Friday, August 1, 2014


Fall is absolutely my favorite season. Winter is cold (horrible) but at least has the upside of cocoa and my birthday. Spring is warm and lovely and green.

But there's something about the way summer smells that is magical. Like when your skin smells of sunscreen and outside and maybe a tiny bit of sweat so it feels like you absorbed the sunshine and get to emit back to the world a little bit. Like when the bathroom smells of chlorine or salt as bathing suits and towels hang to dry, summoning the refreshing feel of water on your skin on a hot day. Like when you can tell someone is grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, taking advantage of hours of daylight in the long evenings.

Summer comes with the sort of smells that just make you feel alive and hungry, ready to get outside and gobble up all the delicious daylight you can before the Earth tilts away from the sun. As though days that seem to last forever mean the good times will, too, and any troubles will pass like a Carolina thunderstorm, here one minute but gone to reveal clear skies the next.

Because summer is the time when youth runs free, no school or job to worry about, capturing those smells to save up for winters and the years when free time is harder to come by. And then, in a break from the everyday humdrum work week, you catch a whiff of sunscreen and chlorine and feel unburdened for a moment, and life is good again.

For real, though, I'm ready for fall. Two months of summer is enough for me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is it worth wearing real clothes?

Pop quiz:

Reasons you should wear a stretchy headband:
a) It's a fashionable accessory for your outfit
b) To disguise that your hair hasn't been washed for 3 days
c) You just came from working out, where you needed to keep hair out of your face
d) You want to pretend that you just came from working out so people won't judge your lack of real, adult clothes
e) Just because you wanted to, who cares what anyone else thinks?
My brain tells me that correct answers include a, c, and e.

Follow-up bonus question: Which of those reasons were my basis for wearing a stretchy headband to the grocery store today? (Hint: None of the reasons that should be correct.)

(I mean I guess I shouldn't really care whether people think I've been working out or just haven't showered in 3 days and couldn't be bothered to wear anything more than workout clothes, but I do like to try and pretend to myself that I'm a real, functioning adult human. And part of that consists of convincing myself that other people will believe I'm a responsible adult, who showers and wears real clothes most of the time and gym clothes only when I'm working out, not all the time like socially-acceptable pajamas.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is weirdness genetic?

Or: My parents are rather strange and twisted

When I was younger, my parents used to sing to my sister and I. Mostly for things like bed time: "Bed time, for Katherine, and Emily!"

Sometimes for bath time: "Bath time, for Katherine, and Emily!"

Occasionally for other things, and sometimes they'd add another verse.

They did on rare occasions sing the original words to the song, but it was only very recently, when I actually watched "The Producers," that I made the connection and thought about exactly how strange it would sound to other people that my parents sang to us to the tune of "Springtime for Hitler."

(Alright, I spent way more time than I should have trying to figure out how to embed this video and start it at a particular time - no thanks to either Youtube or Blogger, because I'm doing everything they say should work and it doesn't seem to... Anyway, just start the video at 52 sec. to get the tune, if you don't already know it!)

(I'll give you a minute to imagine bed times of my youth.) (Also I chose this version because John Barrowman.)

My mom revealed that she was shocked the first time my dad did this. (This is me, making a completely unsurprised face that this was begun by my father.) Of course, that didn't stop her from joining in.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Only a month late!

Dear Self,

That was real great when you made those resolutions... Except you didn't really keep them!

Alright, you got an apartment. And you read 29 books, which is pretty decent even if it's not 35.

Let's admit that the crafting just didn't happen and move on. (There was plenty of baking, though, so good job on that and let's keep that up!)

And hey, you went to both D.C. and Boston, so major props on the travel front. (Also Harry Potter Camp, which I can't believe you didn't write about yet! Falling down on the blogging front, there.)

I was going to say that resolutions clearly don't work for us, but in hindsight 2013 was a pretty amazing year. Didn't complete the stuff we originally intended, but some really awesome things happened. So I think it's justified to try and make some new goals for 2014:
  • Travel: get back to Camp 9 3/4; going to DC is a given; and it would be nice to visit family in Buffalo this summer.
  • Read: let's be a little less ambitious and set a goal of 30 books this year. Also, get a new library card, since apparently that old one we haven't used in about 7 years is no longer good.
  • Blog: I really don't think one post a month is asking too much!
  • Learn: take some classes! Could be online, or through the city's Parks Department, or even a community college course.

Okay, that's quite a bit. We don't want to feel overwhelmed by our own ambitions! I am cautiously optimistic about this list, though, so we'll see how it went when 2015 rolls around.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books of 2013

I've been keeping track of the books I finish in a given year for a couple years now. Here are the books I read in 2013:

  1. Undead and Unemployed by MaryJanice Davidson
  2. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (translated by Ralph Manheim)
  3. M or F? by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbetts
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. In the Stone Circle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  6. Five Little Peppers Midway by Margaret Sidney
  7. Selected Poems by Robert Browning, ed. William C. DeVane
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  9. Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
  10. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  11. The Book of Animal Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson
  12. Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons by Bill Waterson
  13. North to Thule by John & Harriet Frye
  14. Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
  15. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  16. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  17. Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
  18. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
  19. Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
  20. To Be or Not to Be: A Choosable Path Adventure by Ryan North and William Shakespeare
  21. Poor Yorick by Ryan North
  22. Changes by Danielle Steel
  23. An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor
  24. Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  25. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
  26. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  27. Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
  28. Swift Rivers by Cornelia Meigs
  29. The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel

Honestly, I had hoped to read a few more… (I did get partway through Middlemarch by George Eliot, but about 200 or 300 pages in, I just wasn't invested enough in the characters to continue. I looked up the plot summary because I was interested in how things worked out, but I just couldn't stomach wading through another 400 pages to get to those resolutions!) I've been hoping for a while that I might manage to get to 50 books in one year, but I seem to be stuck right around 29 or 30. I think if I'm not getting distracted by work or other obligations, I'm distracted by the internet. It's possible it would help to only read one book at a time, instead of constantly being in the middle of 3 or 4 books at once, ha.

General reviews:

Favorites were, I think (excluding Harry Potter because that's not even fair), The Secret Life of Bees, and the Calvin & Hobbes collection. The Lovely Bones was really good, although incredibly creepy and unsettling. Oh, and of course the choose-your-own-Hamlet was amazing. (Not that I'm biased because I helped fund its publication or anything…)

I did not like the Danielle Steel novel at all, which I was a little surprised by. Not that I'm huge into romance novels, but I like a trashy novel every once in a while, and I assumed I couldn't really go wrong with something by someone so successful. Big mistake. I might as well have picked up Twilight. The characters started out relatable enough, but as the plot progressed it just lost me. And then I got to the scene where the father character slapped his oldest son across the face. And I was just done. I don't care that the book was written in the 80's or whatever, that's not really acceptable to me. And to have the female protagonist not say a word about it… Ugh. Just… over it. (There might also be a scene where the same guy hits the female protagonist? Again, not okay. It just made me want to throw the book across the room.) This was definitely a book I finished by dint of sheer stubbornness. I was also kind of disappointed with the conclusion of Black and Blue, but I guess things can't always end happily if you're trying to write "realistic" novels.