lightly by some guy with thick-rimmed glasses. I was wearing my glasses as well (long story short – I put my contact in my eye and it just disappeared without a trace. I looked like Jessica Day all weekend). He pulled me aside and said, “Hey, you seem interesting to talk to.”

Now here’s where I tend to ruin things. In an overly sarcastic tone I asked, “Is it because I’m wearing and you’reeeee wearing glasses?” But then he started laughing and asked for my name. Our conversation was going smooth and I knew it was going to be brief. After all, I was just being polite. And if I really thought about it, this guy had some balls to just pull me aside and strike up a conversation. Bonus points for him. He will go far in life. I told him that I was out with my family because I’m moving to South Carolina. He thought that was cool and congratulated me. And then I started looking at his face and realized he seemed pretty young. Perhaps even younger than myself.

So I did what any obnoxious older woman would normally do in this situation and I asked, “How old are you anyway?”

He was twenty-two.

And then the grandma side of me kicked in and I began reminiscing my college graduation.

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He was still a senior in college. I informed him that I will be twenty-six next month. He didn’t seem to give a shit. I got nervous because of the situation I was in and began spewing out advice like I’m his career counselor and he needed help on his resume. I then quickly ended the conversation and told him I needed to get back to my mother, which we both looked over and I’m fairly certain she was holding a Jello shot. But he still asked for my phone number.

Now, a few key points popped into my head at this point.

1.) I just informed him that I’m moving to South Carolina.

2.) I’m nearly four years older than him. That doesn’t seem like a lot but when I realized that he was a freshman in college while I was graduating and stressing about my student loans, it wigged me out a little.

3.) I don’t even currently live in New Hampshire, which he knew.

4.) Our conversation really wasn’t all that interesting to be honest. It felt like we were speed dating – what was your major? What do you do? Where do you live? Where did you grow up? —> How on earth can you tell if you like someone by asking these basic questions? I want someone to ask me what my favorite episode of Doug is, and if I thought Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears should have worked things out.

So I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth this guy wanted my phone number. For what purpose? I think it was pretty obvious we were never going to see each other again. I’m sure some of you are like, Oh Jess, you’re so naive. You’re right. You’re 100% right.

But I panicked and said, “Sure” and inserted my number into his phone. I had zero intention of speaking to him after our encounter. Some of you might think, Wow you’re an asshole. I wasn’t trying to be. I just don’t know how to say no. He was perfectly nice and polite.

My oldest sister yelled, “Why didn’t you give him a fake number? I did that all the time before I was married.”

“Because I’m not a jerk. How horrible would that be if you got the balls to ask a girl for her phone number only to find out that it’s not her phone number? If I were to do that, what’s the point of giving him a number at all?” I said.

“You could have said you have a boyfriend,” my mom suggested.

“I don’t think that quickly on my feet.”

Flash forward to the following night, and I received a text that my iPhone very cleverly labeled, “Maybe Cory?” It took me a second to realize it was senior-in-college-guy.

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I never answered the text.

It’s so easy saying no to people who are just not very friendly, or if it’s someone asking to do something for you. Whenever a guy asks to buy me a drink, I always say, “No, thank you” unless I know them. I don’t like feeling as though I owe them something in return, if you know what I mean. I know plenty of girls who go out and get free drinks from gentlemen all night, and they have no intention of actually conversing with them after. I’d feel like a dick by doing that. I’m a working woman and I can pay for myself. Also, there’s an unspoken fear among females that we don’t want to get roofied, so shout out to guys, if you’re wondering why some girls turn down your drink offer, just know the roofie thing is like, half the reason. But if someone asks for my phone number, it sounds kind of weird saying, “No, thank you”.

In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Turning them down from the start is the exact same thing as ignoring their messages. Sure, it might hurt their feelings, which I don’t like doing, but if I have no intention of speaking to them anyway, then it’s a web I can’t break free of. Eventually, I just have to grow a pair and say “No” so that I can stop getting messages from people I don’t want to talk to.

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Books, Humor, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts

Rory’s Books

Okay Gilmore Girls fans. I found the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. I’m sure I’m a few years too late but I don’t care. I’m acting as if this list was released yesterday.

I know. You’re just as excited as I am. As if the Goodreads Reading Challenge isn’t stressful enough, let’s just add another one to the mix. But, I am a woman with goals. Maybe this list will take me five years, twenty years, or a hundred years. But golly oh mighty, I will finish this list.

So friends, come wallow with me in the pain that is this reading challenge. I’m sure you’re all jumping to the opportunity to read The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

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RORY GILMORE READING CHALLENGE

1.) 1984 -George Orwell
2.) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy – Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
8.) The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
9.) The Archidamian War – Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction – Henry James
11.) The Art of War – Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
13.) Atonement – Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face – Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening – Kate Chopin
16.) Babe – Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women – Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved – Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation – Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita – Unknown
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews – Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women – Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays – Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane – Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon – Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide – Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer
32.) Carrie – Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour – Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine – Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters – P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories – Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors – William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels – Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems – Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories – Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette – Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White – Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible – Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo – Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa – Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code – Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie – Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America – Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band – Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick
Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy – Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote – Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy – Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt – Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test – Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters – Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise – Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange – Roger Reger
75.) Emma – Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls – Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective – Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics – Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 – Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna – Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance – Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 – Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire – Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World – Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring – J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof – Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce
93.) Fletch – Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude – Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey – J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday – Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble – Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President – Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget – Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels – Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 – Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom – Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate – Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
116.) The Group – Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet – William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders – Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I – William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II – William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V – William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories – David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians – Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog – Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater – Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets In – M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl – Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad – Homer
138.) I’m With the Band – Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
140.) Inferno – Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind – Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed – William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village – Hillary Rodham Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog – Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days – Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar – Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover – D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 – Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance – Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them – Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi – Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit – Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith – Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl – Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History – Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies – William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories – Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story – Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth – William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore – Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man – William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman – William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo – Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy – H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsor – William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker – William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick – Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion – Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography – Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States – Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust – Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister – Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty – Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath – Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor – H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru – Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 – Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries – Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature – Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work – David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed – Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night – Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism – William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A
Time to be Born – Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man – Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
212.) Old School – Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road – Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life – Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night – Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello – Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War – Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa – Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition – Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place – Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough – Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain – Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree – Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker – Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche – Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill – Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
237.) Property – Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography – T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion – George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento – James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm – Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel – Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge – W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books – Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad – Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King – J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet – Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth – Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order – Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday – Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own – Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View – E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition – Rough Guides
260.) Sacred Time – Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary – William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay – Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller – Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz – Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend – Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex – Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette – Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe – Unknown
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 – Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace – John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill – Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus – Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane – Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining – Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence – Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five – Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island – Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red – Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World – Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names – Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos – Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader – Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook – Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets – William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice – William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory – Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life – Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree – Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little – E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals – Anne Collett
302.) Sybil – Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment – Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again – Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III – William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
312.) The Trial – Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters – Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship – Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses – James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 – Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless – Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper – Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) – Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden – Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi – Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews – Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 – Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane – Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine – Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf – Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz – Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Read: 31
Remaining: 308

 

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Humor, Thoughts

A-Z Thoughts: Part 2

Asthma – Mumford is having a series of asthma attacks this week, even though he’s still on steroids. I think he’s immune to them now. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and feel the lump of cat by my feet and abruptly touch him to make sure he’s still breathing. #Momlife

Bachelor – Paul’s blog posts on The Bachelor make me want to watch the show. Although I’m certain his commentary is better.

Charleston – I told myself that I would start packing up some of my things this past weekend and I didn’t. Besides, I work much better under pressure.

Date – I’ve been trying to take myself out on a date for the past two weekends and I’m sort of failing. I’d much rather stay in bed and watch Netflix.

Emma Stone – I’d like her to be my best friend.

Flood – Long Beach, California is practically under water right now. I think it rained three times during the whole year and a half I lived there.

Granny Smith Apple – These are my favorite apples, and I usually eat one every day with peanut butter. I didn’t pack one today and I’m licking my chops.

Hawaiian – I ate pizza for the first time in months on Friday night. I had Hawaiian. I’m still drooling over it. I’m still on a pizza high. Bread sticks were involved too.

Ice cream cake – I’m pretty sure my work will be serving us our monthly ice cream cake fix tomorrow. Not that I’m paying attention or anything…

Johnny Depp – There’s another Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out. And no, I’m not joking.

Kayak – The video I watched of Long Beach drowning, a guy floated by in a kayak. I’m glad I moved.

La La Land – I finally saw this in theaters. I’m not really into musicals but this one I loved. It deserves all of the Oscar nominations it has received this year.

Mark Wahlberg – I also saw Patriot’s Day. For those of you who have followed my blog for a while probably know that this movie was going to tug at something a lot more personal. I’m glad I went to see this alone because I cried from beginning to end. And had a minor anxiety attack during the scenes with the bombs. But overall, it was a pretty good movie, and the Boston attitude was perfect throughout the whole thing.

Nana – My Nana celebrated her birthday yesterday and my family had a party. My mom sent me some “family portraits” that were done. Basically my uncle laying shirtless across everyone’s lap while my aunt pretends to poor a Budweiser on his chest.

Oracle – I saw the man who created this computer system on TV once. And I wanted to punch him in the throat.

Paris – I’ve been listening to The Chainsmoker’s song “Paris” on repeat. It’s so catchy.

Queen – I still don’t think Beyonce is queen.

Ragnar – Colleen’s cat, who will soon be Mumford’s new best friend.

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Seyit & Sura – Colleen got me into a Russian show with subtitles on Netflix. She has hyped it up so much that I couldn’t resist, and it’s not disappointing at all. For the first time since Pretty Little Liars, I’m yelling at my TV screen, “No Petro! NOOOOOO!” If you want a good heartbreaking series to watch and you don’t mind subtitles, give this show a shot.

Tierney – If you missed my last post, don’t forget to follow my friend Tierney on WordPress! She’s new. Welcome her!  https://tierneyann.wordpress.com/

Uhaul – The thought of transporting a U-haul attached to my car kind of terrifies me. But I am woman. Hear me roar.

Viagra – Does anyone else feel terribly uncomfortable when the Viagra commercials come on? When the women sit on the bed wearing a football jersey?

Winter – We have less than two months of winter left, thank goodness.

Xander – I saw there is some sort of Xander movie out, but I instantly think of Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Youths – There’s a high school I pass every afternoon while on my break and the kids always seem to have half a day. Do kids not go to school anymore?

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Zzz – I got absolutely no sleep last night. It was one of those nights when time was passing quickly but I don’t feel as though I actually slept.

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Anecdote, Humor

Welcome Tierney to WordPress

I had a sleepover last night with my best friend, Tierney. We get together at least twice a month and watch movies or stand-up specials on Netflix. Sometimes it’s in Connecticut, sometimes it’s in New Jersey. We like to go to this little diner in New Jersey the next morning and chat over coffee, tea and pancakes. We melt over beautiful men we see on the TV, our love lives, who we feel we can trust or not trust, and anything else that comes to mind.

I met Tierney during my first week at grad school on Enders Island in Mystic, Connecticut. She was my roommate for the whole nine days we were on the island with other potential writers. I always luck out when it comes to being randomly assigned a roommate. We instantly clicked. I could tell she was nervous, and so was I. We are both introverts, which lucked out because while other writers sat outside until 4am drinking with the professors and getting rowdy, Tierney and I were reading in bed by 11pm. She has a loud and infectious laugh, which got us in trouble one evening when we were laughing about God-knows-what, and a girl in our hallway knocked on the door loudly and told us to pipe down. It was funny then and it’s still funny now. When the professors told us to leave our windows closed during our winter workshop even though the heat wasn’t working properly and it was 90 degrees in our room, Tierney cracked the window open and said, “No ragrets.”

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A piece of our conversation last night went a little something like this:

Tierney: I wrote a blog post last week for the first time.

Me: What do you mean? On tumblr?

Tierney: WordPress.

Me: 200-3

 

Tierney: Yeah…I started a blog on WordPress.

Me: But…I’m on WordPress.

Tierney: Yeah I know.

Me: WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?

Tierney: I followed you!

Me: Hogwash! When?!

Tierney: Last week!

Me: I think I would have noticed…

Tierney: I swear I did.

Me: Mmmm…no.

Tierney: Well I thought I did.

Me: But that doesn’t answer my question. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU STARTED A BLOG ON WORDPRESS?

Tierney: I DON’T KNOW.

Me: 200-2

Tierney: I’M SORRY!


So, right now, even though I’m mad at her for not informing me of such news, I begrudgingly tell all of you to follow her. Despite the events from last night, she’s pretty cool. Let’s encourage her to blog more and more. Keep pestering her in the comments until she writes another post.

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Awkward, Girls, Humor, Memories, Thoughts, You're Fine

A Letter to My Pants

Hey ladies,

I’m sure for the last year, my closet has felt like Buckingham Palace compared to my last one. You have so much space to just hang around while Mumford tortures you from time to time with his claws when he’s feeling feisty. You’re also completely separated from those asshole t-shirts and blouses in the next closet over. You no longer have to mingle with them, thank goodness.

I’m sure the feeling is mutual when I say that we are frenemies. Some of you are just so wonderful, shaping my body ever so nicely while the rest of you, I’m certain, are trying to kill me.

I’ll start off with you lovely sweatpants. There are just so many of you: the Catalina Island Sweatpants, the Old-Navy-Random-Purchase Sweatpants, the Forever-21-And-It-Only-Cost-2-Dollars Leggings, the Yoga-Pants-I-Bought-When-I-Was-A-Size-Zero-And-No-Longer-Fit-In. You are all my buds. We’ve had so many cuddle sessions together, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. I’m sorry to many of you for the accidental coffee spill from time to time when I was startled or got excited about something. We’ve watched the entire series of Mad Men together, and you’re definitely the type I would like to die in a plane crash with, if the situation were to occur. Sorry, jeans. At least I would die comfortable. You’re the first pants I reach to when I get home from work.

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You’re the perfect attire to eat in. You allow me to be a bottomless pit and I love you for it. Cashews? Screw cashews. Give me french fries.

Back to the jeans. You guys are terrible friends. The only thing I like about you is the fact that you make my legs seem long and lean, but it’s a complete lie. In reality, my legs are short and look like stubby fingers. Let’s just push that pro to the side and go over the cons:

  • The daily struggle every morning pulling you over my thighs. It’s like wrestling a bear.
  • Praying they are going to zip up without that awkward opening as if I went to the bathroom and forgot to zip my pants back up.
  • That uncomfortable and painful scar you leave across my stomach every day as if I fell asleep on a butcher knife for 6 hours.

^^^ This is why I prefer sweatpants.

But I have news for some of you. Since I have officially shed 12 pounds from my body, I’m gonna have to go Hunger Games on your asses and remove you from the premises. No, Olive Jeans. You can’t volunteer as tribute. You still fit perfectly fine.

Some of you, on the other hand, now fit me so awkwardly I feel like one of those tweens who’s old enough to shop in the juniors section but risk wearing khaki’s that bubble up at the thighs, but will only fit in the Little Miss section and risk wearing jeans with flower patches on the knees like they’re in third grade. I can’t be having that at the age of 25. Sahry.

I’m not going to name names, but some of you will have to say your goodbyes because you’re being stored in a box somewhere for later use. I’m realistic of the fact that I’m sure I’m going to need you again at some point.

We are also moving to a much warmer place, full of sunshine and horrible humidity. Even the ones who are dear enough to stick around, your services will not be needed nearly as much. I’m going to have to start buying more shorts and dresses. I know, I know. Shorts scare you. They are basically you, but with your limbs cut off. Do you want to be covered in my sweat?

I didn’t think so.

This isn’t to say I don’t love all of you. I know what I said before, jeans. But I didn’t mean it. You are there for me when the seasons change and I feel my inner girl freak out at the sight of a dead leaf. I throw you on when the temperature drops to 60. You cover my legs on the days I don’t feel like shaving. You keep me warm and cozy. You give me more confidence than any other piece of clothing.

I’ll be sure to give you the love and respect on the days you are needed. We will do something fun together. Like jump in a pile of leaves or bond with some boots if it gets really cold. I know you’ll miss the boots too.

So, this isn’t goodbye now, or forever. This is a “I’ll catch you on the flip side.” Until then, you do you. Never lose heart.

Yours truly,

Momsicle

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Art, Books, Movies, Thoughts

1.25.17 Art Project: Understanding Film and Text

I just started reading William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. I’m having a hard time with the first chapter, but I’m enjoying the fact that I’m having a hard time. The first chapter is approximately 90 pages long and in the point of view of Benjy, a mentally challenged thirty-three year old man. Benjy has no sense of time. Every event in his life is blurred together, making the 90 pages seem like utter nonsense. One minute, a character in the book is only seven-years-old, and then the next they are fourteen. His memories shift back and forth constantly, without much warning to the reader. It’s like when you have a dream – you’re at the beach, and you go to step in the ocean only to find yourself in your mother’s kitchen and not understanding how or when you got there. Luckily, after a few dozen pages, I’ve gotten the hang of identifying the shifts in time.

Every once in a while, I have to turn to SparkNotes to understand what it is I’m supposed to be paying attention to. If I didn’t know Benjy or his sense of time, I would have thought this chapter was complete gibberish, especially since the chapter is titled April Seventh, 1928. All of these events seem to take place on this particular date, but they don’t.

The way Faulkner wrote this book reminds me of art in the form of text and film. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a moving text window near the gift shop, and I always find myself sitting on the bench staring at it. The few dozen times I’ve visited the museum, I’ve been irritated by the fact that I can’t just stay where I am and see where the text goes because it never truly ends. The text spits out sentence after sentence, and each one doesn’t seem to relate to another by any means, but it keeps flowing, and I keep reading.

The same can be done in film. When I visited the Tate Modern in London, I sat in the theater and watched a film play on a loop. It was a series of random images. Have you ever seen The Ring? It’s kind of like that but less scary. But there’s still something creepy about it. I remember seeing multi-colored bubbles, a lone chair, mountains, birds, balloons, a close up of an insect. But it had the same effect. I couldn’t stop watching it. I still walked out of the theater thinking, what the hell did I just watch?

Andy Warhol created a 1964 film called Empire. The film is eight hours and five minutes long. It’s a single shot of the Empire State Building from when the sun sets until about 3am. All you see are the changing of lights inside the building, and for a short period of time, complete darkness. Every once in a while, you can see Andy Warhol’s face in the reflection of the glass window in the Time-Life Building as he changes the reel.

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A few years ago, as an art major, you would see me scratching my head when learning this material, trying to find the reason behind all of it. As an artist, I can relate to the idea that things just exist because they exist. But since it’s art, viewers want a reason. I remember in high school for the senior art show, I had to fill out notecards explaining my pieces, and what my purpose and focus was. That was the hardest part. It wasn’t the frustrating moments of not getting the shape done correctly, or trying to mix the right colors, or spending hours after school trying to finish a painting on time. It was the fact that I had to sit down and actually ask myself why I painted this or that.

There’s an episode of Gilmore Girls that gets me laughing every time. Rory is at the Yale Art Show covering for the newspaper and she grabs a cup of water from the bubbler. The show introduces a new character named Lucy who scolds Rory, claiming she’s trying to drink her friend Olivia’s art piece. They call it Olivia’s “self-portrait”. After Rory awkwardly tries to put the water cup down and apologizes, Lucy laughs and says, “I’m kidding! It’s just a water cooler.” I can appreciate a scene like this because even some of the most bizarre art pieces I’ve come across, such as the Tate Modern film or Andy Warhol’s Empire, we can certainly find art and reason behind anything.

While the first chapter in The Sound and the Fury got me a little loopy, confused, dazed, and bewildered, I knew that each piece of information given to me was important to Benjy and the story. Each moment Benjy experienced throughout the day gave him a memory. And he has a lot of them.

Next time I watch a random series of images in a film, or flowing texts in a window, I’ll have to remind myself that they exist for a reason.

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My Idea Of Being An Adult, Out of the Ordinary, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

Welcome to Charleston

I can’t be the only one who has that one month out of the year when a series of unfortunate events takes place. For me, that month is January. It happens nearly every year when it seems my walls come crashing down. My walls are by no means sturdy.

However, I just spent nearly a week in Charleston, South Carolina. Yes, it was fun and relaxing, until I came home to a flat tire in the parking garage of the airport, and then a letter from the unemployment office in California, which I won’t go too far into, that would make anyone’s heart stop. By the time I put my bags down, I was ready to fall into tears and fly back to South Carolina to avoid life in general.

Luckily, I will be going back to South Carolina very, very soon. Colleen and I decided to move there. Since my lease is up at the end of February, it’s very important that we make this happen as soon as possible.

Colleen and I sat in the living room of her friend Zach’s apartment while him and his roommates were off at work. We grabbed a bottle of wine, blank sheets of paper, and jotted down the pros and cons to living in Charleston, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire/Maine.

Let me fast forward to when we were leaving Charleston and Colleen was chatting up the Uber driver. He was confused as to why we could just pick up and move without a care in the world.

“What about your jobs?” he asked.

“Well, we don’t really like our jobs,” Colleen answered. The Uber driver laughed hysterically.

“Nobody likes their job!” he said.

It was at this moment I wanted to jump out of the car. I’ve come to really despise that excuse.

Yes, I realize not everyone likes their job, and that’s unfortunate. But there are people out there who love their job. I don’t see what’s wrong with wanting a job I enjoy. One of Zach’s roommates named Jack went on and on about how much he loves his job, and he gets up much earlier than he needs to because he can’t wait to go to work. That right there is the kind of life I want.

I can’t understand why people just accept the reality that they don’t and probably will never like their job. Then why are you doing it? There are bills to pay, and rent, and the overall need to live. I’ve been living this life since I graduated college almost four years ago. But in my downtime, I’ve been searching for other opportunities. It may seem like I’m flaky and I jump from job to job, but that’s because I’m scared of getting too comfortable in a field I don’t actually have an interest in. Even though I haven’t been successful in finding something I love, I at least have been trying. I haven’t given up. I don’t have a reason to. I’m not married, or even in a relationship, and I have no kids. I have no excuses.

Back to when Colleen and I were sipping wine and going over the ideas of living in three entirely different places, we had to be realistic.

Washington D.C. is too stuffy and expensive. It’s also a place Colleen is used to and she needs a change of pace and environment.

New Hampshire/Maine was ideal in the sense that my family is there, and New England is where our heart is. We love the seasons, the beaches, and the people. But the job market is terrible. All I thought about was how I would end up a waitress again, scrubbing the chocolate pie out of my apron every night and smelling of french fries. New England is the type of place I’d like to end up once I feel a bit more established. I just don’t feel comfortable enough there.

Even though Charleston is far away from our families, we have more connections to the job market than we do anywhere else. We have a better chance of succeeding. It seemed like the obvious choice. Even if I do have to serve food for a little while, at least it’s not in my hometown where I feel like I have just given up. I’ll feel more motivated to make it all work.

So, even though January tends to give me a headache, at least I have something exciting to look forward to.

I’m certainly tired of moving. I’ve lived in three different states in the last three years. I’m exhausted. But until I find my place in the world, I won’t stop. I don’t know if Charleston is my forever home, and I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll fail, or maybe I’ll thrive. But it’s worth a shot.

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Anecdote, Home, I Wasn't Worried, Thoughts, Travel, You're Fine

I’m Fine I’m Fine I’m Fine

The year 2016, for me, started on January 12th. It didn’t start when the ball dropped in New York City, or when everyone cheered with their champagne glasses. At that point in time, I believe I was in a bathroom of a New Year’s Eve party crying while my friend wiped the mascara off my face, telling me everything was going to be okay.

Many people have complained that 2016 was one of the worst years we have seen in a long time. It was definitely one of the more bizarre years considering the amount of celebrity deaths and America’s recent election. But I don’t review my year based on things like pop culture and politics. I think about the past year and wonder if I became a better version of myself, and if I actually have learned something from my accomplishments and failures.

On January 12th of last year, my car was packed, I said goodbye to my neighbors in California, and I set off back to New Hampshire by myself. As soon as I got out of Orange County and realized I was entering the dusty mountains of Arizona, where gas stations appear once every 45 miles, cell service is scarce, and it seemed as though I was the only person left on the planet driving through the desert, I started to worry. I kept repeating, “I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine.” A little tune similar to Sylvia Plath’s “I am I am I am.” I ignored my morbid thoughts and put on my brave face. For years, I was meant to believe that I couldn’t handle life in general. I was meant to believe that my sense of direction was terrible, mostly because I’m a girl. I was meant to believe that I couldn’t take care of myself, and I was made to feel stupid at times. I’d say it was natural of me to have those thoughts as I started driving thousands of miles alone to places unfamiliar to me. Every town I stopped in for gas, or grabbed food, or just simply needed to use the bathroom, I held tightly onto the mace in my pocket and kept a straight face.

A friend once asked me what my favorite part of the road trip was, and she expected something grand like the skyline of Chicago or New York City. But my favorite part was in the middle of nowhere in northern Texas seeping into Oklahoma. For what seemed like hundreds of miles are fields of giant white windmills. It doesn’t sound exciting but they are hypnotizing. It was in that moment, I felt safe. I felt in control, comfortable, and for the first time, relaxed. I wanted so badly to stop and sit on the hood of my car and watch them turn, but I decided I needed to keep moving.

2016 was one of my better years. I learned a lot about myself that I can either accept or change – I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m a naturally impulsive person. I don’t like receiving help unless specifically asked. I’m stubborn. I don’t always speak my mind. I overthink and read too much into almost everything. I rarely take my own advice. I’m independent, yet I rely too heavily on other people. I value my friendships more. I’m able to love unconditionally. I’m okay with rejection because that just means another door opens. I’m a little more optimistic.

I’m looking forward to 2017 not just because it’s a new year. Time is merely an illusion. I’m excited and open for whatever may come. There are still many places to see, people to meet, friends to grow closer with, along with many more accomplishments and failures. I’m a little bit happier with myself than I was a year ago. I will have fantastic days, decent days, and terrible days. But I keep reminding myself that it will be like this for the rest of my life. What really matters is how I look at it.

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Humor, Memories, Thoughts

Song Roulette

Paul wrote a post last week playing song roulette. He placed his music on shuffle and wrote out the first thoughts that came to mind when the song came on and then he asked his readers to play along with the game. This was his subtle way of trying to find more music to listen to but he wouldn’t say it specifically. I believe I started a post similar to this a couple of years ago but I don’t know what happened to it. Maybe my dog ate it. Anyways, I came in second (I think) as his honorary best friend for the day but who are we kidding? I already consider myself a best friend.

So here I am playing the game. I honestly have never watched any of these videos so I have no clue what you’re in for. Good luck.

1.) When Did Your Heart Go Missing? – Rooney

This catchy song makes me happy. I think I first heard it on Gossip Girl my junior or senior year of high school, which automatically brings me back to the college application process.

2.) Your Bones – Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men is one of my favorite bands. There is something very natural and beautiful about their voices that brings a chill to my spine. I got really into them last summer, so I instantly think of the humidity of Connecticut and my morning commute to work through Southport and Westport.

3.) Unforgetful You – Jars of Clay

I first heard this song a million years ago, circa 2003, when I was about 12 or 13. I re-downloaded the song back in the fall of 2015 around the time of my Chicago Marathon, and as a treat, I went to Big Bear Lake the following weekend to relax. I listened to this song on repeat during the drive up.

4.) Stubborn Love – The Lumineers

This song makes me melancholy. It reminds me of my hometown in New Hampshire. Small, quaint, and quiet. I started listening to this song almost three years ago when I had to visit my hometown again to attend a wake for a boy I went to high school with. His suicide really shocked me, and even though we weren’t very close, he was always very kind and sweet towards me whenever we were together.

5.) Dirty Water – The Standells

Boston, Boston, Boston. You walk anywhere in Boston, it’s guaranteed you will hear this song at least once.

6.) In The Waiting Line – Zero 7

Garden State.

7.) I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash

I remember going to my grandparents house and sitting on my Grampy’s lap as he taught me how to play poker with the rest of the adults. They always had some kind of old country music playing in the background like Hank Williams.

8.) Tree Hugger – Kimya Dawson & Antsy Pants

This is a very bizarre song but once you reach the end, you’re like, “Okay…I get the message.” It’s from the Juno soundtrack.

9.) Mercy – Duffy

I don’t actually think of anything in particular when I hear this song but it makes me want to put some heels on and strut down the street.

10.) Girls Chase Boys – Ingrid Michaelson

I listened to this song quite a bit during my drive cross country when I moved to California.

11.) Surrender – Ashlee Simpson

I recently downloaded her Autobiography album because I was once obsessed it with when I was in middle school. I listened to her whole album on repeat when me, my mom, stepdad, and stepbrother went on a family vacation one summer to visit Kentucky and West Virginia.

12.) Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Senior year of high school, I started reading the Twilight series. I would listen to this song while reading it.

13.) Coat of Many Colors – Dolly Parton

I seem to have quite a few oldies here so far. My parents used to live in Southern Texas. Anything by George Strait, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, etc., I think of Texas and their bluebonnets.

14.) That’s What You Get – Paramore

I’m a huge Paramore fan. I almost went to a concert once but then my cat broke his leg and I had to look after him. I was real bitter about it.

15.) Blank Space – Taylor Swift

Eh, Taylor Swift is one of those artists I really, really, really don’t like, yet I always find myself downloading her latest song. I have more of her songs than I care to admit. It’s like heroin – you try to stay away from it, but you keep coming back for more (I wouldn’t actually know…I’ve never done heroin. I don’t even know what it looks like). But, I was happy to hear that I’m not the only one who hears “Starbucks lovers” in her lyrics.

16.) American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I made myself laugh with this one. Who here remembers the Disney Channel movie My Date with the President’s Daughter?

17.) Into the Sea – Aidan Hawken

I heard this song in a movie I watched on Netflix, Before You Go. It’s one of those unknown movies that was never in theaters but it’s actually really amazing and I loved it. I suggest you put it on your To-Watch list.

18.) Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

This song brings me back to my middle school days.

19.) Pieces of You – Jewel

Any Jewel song, I think of my mom and my sisters. We know all of her songs backwards and forwards.

20.) Stay the Night – Zedd

Great song to jog to.

21.) 1234 – Feist

I used to listen to this song during my long study sessions in college at the library.

22.) 23 – Jimmy Eat World

This song makes me want to bid farewell. Every year at my old dance studio, at the year end recital, the girls graduating high school/college would do a little group performance together at the end of the show. Each senior had their own solo piece they performed in the recital, so the group senior performance always made friends and parents tear up. My dance teacher would recite a little blurb for each dancer as a way of saying goodbye. Now, they didn’t use this song as THE song, but rehearsal in the auditorium was almost a two week affair, and I was expected to be there for hours at a time nearly everyday to rehearse my routines with my classes. There were moments of down time, so I would sometimes sit in the audience and watch my friends perform their routines and cheer them on. At times, I’d have my headphones in and this song would come up. Sometimes the routines they were performing matched the beat to this song.

^ That was a long winded explanation.

23.) Does Anybody Hear Her – Casting Crowns

Weird…I did a duet dance to this song with my friend Bridget.

24.) California – Tupac

I, of course, blasted this song as soon as I entered Los Angeles. Duh.

25.) Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

I think it’s pretty clear I don’t listen to the radio often. I got this song from 500 Days of Summer. I get most of my songs from movies.

26.) So Yesterday – Hilary Duff

Talk about a throwback.

27.) Believe – Mumford and Sons

I went to their concert over the summer and this was the first time I heard this song. Brilliant, as always.

28.) No Church in the Wild – Kanye West & Jay-Z

The Great Gatsby. I was surprised that I wasn’t wigged out by the soundtrack to the movie given that most of the songs were modern and didn’t matched to that period of time. But somehow, it was fitting.

29.) The Chain – Fleetwood Mac

I used to listen to this song to stretch and warm up before ballet classes in college. I’ve always wanted to choreograph a dance to this.

30.) Ain’t It Fun – Paramore

To answer Hayley Williams, no. It’s not fun.

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Internet Things, Social Media, Thoughts

To My Internet Friends

Here’s a scary story for you:

I was nine-years-old when I entered my first chat room. Don’t ask me how or why I ended up in a chat room at the age of nine because I couldn’t tell you. The internet is a strange place. I got a random message from someone named Ashley asking how I was doing. She seemed nice. She just happened to be nine-years-old too. And just happened to live in blah, blah, blah, (same town) New Hampshire.

What are the odds? I thought.

My mother found me talking to “Ashley” and naturally freaked out and made me log off. She explained that “Ashley” was most likely not nine-years-old, and “Ashley” could have been a man. It clicked for me, and since then, the Internet has scared me.

Of course, times have changed drastically since then. The Internet seems to be our main source of communication. When I first started my blog, I didn’t know what to expect, but one of the first pieces of advice I read from other, more established bloggers was this:

Don’t be afraid to talk to bloggers.

They highly suggested commenting on other blog sites to communicate and engage with them. In the world of blogging, it’s okay to talk to strangers despite what our parents taught us when we were little. In fact, it’s expected of you. I thought about it and realized that it made total sense. How else are you supposed to get traffic on your blog if no one knows you exist?

Once I started communicating with other bloggers, I began forming close friendships with each of them. For some bloggers, we started emailing each other. And for only a couple, we began texting. I started thinking about how I don’t find any of this weird like I used to.

There’s always a chance there is a serial killer loose on WordPress, so there’s no 100% guarantee that you are safe. We immerse ourselves into the lives of other people we find funny and thoughtful that they no longer feel like strangers. I consider some of these bloggers as my best and closest friends.

Now, to someone who doesn’t blog, they may find this concept a bit strange, and a little sad. Let me dispute those feelings. As an introverted person, I can be pretty shy when meeting new people. I can be reserved, quiet, and maybe seem a little boring. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I began feeling a bit more comfortable in my own skin due to the support of my blogging community. Meeting new people intimidated me. I find myself cracking more jokes and being my naturally sarcastic self when in the presence of someone new, and when people laugh or freak out because I just referenced Willy Wonka, it feels like a breath of fresh air. The awkward hump in my shoulder has disappeared.

Whenever I get a message or a text from one of my Internet friends, my day is instantly brighter. These are the type of friends every person should strive for. One blogger in particular has helped me out quite a bit whether he realizes it or not. When I lived in California, I didn’t have many friends, I missed my family, I was unhappy most of the time, and I couldn’t sleep due to stress. This blogger entertained me both on and off WordPress. I’m sure he has no clue how much he helped me since our conversations were mostly about silly topics, but he was and still is a wonderful distraction to the chaos and confusion in my life. For once, it was nice talking to someone about things other than money or jobs. It was nice discussing our favorite TV shows and what college was like for us. It was nice feeling like a kid again. Luckily, I have found other bloggers who give me that same boost of energy. In a way, this is why I blog – I never want to lose sight of these people.

It’s complicated explaining these friendships to outsiders mostly because I’ve never met these friends of mine, except for one. As bloggers, we try our best to show our most charming selves whether it’s self-deprecation, our talents, our accomplishments, or our humor. I understand that many of my friends could be entirely different in person, which is hard for me to grasp. For all I know, these people could have qualities that are so hateful or rude or narcissistic, but you’ll never know until you meet them. Or they may not even like me in person, which is just as terrifying to think about. I talk to a few of these bloggers nearly every day, sometimes all day long. It’s hard for me to not bring them up in conversation with other people. They’re in my life and that can’t be ignored.

Does it bother me that I’ve never met these people? Absolutely. I hate not being familiar with their facial expressions, or what truly makes them laugh, or even what their laugh sounds like. I don’t get the full package but merely a piece of them in small increments. When you confide in someone, not only are you listening to them, but you’re watching them speak. I believe you don’t truly know what a person is thinking until you observe them in conversation. We all have a fixed idea of what each of us are like in real life, so I understand the appeal of staying behind the computer screen because that image could be tarnished forever if met face to face. But I’m still, and will forever be curious to no end.

My point in this post is this: I may never meet some of you. Ever. One day, one of us will stop blogging and will never hear from each other again. It’s a scary thought, but it’s a fact. So to my blogging and Internet friends, just know, I’m grateful for your existence. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. I appreciate and cherish your friendship, and hope that it will continue for many years to come.

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