Why didn’t you tell me?!

Probably about a year or so ago I asked my dad why he never told me how hard it sucks being an adult. He said, “You would never have believed me.” Such a copout answer, albeit, true.

I’m the person that did the right things and made the right choices (most of the time) throughout college. First of all I went to college which is what young adults are supposed to do. I worked nearly full time to pay my own way through school. AND I worked in an office to gain professional experience instead of being like everyone else and working a shit job in a restaurant, coffee shop, retail store, etc. I took 15 credit hour semesters and graduated only a summer semester late (because of an internship required for my major). I hope that sounded as boring as it felt to write.

Truthfully, I regret some of my decisions in college but in a different way than I think most people do. I never went on spring break. How sad is that? I was always working through my holidays which means I don’t have stories about coming back from a trip with stories a tattoo I got while drunk or having sex with a stranger in some exotic place. I had a boyfriend throughout college too so I never dated around. I never really learned who I was until later on. I feel like I missed out on what should have been some of the most fun times of my life being too boring and too responsible.

The point of all that is that making bad decisions in college is what should happen, because you learn from them and become who you are. Making equally bad decisions as an adult has gotten me into several thousand dollars of credit card debt (not to mention many, many, many thousands of dollars of student loan debt which is especially awesome since I’m not actually using my degree), a shitty car I can’t afford to replace, a puppy when I can, frankly, barely take care of myself, almost zero career aspirations and did I mention that I don’t actually live anywhere specifically? That last part is true.

Since college I have started and quit several jobs which have all been in the same field of work as one of my current jobs. I’ve put a significant amount of money into that job but it turns out I actually really do not enjoy real estate. Who knew? The job I’ve had that I’ve enjoyed the most is catering. My boyfriend works for a catering company in Boulder called A Spice of Life, which you should totally hire for your next event. Anywho, like any other menial serving job, the pay isn’t great but I really like working here. I like the people I’ve gotten to know and one of the higher-ups recently told me that my hard work is appreciated and they’ve been getting good feedback about me. That was the first work-related thing that has made me truly happy in a really long time — maybe ever to be honest.

Maybe I didn’t miss out. Maybe I won’t be one of those people that looks back at life and says “Man, those were the days!” Maybe this is just a rough couple years. Maybe I’ll get to enjoy the rest of my life without wishing I was somewhere in the past. Maybe someday I’ll get to travel and do all the things I wish I could have done already but with a greater appreciate of what I’m experiencing. Maybe I’m not meant to do things the way that I’m supposed to but rather the way that makes me me.

Maybe I can still look forward to better things.

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Nastier bruise

Just in case you were wondering what became of that giant scrape… Eww!

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I Survived

Today is Father’s Day. Being that my sisters and I all live at my dad’s house we wanted to do a bunch of fun things to show him how thankful we are for always being there for us. We went out for a delicious breakfast at my dad’s favorite little joint, The Breakfast Club. Then we came home to take our doggies on a bike ride through some parks around here. It was such a nice morning until my dog tried to murder me. Don’t be fooled by this adorable little puppy face…

…this dog is a trained assassin. While on our way home from this leisurely bike ride, Keiko thought it would be fun to cut in front of me to play with another passing dog. Since I had his leash in my right hand I had to slam on my brake with my left hand which just happened to be the front brake of the bike… yes I did have to slam on the brake, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t going very fast and could probably have lightly braked and put my foot on the ground to stop, the slamming was necessary. The problem is that if you know anything about the physics of a bicycle (which I’m pretty sure Keiko does) you know that by stopping abruptly with the front brake it causes the back tire to come off the ground and flip forward, along with the person sitting on said bike.

So now I have this nasty scratch on my inner thigh which will inevitably turn into an even nastier bruise along with some scrapes and bruises in various other places. The best part was that I was wearing this cute, short little dress so everyone on the bike path got a nice view of my lady-business today… cool.

Don’t worry, we’re still pals even though I thwarted his plans to murder me… for now…

Categories: dog, my life, near death experience | Leave a comment

Creeeepy!!

I’ve been really into reading creepy, psychological thrillers lately, which may strike some people (my sisters) as odd since I’ve never been one for scary movies. When I was younger I saw Dragonfly in the theater, ya know that movie with Kevin Costner and a total of – one – even remotely intense scene. I was so scared when the parrot was freaking out and flying around and his dead wife pops up in the window that I sat down on the movie theater floor until it was over 35 seconds later. (Give me a break I was like 12 14 and until then the scariest movie I had seen was Sixth Sense, a movie my mother ruined when I was watching it for the first time on TBS… “Hey isn’t this the movie where Bruce Willis is actually dead?” “I don’t know mom, I’ve never seen it before.” Asshole.)

I do get scared in movies easily, but the thing I don’t like about the horror genre is the goriness. I like the suspense of thrillers, but I don’t like seeing someone literally ripped in half between two semi-trucks, just not my style. In books, you can get the suspense without necessarily having to endure the blood and guts (although there’s a series of books I really want to read called Heartsick that my sisters have been raving about and it’s about this really sadistic serial killer). The other thing that draws me to thriller books over horror movies is that it’s both incredibly disturbing and deeply interesting to know the screwed up things that some authors dream up.

Plus, I’ve always been one of those readers that puts myself in the story. I let good stories get in my head which could be good or bad… I haven’t really decided. I read The Pact by Jodi Picoult a few years ago and I couldn’t shake this gnawing in the pit of my stomach for days after I finished reading it. I, somehow, took on the depression of one of the characters and I couldn’t stop crying… it was weird.

So to satisfy desire to scare myself shitless without ever having to watch any of the Saw movies I went to this used book store and bought a couple of books that were supposed to be scary (I actually googled “scary books”). One of those books I reviewed here. The other, I’m currently reading (I’m still not sure about this one… it’s supposed to be good — according to the answer.com list I read — but it’s not really what I thought it was going to be about so we’ll see. Confession: I didn’t actually read the back, I just gave it a once over. This is what I get for judging books by the cover). Anywho, there was this book sitting on our side table in the living room for a couple of weeks. I read the back, sounded interesting. I asked my sister about it (I assumed it was hers because she’s basically reading a new book every time I see her), she said she borrowed it from a friend and tried to read it but didn’t love it so she couldn’t get through it. I feel the way about shitty books that my sister feels about shitty movies: you know it’s terrible but you dive in anyway. This book was called The Truth Teller’s Lie by Sophie Hannah. So I dove in.

Let me start by saying, this may not have been the best book ever written, but I liked it. I could have done without the switch between the first person narration of one character to the focalized third person narration of other characters. This book was so twisted. The way the characters are connected, the plot, the characters themselves… it made me feel a little crazy. I don’t know what goes on in Sophie Hannah’s brain but to think this up… wow. This book isn’t a murder mystery, no one is running for their lives. It’s hard to describe without giving anything away. Suffice it to say (as it does on the back of the book, in so many words) this guy disappears. His mistress reports him missing and claims his wife may have something to do with it. No one wants to help her because it’s not uncommon for married men to stop meeting their lovers abruptly. She dives into her own tormented past as a way of bringing attention to her lover’s disappearance.

I wouldn’t say this book is traditionally predictable. Like I said, it’s twisted. You can feel that something bad is going to happen — no, not bad because when you say “something bad is going to happen” you’re expecting a psychopath to pop up at any time with a chainsaw and a hand grenade so he can kill you up close and from far away — you expect something strange, creepy, disturbing to happen. And it does. This book isn’t necessarily scary; I wasn’t waiting on the edge of my seat for a killer to strike again. It does get in your head though, I believe they call stories like this psychological thrillers. This book is not for the faint of heart. There are parts that are quite graphic and the obsessive nature of the story may be hard for some to read.

I thought this book was really quite interesting. I’d like to read more from Sophie Hannah, she’s kinda creepy and I dig it.

Categories: book review, Reading, Suspense | Leave a comment

Live and Learn

There’s something interesting about reading a book that was written a few decades ago.  I’ve never read a Mary Higgins Clark book before.  Funny since I love reading and she and Carol Higgins Clark are such iconic female writers.  Now I know why.  I recently read A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgins Clark.  The story was absolutely well written.  That said, the value of this type of story was lost on me.  This book is supposed to be a suspense type thriller, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I knew almost immediately what was sure to happen.  Some details were surprising, but it was largely predictable.  Within the first 10 pages of the book, I wanted to take the main character by her shoulders and shake her senseless.  What kind of self-respecting, New York, single, working mother would fall for and marry someone who is so obviously controlling, manipulative and just plain creepy?!  Ugh, my inner feminist wept.

Then I started thinking, that if this book was written in 1982, the storyline was actually pretty time appropriate.  I forget that women decades ago experienced a struggle so that I don’t have to.  Divorced, single, two kids, trying to survive every day in a one bedroom apartment in New York City with your skeezy ex-husband always asking to “borrow” money.  How many women was this true for?  And how difficult it must have been.  In walks a rich, successful, charming artist who adores you.  Yea, I guess that would have been pretty easy to fall for in a different time.  And to be fair, Jenny, the main character, remains pretty composed throughout considering everything she goes through.  That is something I can definitely respect.

Categories: book review, Reading, Suspense, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Little Bee

I finished reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave yesterday and wow, what a great book!  This review is going to be somewhat precarious because on the back cover of the book, the author writes, “Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it.  When you do, please don’t tell them what happens.  The magic is in how the story unfolds.”

So what I’ll say about the book is this.  Cleave really captured the personalities of the characters.  I like the voice of the story.  It’s written from two different characters’ perspectives as if they are recounting the story directly to the reader.  (I mentioned a similar writing style in Tana French’s In the Woods.)  This style was effective here too.  This story is heart-wrenching and captivating.  Once you start reading, you’ll have to finish it.

Since the author has asked readers to a) tell people to read this book and b) not mention what it’s about (other than it is about a chance meeting between two women with the story picking up two years later when they meet again), all I’ll say about this book is that you should read it.  The subject matter is heavy, but definitely worth reading.

And, side note, I really like Chris Cleave.  Not only is a great author, but he’s quite personable too.  He comments back to nearly every comment on his site.  I admire that dedication he has to his readers.  He is also the author of Incendiary, which I’ve heard is a great book but I haven’t read it yet.  I can say that I liked the movie that is based on the book, not that that means much since movies are rarely anything like the book they are adapted from.

Categories: book review, Reading | Leave a comment

Are e-books really better than real books?

Well I am returning from a completely unnecessary hiatus.  Before I got… uh, distracted, a fellow blogger, Brent Sears, suggested I write a post about the switch from paper books to e-readers, which I thought was interesting because at the time I had just been thinking about it.

 I have mixed feelings about e-readers.  I’m sort of old-fashioned when it comes to reading and writing.  I think there is some pure and fundamental about writing your thoughts on paper and flipping through the pages of a book.  I can’t tell you how many notebooks I have full of handwritten story ideas and notes from classes.  Even in college, I rarely brought my laptop with me to class.  It was more of a hassle than it was worth and I found that I paid closer attention to lectures when I was hand writing my notes rather than typing (not to mention that without a computer I couldn’t spend the entire class numbing my brain on Facebook).

 Still, our society craves convenience.  E-readers provide just that. Who wants to keep track of a bunch of books when you can simply use your phone or computer instead?  Technology truly amazes me.  Many e-books have the feel of a real book.  You can see the pages flipping with such detail that if you flip the pages slowly enough, you can see the words backwards on the page that is being turned (try it).  I think developers must know there are those of us that miss the nostalgia of holding a book and flipping its pages.

 I will say, I read this one book from time to time called Million Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton that is much better to read as an e-book.  The point of this book is that there are hundreds of different ways to read it.  It’s one of those books where you read the first part and then have a choice to make and you flip to a different section depending on that choice.  It’s a fun read whenever I’m bored because you get through the story you’ve chosen pretty quickly.  Anywho, it’s better to read electronically because you just tap whichever choice you’ve made and it takes you to that section so you get to the next part of the story you need much quicker.

 Other than that, I largely prefer to read books I can hold.  I like the way the pages feel when they are worn on the edges.  I like finding notes from the previous owner’s  friends/relatives in books I find in thrift stores.  I like the stain where I dripped hot chocolate on my favorite book.  I like putting sticky notes by certain passages that I particularly like in some books.  I like the dusty smell of old books I find in the library or my grandma’s house.  I like that books can have a story separate from the one written within its pages.  While I do have e-books on my phone, and I do enjoy the convenience and portability of e-readers, I seriously doubt I’ll ever stop buying and reading real books.

Categories: E-books, E-readers, Reading | Leave a comment

To Use, or Not to Use…

…Well it really kinda depends.

I recently had a mostly useless conversation with my sister about the comma before the “and” in a series (red, white and blue – should there be a comma after white?!).  I was adamant that this comma should never be used.  As a journalism student, we were taught to be as concise as possible, eliminate as much ink from the page as you can.  My sister (to my shock) said that it is one of her pet peeves when the comma is missing.  See she’s a law student and apparently academic writing is very formal, and therefore much less concise than I’m used to.

This sounds incredibly lame, but I have a personal history with this comma specifically.  Growing up, I had always learned that the comma should be there.  Then in many college writing classes, they began to say that the comma was optional, either way it is grammatically correct.  In one of my reporting classes we had this same conversation.  It was a small class and we all knew each other so it wasn’t weird.  My professor said he noticed that a lot of us were including this comma when it shouldn’t be there according to AP (Associated Press) Style.  I said, “But that’s my favorite comma.”  I was mostly joking, but you know you’re one of those weirdos that likes grammar when you have a favorite comma… my god, I digress.  After that I trained myself never to use this particular comma.  I figured if it’s optional and I’m not supposed to use it in my journalism classes then I don’t need it in other writing classes either, so I better just never use it anymore.  Until a couple days ago.

So after talking about this my sister and I came to a mutual understanding.  She’ll stop being frustrated when that comma is missing from newspaper articles, and I’ll stop removing that comma from appraisal reports I edit at work before they get sent to clients (oops).

It turns out… that conversation wasn’t so useless after all.

Categories: grammar | 1 Comment

I can’t spell the words I’m thinking…

…but it probably sounds something like this… “GAAAHHHHH WHY UGH COMEON!!!”

That’s how I feel immediately after reading Tana French’s novel, In The Woods. Don’t let my outburst sway you, this was a GREAT book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It kept me on my toes in a way that didn’t overwhelm me. At times, it was mildly predictable, but remained intriguing and captivating throughout.

That’s how I felt, now here’s the juicy stuff (Warning: Don’t read this unless you like knowing the ending of books… In other words the next part contains SPOILERS)

The story is a first person account of a time in Detective Adam “Rob” Ryan’s career. The pinnacle, the “it” case. A twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the woods in the town Ryan grew up. The case has some eery similarities to Ryan’s own mysterious past. His two best childhood friends disappeared 20 years earlier in the same woods. Blah Blah (I assume if you’ve read this far, you’ve read the book and I therefore do not need to go into a lengthy, detailed summary of said book).

If there’s an award for character development, Tana French has got it, hands down. Her characters were multi-dimensional, complex and easy to visualize. The main character, Rob, was actually quite unlikable by the end, yet I was still rallying for him to get his shit together (I’m 99% sure that’s what she was going for). Even the secondary characters had depth. They felt real, like I could actually run into them at some point in life (assuming I ever find myself in Dublin, which happens to be one of the many places my best friend and I have planned to travel to together. I digress).

The actual core of the story flowed well. I read one review (I’d link to it, but I can’t remember where I read it… oops) that said French was “too verbose and, at times, redundant.” I disagree. I liked French’s writing style very much. One thing to keep in mind is that this story isn’t being told by some omniscient narrator; it’s a stream of consciousness of the main character. You are in his head the entire time. The story is told as he remembered it, and he tells it as he was feeling at the time, not how he looks back at it. I thought that was an interesting way for French to write. Most books I’ve read where the author places the reader in the character’s head don’t do so quite as successfully. She pulled it off well. Since this is written as someone’s memory, it makes sense to be verbose and possibly redundant. How many times have you remembered a specific event in a completely succinct and concise way? I can say with some certainty that I have never told a story from my own memory that way.

Now, the ending. Reminder: Spoilers ahead! Let me take a moment to ruin the end of the book for anyone still reading despite the cautions… You never find out what happened to the two missing kids, Rob’s best, childhood friends. At first I was appalled by the ending (thus the non-words and my pouting–did I mention I pouted?–at the beginning of my review). I felt that I had been robbed of a key element of the story. This was a huge and important mystery. Rob nearly fucked up the entire investigation because he was the kid left behind and didn’t tell anyone even though there was a possible connection to the new case they were investigating. He was even starting to get glimpses of his memory back. The looming danger and mystery surrounding those kids is part of what kept me so acutely interested the whole time. When you start to find out who Katy’s killer really was, it makes sense. This was definitely foreshadowed, but it was still satisfying when everything was revealed. I didn’t quite know who it was, thou I had some suspicions. But Peter and Jamie… what happened?! I still don’t know, I have no idea! Amid my resentment after having read only part of a book (or so I felt) a light bulb turned on. The ending was real and jarring. A different ending would have felt forced and disingenuous; like she had solved the mystery just to appease us, just for the sake of tidying up loose ends. In this case she ended a good book, and the characters go on living. I’m glad not all books fit nicely into a this-is-how-books-should-be-written box. There’s no formula, per say, that makes a book well written and fascinating. It’s refreshing to find one that feels entirely possible, in every way. Some real-life mysteries are never solved. People don’t always get the happy ending they so yearn for. Sucks, but such is life. Why should a book be any different?

Categories: book review | 1 Comment

Great Intentions, Poor Execution

I have a habit of starting projects and never finishing them (like that bookshelf I picked up for free in an alley and was going to paint and decorate and make lovely… Or the 700 other blogs I’ve started) or coming up with great ideas and never pursuing them (remember that time I was going to study abroad? Join the peacecorps? Culinary school? It’s embarrassing how many more I can think of on the spot so the list stops there…)

Unfortunately, people have started to catch on…

My best friend (who lives in Illinois) and I have planned many trips to take together that never happen. We recently started another idea and she basically said she likes thinking about all these trips even though she knows it’ll never happen.

My brother in law showed me a blog post of his that indirectly calls me out for wanting to do certain things with my life yet I’m just lazy when I get home from work.

And my younger sister just the other day said I shouldn’t buy the domain name for this very blog because “will you even be interested in it for long?” I dont know what bothered me more, how brazenly she said it or how true it really is.

I wish I could say these are the only examples of my lack of follow through but alas… I suck at finishing.

So I’ve decided not to tell anyone about this new venture until I gauge how serious I am about it (sad but necessary).

I have recently come to the realization that not everything I do has to have a direct impact on my future. This may seem strange because I feel like a lot of people already knew this, I didn’t. But now I know I can do things for the sake of doing something I enjoy. That’s the point of this blog. What will I be writing about? I’m not really sure yet. What will I be wearing when I to go out to dinner with my friends next week? Equally unanswerable… I change my mind a lot.

I have this tattoo on my side that says, “Oh Reckless Abandon, like no one’s watching you” It’s from one of my favorite songs (Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap). I think the message is beautiful and something we often forget. Live with reckless abandon, as if no one is watching. Anywho, that’s the real point of all this. I love writing… I have a degree in journalism and one of my favorite classes of both high school and college was my creative writing class. So now, I’m going to blog and write… like no one’s reading.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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