8. Read 200 books…Part 7


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Spring saw me fighting  to stay afloat. My book count went astray, but that’s ok. I was living, healing and figuring out what the next step is.

On August 17th I turn 25 and over the next couple of months I will be doing everything I can to finish this list. Some goals will be missed; its inevitable at this point. Part the list is universe meeting me half way. As long as I do my half, I will be fulfilled in ‘finishing’ this list and taking up the next stage of life, and with that the next challenges.

Simply for now here is my Spring reading.

115. Gonzo: A Graphic Novel of Hunter S. Thompson by Will Bingley & Anthony Hope-Smith

116. 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

117. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

118. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedarias

119. The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

120. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

121. Sailor Twain: or the Mermaid on the Hudson by Mark Siegel

122. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

123.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

124. The Books of Faerie by Bronwyn Carlton, John Reiber and Hermann Mejia

125. Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney

126. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

127. Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

128. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan

129. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

130. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

131. Hunger by Knut Hamsun

132. Love and Friendship by Jane Austen

133. Stuart Little by E.B. White

134. Fun House by Alison Bechdel

135. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

136. Are you My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

137. Slouching Towards Nirvana By Charles Bukowski

138. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

139. A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates

140. On the Road by John Kerouac

141. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Cheers to the next two months!


20. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


In a lot of ways you forget the awe and wonder that can happen in a day. After a while of living it becomes a rinse and repeat motion.

With two years of working a full-time job and only take little breaks here and there, I never considered that I had too forgotten.  This was my vacation to remember.

***

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Coat the world in magic to make it better. Wish everyday could be this way, coated in joy and continuous amazing potential. Going to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was just that.

You step through the Hogsmeade archway and into this all-wizarding village and you push to the Hogwarts train. It gives the feeling that you have really arrived, and there is no turning back now. I pushed through the awe and unto the excitement of this great adventure.

I rushed forth to the first ride Champions Challenge, where we rode a hair wrenching loop-to-loop roller-coaster.

“I’m a champion, I’m a champion,” I chanted waiting on-line for the coaster. I’m horrible with loop-to-loop roller coasters. I aimed for fearless. I was living in the wonder, and fear wasn’t getting in my way.

Maybe I should have listened to the fear, and ultimately the reason.

The swirling, spinning overture may have allowed me to defy death before planting me back on my feet, but these feet were shaky sticks that couldn’t even hold up a marshmallow. I chugged water. I held the wall as I walked.

This wasn’t holding me back from the rest of the day. I was determined, even on shaky stick legs.

Breathing slowly I used the opportunity to pop into cramped Dune and Burke to gaze upon the fantastical souvenirs that coats ever aspect of life in the magical world of Harry Potter. From cloaks to copies of the Quibbler with glasses and all. They even had a growling The Monster Book of Monsters locked in a cage.

Walking into streets from the crowded shop I could see magic soaked into every nook. It made me feel like it wasn’t all in my head.

I walked into Olivander’s and watched a wand selection. I ventured on to Hogwarts where we waited on-line for the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a combination simulation and roller coaster ride. As we waited we were walked through Dumbledore’s office, gazing upon the little trinkets in the glass cabinets and on his desk, and then on to the portrait hall to watch them welcome up and even scowl at our Muggle presence.

Approaching the ride were greeted by the dynamic trio; Harry, Ron and Hermione explained how they were going to sneak us into Howgarts to go on our own sort of adventure. They weren’t joking, I swirled, swooned and tried to envision a breeze. It didn’t work.

As we whirled our final turn and settled into our final resting spot, I hurled. It projected half way across the holding space, and even a little down my shirt. There were no words. Shocked and stuttering, I attempted to apologize at the wizard at the section. He wasn’t fazed at all.

Probably just another part of his day. For the rest of mine, it meant cleaning up, and attempting to calm down. I then took to the restaurant to get some water and greasy fish in my stomach to help it settle. After a glass of butterbeer I felt better, but in need of a safe place to land.

Returning to hotel, I laid my eyes on the magnificent place we would be staying for the night. Plum beds overflowing with soft fluffy covers. everything felt divine. Stepping into the bathroom, I was a gasp. It was twice the size of the bathroom I had at home, and spoke of luxury. It still surprises me that a phone was located on the wall next to the toilet.

Flopping on the bed, I shut my eyes for an afternoon break among the fluffy pillow masses.

Within a hour it was time to rise and explore the rest of the park, milking our tickets for every aspect of the two parks at Universal that is conceivable. After a day in the parks the night was also filled with adventure, going to the boardwalk filled with evening events. Catching a drink with my aunt and uncle was divine after the day of constant moving.

Throughout the trip, it was constant diving in head first. Going for the next adventure. Never holding back and seeing what magic can come from it all.

***

Sometimes you get so isolated dreaming up these fantasies to escape while your working through everyday life that you forget that there is a real world ready to explore. In this case it was a place I had imagined for so long that it stuns you when it becomes so real.

Thanks to all the people that helped make this trip not only possible but magical: Annie, Linda & Ed Brunner, Patricia Thompson, Eileen Thompson, Karen Speight, and all my cousins.


8. Read 200 Books…part 6


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Here are the books of winter. In the coldest of months they were cuddled, read, and loved.
Hopefully the spring books won’t be burdened by winter’s cold clutch, but so far there has been nothing to provide proof for that. New York is a frozen tundra and on the first day of Spring we had snow. Let’s hope it turn out much better, much sooner.

83. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

84. Scary Mary by S.A. Hunter

85. The Pearl by John Steinbeck

86. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

87. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley

88. Everyday by David Levithan

89. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

90. Beauty’s Release by Anne Rice

91. The Wasteland and other Poems by T.S. Elliot

92. Men Without Women by Earnest Hemingway

93. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

94. Anne Frank: The Authorized Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon

95. Animal Farm by George Orwell

96. Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot

97. I was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

98. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

99. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot

100. The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath

102. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

103. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

104. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

105. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

107. Plath Poems selected by Diane Wood Middlebrook

108.Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

109. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

110. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

111. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

112. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

113. Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

114. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells


17. Get a Tattoo


The Countdown

2 days 10:09 am I woke up today and double checked my calendar. Where had the weeks gone, seriously did time just want to throw me down a rabbit hole and laugh in the evil muhahaha, the same one the universe gives me every morning right before the alarm goes off.

I was at my desk at work wishing I could curl into a ball. To say that this was a nerve racking, hand shaking, excitement pumping experience was the just of the first slice of cake. Is it worth it? The wad of cash that I handed over to declare my body marked and changed on the outside to match the inside. As of right now I don’t know but I will keep you posted, because really all I have to think of the isolation as blood gushes forth.

The morning of was full of distractions; go to the bank, post office, get milk and gas, and compartmentalize the nerves. I baked cupcakes with my dearest of friend spent some time whittling the hours away till I’m sitting on a vintage Victorian couch. I sit there wasting away a water bottle before the process even began.

I text my cousin for last minute advice, almost like he would give me a reason not to do this. My friend put her hands on mine and distracted me with looking at the portfolio of several of the artist. My heart grew and the more I looked the more the anticipation turned to excitement. This is it.

“Deep breathes and don’t flinch,” my cousin responded, “everything with be fine.”

I talked to my awesome tattoo artist Shish, before we went in, about the design. I stayed definitive on what I wanted. The message was clear, this is my body. Mark the outside to match the inside. This is my truth, not some made up happiness that others want for me.

Shish led the way to a table where I sat and took in preparations: needles, ink colors, gloves. The machine hummed excitedly as my hand slipped into my friends.A work in process The first stroke had the needle flitting across my skin, and my hand was light within her’s. Its vibration is no more than some household gadgets, and I laughed at the distant nervous me.

I morphed with fearless giggling, even as the strokes deepened and the pain thudded inside my walls I smiled. The thudding rhythm relaxed as my soul broke free. I took deep breathes, with the reminding of my dear friend, as I sat back for the first time. One of the other tattoo artist peered in on Shish’s work.

Black outline all done!

Black outline all done!

He asked grinning, “How are you?”

“It’s feeling good,” I said.

“It looks freaking amazing,” he said, “your doing good for your first.”

As he spoke Shish shaded the colors and took white to add some contrast. The last five minutes gone.

All complete (day 1)

All complete (day 1)

Leaving, I handed Shish my wad of cash.

In return gave us both the biggest welcome to the tattoo club/ congrats hug.

My tattoo done; my spirit elated. I’m done.


16. Have a silent movie marathon


Before the magic of sound, color, green screen, CGI, 3-D and higher frame per minute speed there was the simple magic of silent movies. It was a time when we relied on dramatic music, exaggerated gestures, title cards and a little of our own imagination to bring the story together.

The earliest films didn’t even have stories but where simple observations of everyday activities. In fact the first movie shown commercially was The Kiss (1986) an Edison Film which caused quite some controversy in its day, as it was the first on screen kiss during a very conservative time. Today I watched it without  a thought to its PDA nature.

On so many level we have advanced to the point that sometimes it feels like we forgot all the challenges of the past that led us to a more developed future; not just in technology but also society.

In order to appreciate the history and the accomplishments of film, I felt it was important to watch cinemas grandfathers forge the way all over again. To sit in my living room watching these classics in my pants ( what a scandal for a women) may not be how they intended it, but I will soak in these amazing artifacts that so clearly demonstrate our history. Here is the selection of silent movies that I watched over this weekend:

The Kiss (1897) Edison Films

A Trip to the Moon [Le Voyage Dane La Lune] (1902) Méliès films

The Great Train Robbery (1903) Edwin S. Porter

San Francisco Earthquake (1906) Edison Films

Charlie Chaplin Collection (1914)

Sherlock Jr. (1924)

The Phantom of the Opera (1924)

Nosferatu (1929)


Reflection on 2012 aka book/cookie time


At the beginning of 2012 I made resolutions (original post) like the majority of people throughout the world. And something we all have in common is that there are some we achieve and others we just try to forget we wanted to accomplish in the first place. In full disclosure there are probably a few like that on my list, as I eat another cookie. Please no judgments though as I present to you the accomplishments of 2012!!! (drum roll if you love climactic sound effects, simply shrug and read on if you don’t)

1. Finish making 25 blankets for charity- Completed 17 blankets

2. Starting grad classes in Fall- Reapplied for Fall 2013 and waiting to hear back. Keep your fingers crossed you beautiful people!!

3. Loosing 50 pounds ( can we just not talk about this one)

4. Buying a full sized bed ( number 2 on the 22 before 25 list)

5. Working on reading 200 books (20 accomplished)- 85 accomplished to date. I’m huddling down this winter with some classics, it’s about to get interesting.

6. Complete a collection of poetry ( 3 poems away from goal)

and 7. Attend a wine tasting (number 19 on the 22 before 25 list).

Other items checked off the 22 before 25 list include:

10. Take a Road Trip-Accomplished August 8 traveling to Myrtle Beach, SC

11. Get a Gym Membership- More or less found a gym better for my work schedule

18. Go to a Fenway Game Accomplished Father’s Day 2012 at the Walk in Park event

For all of the accomplishments of 2012 I would definitely check it into the success category. Did it have its up and downs? Hell yes; especially where budgeting is needed to accomplish such goals. Overall though it’s time to pat myself on the back and dig into the rest of my list.


8. Read 200 Books…part 5


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This is an amazing assortment of books that I have been reading the last three months. As the months grow colder I will be huddled up with an increasing assortment of spines.I’m aiming to spend the winter reading some classic tales; the books that you always mean to read but life always seems to get in the way or the ones in high school that the other English class got to read.

Before the new year I aim to hit 100 books. From there it will somewhat of a race to hit 200 books before my 25th birthday in August. Though with the good hussle of last couple of months as an example I’m thinking anything is possible.

Fall 2012

57.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

58. Why We broke Up by Daniel Handler

59. Bossypants by Tina Fey

60. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

61. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

62. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

63. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

64. Luna by Julie Ann Peters

65. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

66. Hope for Animals and Their World by Jane Goodall

67. How to Dress for Every Occasion by the Pope by Daniel Handler

68. Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

69. My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me by Hillary Winston

70. Beauty’s Punishment by Anne Rice

71. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabriell Zevin

72. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

73. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

74. The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs

75. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

76. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

77. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

78. Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound by Michael John King

79. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

80. Re:union by Eric Liu

81. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

82. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs