Archive for October, 2008

more of my late evening thoughts…

October 25, 2008

I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about our upcoming vacation to Harbour Island in the Bahamas. We’ll be staying at a different house, but it looks just as amazing as our last rental:

Harbour Island is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, if not THE most beautiful. The sand is a pale pink, the water a stunning turquoise…the island itself is utterly charming. Roosters are a permanent fixture, strolling around the entire island like neighborhood cats. The local seafood specialty is conch, and you can head down to the dock every night to watch the daily catch being brought in. We had such a wonderful time last year, and I can’t wait to return!

On an unrelated note, my attachment to the Twilight saga and all it entails is becoming dangerously obsessive. I found myself worrying about Robert Pattinson (the heretofore relatively unknown British actor playing Edward Cullen) and the fact that I literally cannot think of another movie role, in HISTORY, that comes with such a great amount of pressure. I’m not quite sure he can handle this fame! I also couldn’t help but return to Twilight while I was indulging in the AMC Fear Fest in my previous post-there has been a promo on every commercial break for the Jodie Foster movie “Panic Room”, which stars Kristen Stewart, Bella Swan in Twilight. Is it not terrible that my mind instantly reverted to thoughts like “Hey, that’s Bella! A young Bella, but it’s her!” This is getting out of hand.

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Halloween

October 25, 2008

Yes, that time of year has finally arrived. My absolute FAVORITE holiday season, Halloween. Why, might you ask, is Halloween my favorite holiday season? It’s not exactly reputed to be a holiday of positive tidings, nor is it religious. It’s not a holiday that allows businesses or schools to close. Am I one of those particularly creative people that prides herself on the costumes she has devised throughout the years? Most definitely not-I become a huge ball of anxiety at the mere mention of the word “costume.” Spontaneity and creativity aren’t my strong suits, and when I last was forced to actually dress up for Halloween I shelled out an exorbitant sum to buy a completely mundane princess costume, and even that was only to please my kindergartners (not a difficult task). I don’t even like candy corn-in fact, I loathe it.

Why, then, do I love the Halloween season? To sum it up: AMC’s Fear Fest. Well, actually, the name changes from year to year. Last year, it was AMC’s Monster Fest. The year before, it might have been Scream Fest, or something stereotypically similar. Needless to say, each year at this time, for the entire week before Halloween, the AMC channel plays nonstop scary movies, all day and night. (A sidenote: Now that they’ve hit the big time with “Mad Men”, I’m sure Sunday night will be devoid of horror films) I’ve always been a sucker for scary movies, though I do NOT like the turn they’ve taken in the past few years with movies like “Saw” and “Hostel”-I avoid that type of extreme, gratuitous film. I prefer the old school classics, comfortably predictable films with one maniacal killer and a single frightened heroine/hero. The Halloween series are my favorites, and AMC seems to feel the same-those movies are played over and over, more than any others.

I know I’m not alone in enjoying scary, suspenseful films-it’s always nice to snuggle up next so someone and feel the exhilarating rush of fear brought upon by a Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. I think the reason I like the annual Fear Fest is because I’m rather nostalgic-I like being reminded that certain times of year are here yet again, and that they always stay the same. I enjoy knowing that I can expect the entire 8 or so Halloween movies to run during this week, and that I might be able to catch a showing of a new addition to the schedule, like “Gothika” or “Identity”-both modern frightening films without the excessive nature of the Saw franchise.

I will defend my strange attachment to scary movies by giving an example of a movie that definitely gave me nightmares:

Yes, I found this Julia Roberts film terrifying. There is definitely a scarier edge to movies that have real-life scenarios, and this tale of an abused wife stalked by a psychopathic ex-husband is chilling. I still think of it whenever I hear the strains of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, though its presence in “The Shining” is certainly more notable. (Another sidenote: “Sleeping with the Enemy” has some great Julia Roberts moments-I love the scenes of her in the college theater department trying on costumes and dancing with the sweet boyfriend, and though I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, this movie is what introduced me to Van Morrison’s “Brown-eyed Girl”)

By the way, though I saw the recent “Halloween” Rob Zombie remake, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. The phrase “too far” comes to mind. Interestingly enough, though I found the movie to be extra gory and depraved, I thought it was interesting that there was a clear and obvious connection between the killer that Michael Myers turns out to be and his upbringing, a sad truth that I completely believe in. Not to go off on a tangent, it’s enough writing for now-the sixth Halloween movie is just about to begin!

It’s coming along…

October 22, 2008

I’ll take a quick break from procrastinating about my paper to share what I’ve been working on the past few days…

Painting, painting, painting. Fortunately, I’ve had the help of my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, who is also my dearest California friend, and she has been great. We discovered a great Italian deli in my new neighborhood, where they have a delicious Caeser salad-they toss it with penne pasta and large toasted croutons of garlic bread! Why has Rachael Ray not thought of this before? We’ve worked diligently on painting all of the cabinet doors and drawers from the kitchen (saying “doors and drawers” in the same sentence is really quite a challenge, as I’ve discovered from the MANY times I’ve uttered the words over these past few days) and we also sampled two color options for the small third bedroom. It’s going to be a tossup between “gobi desert” and “sagey”-for the less imaginative, that’s light brown and light green.

The kitchen is almost complete-the second and possibly third coats of paint are what remain, and we should hopefully begin our official move over the weekend. I can’t believe that it’s only a matter of a mere few days between me and officially cooking in my new kitchen. In what little down time I have, I really should be planning my first home-cooked meal. Then I’ll have a bit more to blog about!

As far as the rest of what has been keeping me busy, I have been delving into Ancient and Classical Greece for my graduate class,

relishing decadent pieces of my favorite treat from Trader Joe’s,

listening, with great pleasure, to this new Keane album,

guiltily devouring, for the second time, the second novel in the Twilight saga,

and enjoying the steamy waters of the hot tub.

It’s a hard life.

Blogging from my new house…

October 13, 2008

Yes, I’m cheating, “borrowing” a wireless connection that miraculously has no password to blog from my house. We have been working hard all day, and I am taking the briefest of breaks before I return to the neverending list of tasks that need doing. Currently, I am sanding the cabinets in the kitchen to prepare them for painting. We’ve decided upon “vermont cream” as our color of choice. I would love to know who has the job of naming the paint colors. You would not believe how many shades of cream we had to sift through before we lit upon “vermont cream.” I have to admit, I’m still a little disappointed that “pot of cream” didn’t make the final cut. It sounded so charming and cute.

I arrived at the house at the crack of dawn this morning, as we had an “all-day” appointment with the gas company, which basically means that someone had to be at the house to anticipate the gas man’s arrival from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. There is no shortage of work to be done, but being that I was alone, I determined that I had to amuse myself whilst busily scrubbing, sanding, and peeling like a worker bee.

I tuned in to a few old Bones episodes while I gave the cabinets a thorough cleaning. I particularly loved this Halloween episode,

…but alas, I wasn’t able to find it on http://www.hulu.com, and had to resort to a few other episodes.

I also whiled away the time listening to this lovely audiobook:

Still, I cannot get enough of Edward and Bella. I’m an addict. The Twilight saga is exactly “my kind of heroin.” (Twilighters will understand what I mean)

I’m hoping to convince my wonderful husband, who arrived a bit later in the morning and has also been working ceaselessly, if we might stop for dinner at Elephant Bar, a California (or Northwest, West) chain restaurant that I have found to be very appealing. Macadamia nut-crusted fish sounds absolutely heavenly to me at this moment, and I think it would be nice to eat at an establishment in our new neighborhood.

On that note, I should return to my kitchen. There is more work to be done! I’ll finish my post with one of my favorite Booth/Brennan videos-it includes the moment that I decided I loved this show, when Brennan kicks her legs up! How anyone could not LOVE the two of them after that scene, I don’t know. Enjoy!

Solitude

October 9, 2008


I don’t usually find poetry as enthralling as a good novel, though I have always wished that I taken a class or two when I had the chance. I do love Edna St. Vincent Millay (as evidenced by an earlier post), and I’ve also been captivated by Tennyson and John Donne. One poem that I find most unforgettable, however, came from an artist considerably less distinguished and familiar: Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

I don’t know a great deal about Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and I don’t want to dwell too much on the little information that I garnered from Wikipedia (certainly not a reputable literary source!), but what is certain is that “Solitude”, the poem that inspired this post, is her most well-known poem. Another gem that I discovered courtesy of my mom, the first time I encountered the poem I was in high school. While my memory of that day is fuzzy, I think I had experienced one of those typical melodramatic days so common for a young high school girl, and I had been complaining to my mother about it. She immediately quoted the first lines of “Solitude” and told me that I should find and read the whole poem. Now, I can’t count the times I’ve read the poem. Here it is:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

I’ve always thought that this poem was full of wisdom, practical advice, even, for how to achieve the most happiness out of your life and relationships. At the time of my first reading, I was probably pining away after a silly high school boy. Little did I know that the most successful way to sustain a relationship was to exude happiness and contentment with myself. “Rejoice, and men will seek you; grieve, and they turn and go…” I’m not saying those lines are SPECIFICALLY referring to the nature of a man, because it’s really true of everyone. I certainly don’t want to belittle or minimize the sadness or loneliness that we often feel, but the inherent truth, so evident, particularly in the second stanza of this poem, is we really must struggle through our hardest times alone, at least in spirit. Even the closest of friends or best of mothers or sweetest of spouses can only go so far to carry our burdens. Ultimately, we have to overcome the inevitable difficulties of life ourselves, before we can return to our natural, happy states. I am certainly not suggesting this is an easy task, rather, that what the poem suggests is a good way to look at life. Know that there will be difficult times, but when you accept them and seek out happiness and fulfillment again, they’ll return all the more quickly.

more Edward and Bella

October 8, 2008

I couldn’t resist throwing this lovely image onto my blog. What can I say? I am bursting with anticipation for this movie! Reading all of the books in the Twilight series was such a wonderful experience, and it’s so exciting to see hints of what seems like a very well-cast, well-executed film. November 21 cannot arrive quickly enough.

Ode to Brioche Doughnuts

October 6, 2008

Yes, this is my second homage to a food item. I have no shame. I do not apologize for my love for the brioche doughnut from Satura Cakes, a delightful bakery on University Avenue in Palo Alto. They are absolutely delicious, and I am something of a doughnut aficionado, so I have very high standards. Apparently, these particular doughnuts are made with soy milk and fried in extra virgin olive oil, so they aren’t quite the same level of unhealthy as the average doughnut. You would never know by tasting a heavenly bite, however. They are covered in a light layer of white sugar, and are just the right size. I don’t even miss the traditional doughnut hole. It’s difficult for me to avoid inventing a reason why I need to stop on University Avenue every day.

Gilead

October 3, 2008

Gilead is a novel that I read more than two years ago, and though I don’t remember all of its details, I can remember how profoundly touched I was as I slowly made my way through the last pages. Though it falls squarely in the category of serious, Pulitzer-Prize winning novels that I often proudly profess having read, it is more than just a highly acclaimed success. To even refer to it in that way gives me a bad, blasphemous feeling. Not a whole lot “happens” throughout the story-no big action sequences or dramatic events. It is essentially a letter, written by a reverend to his young son, an attempt to share a family history marked by work in the evangelical churches of rural Kansas as well as the contentious yet loving relationships between fathers and sons. The experience of reading the book is truly indescribable. It’s as though you don’t realize that the words, simple yet beautiful and nuanced, are quietly seeping into your soul, making a deep impression. I found my eyes welling with tears as I finished, and at that moment I didn’t quite know why. I suppose it’s because it’s much more than a letter to a son, but almost more like a prayer of gratefulness for a life that has been difficult, but tremendously rewarding, as any life should be. The following excerpt marks the moment that my tears began, as I sat in a sunny seat on a New Jersey Transit train bound for the city (I always love it when I’m able to remember where I was at the moment of finishing a great book).

I can tell you this, that if I’d married some rosy dame and she had given me ten children and they had each given me ten grandchildren, I’d leave them all, on Christmas Eve, on the coldest night of the world, and walk a thousand miles just for the sight of your face, your mother’s face. And if I never found you, my comfort would be in that hope, my lonely and singular hope, which could not exist in the whole of Creation except in my heart and in the heart of the Lord. That is just a way of saying I could never thank God sufficiently for the splendor He has hidden from the world-your mother excepted, of course-and revealed to me in your sweetly ordinary face.

My eyes fill once more as I read the sweet words again…

California dreamin’

October 3, 2008

Orange, lemon, and avocado, from my own backyard!

It deserves its own special picture.

I haven’t posted anything significant in the past few days, because…

October 3, 2008

We bought this!

It’s our new house!

In only a few weeks, my wonderful husband and I will officially be California residents! Finding this gem of a house happened very quickly, but a LOT goes into the whole buying process, as you can imagine. It’s been a very busy time, with lots of papers to sign, money to be moved, and phone calls to realtors/mortgage advisers to be made. We consider ourselves to be very lucky, and we’re so excited!

My new kitchen:

Isn’t that window so perfect and cute? I love the green and white tile as well. We plan on painting the cabinets, as that particular shade of brown isn’t all that appealing to me.

Possibly the best thing about the house:

An avocado tree, LADEN with avocados! Can you imagine? How lucky can I be?! To think of all the times I begrudgingly placed only one avocado in my grocery cart because of the exorbitant cost of buying two or three. Now I’ll be able to pluck them from my own tree at my will! There are so many things I’ve been looking forward to about having my own home, but the one thing that I’ve been anticipating the most is cooking in my own kitchen. I am looking forward to writing about what I make!