Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Cup of Inspiration

Source: I have no idea, I found this ages ago.

That will be all.

Waiter, can I get a refill?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ah, Books

One could say I'm a fan of the written word. It's partly hereditary -- my mom is quite the avid reader herself. Were I to shamelessly boast, I might tell you that I knew how to read before I was in kindergarten. Not because I was kid genius, but books have been a part of my life since I was a tiny nugget in a crib. As I hear tell, my dad used come home from work and read to me from a giant stack of Little Golden books. As kids, my siblings and I would lay around the house after school, on the weekend, in the summer, and in the car just reading the hours away.

My absolute favorite book as a small child was called The Very Bumpy Bus Ride. A moving tale about a group of people, animals, and produce who take the town bus to the county fair. From what I remember, it was a bumpy ride. I don't want to give away the ending, but hijinks ensued.

Not all my literary choices were so high-brow. Nothing could turn around a bad day like the cardboard box full of Archie comics. I don't know how widespread Archie and the Gang were but in my house, they were top pick for reading material. More than one fight erupted over who got to read the new ones first. To this day, I am still astonished at how much food that Jughead can put away.

As I got older, I became a devourer of all things mystery. I am almost 100% sure I have read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book ever published. And we can't forget The Boxcar Children. What's not to love about four plucky orphans solving mysteries with their little dog Watch?

After I ran out of those, I discovered The Babysitters Club. Yet another series that I probably read in its entirety. A group of girls navigating middle school, relationships, life challenges, and babysitting jobs. So you know, it basically paralleled my own life at the time I was reading them.

Those were the standouts of my adolescence, and I'm sure a few of my American readers will agree. As I got older, my tastes evolved: Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter forever, huzzah!), Agatha Christie, John Steinbeck, George Orwell.  Guided by education, I discovered a love for the classics, poetry, naturalist philosophy and even, (don't hit the snooze button) nonfiction.  I wouldn't say I'm particularly well-read. I know more than anyone (and as you have seen) my reading tastes and education are very much Western school of thought.  Not much cultural diversity here.  But I'm very much open to discovering writers from all countries of the world!

I'm not going to take you through the whole catalogue of all the books I've enjoyed in my lifetime, but I don't want to leave without mentioning a few of my adulthood favorites. 

Current Bookshelf Favorites:

1) Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin
A ridiculous, but intensely well-written story of two people on a quest to prove their worth before inheriting the throne. Epic and hilarious, one of my all-time favorites.

2) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
Not everyone thinks it's ok to mess with a Jane Austen classic but Grahame-Smith manages to maintain all the appropriate reverence while jazzing it up with a few creatures of the dead. 

3) The World According to Garp by John Irving
Very well-written, enthralling, and highly disturbing. There is no simple way to sum up Garp, though the pages and pages of literary praise at the front of the book try their hardest. 

4) Sarah's Key by Tatjana de Rosnay
Deeply moving fictional story based on the real account of the little known Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of the Jews in Paris during WWII. If I were the type of person to cry while reading a book, this would be one of them.

5) 1776 by David McCullough
A very well-rounded look into the events surrounding the beginning of the Revolutionary War. David McCullough is a fantastic historical author. 

6) Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
Had to read this for a class last year but fell in love with it. Anyone interested in the Civil War and its presence in the modern day needs to read this. So, basically just me and anyone who ever had Janney as a professor. 

7) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Ok this is actually a collection of poetry but I love it dearly. There's nothing quite like the spark of inspiration I get from reading "Song of the Open Road" for the 200th time.

So, what were your favorite books as a kid and what are they now? I'm always looking for some new reading material.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I hope your weekend left a smile on your face

Because mine did.

I took the train north on Saturday and spent some time with a family who lives on the convention grounds in the French part of Switzerland. This household contains the only other American for miles around and let me tell you, it was a blast.
They have a tree house

A sunny yellow bedroom with a great view of the Swiss countryside

Three cute bunnehs

And four hilarious kids

                                              Liam                                                                     Dylan

And Hannes, but I didn't get a picture of him. Next time!

There were rice krispy treats (insert tears of joy), comic books, wrestling matches, arguments in multiple languages, trampoline-jumping sessions, didgeridoo concerts, and long serious discussions on the appropriate weaponry/tactics to kill a bear.  Clearly, all the elements of a weekend well-spent. 
Also, I'm in love with this house across the street. purple shutters. Hello, are you selling? Because I'm buying.
So what did you do?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

For No Good Reason

Here's a photo of some birds I met at the Servion Zoo the other day. I named them Fran and Freba. They are always the best dressed ladies in church on Sunday. You should see their Easter hats. 

And this is Walter, my ostrich pal. Sassy fellow. Gave me attitude for taking his picture. 

Also, found this little survey in an unfinished blog post. Fill in after the bold words.

1. I want someone to give me flowers just because. Peonies and ranunculus, in case you need ideas.
2. I love drying my hair in the sun after a shower. But only in the summer, otherwise that's stupid.
3. People would say that I'm into cage fighting. And they would be completely and utterly wrong.
4. I don't understand why people think reality tv shows are a good idea. If I were a hot mess of a train wreck, I'd want to be a hot mess of a train wreck in the peace and quiet of anonymity.
5. When I wake up in the morning, it's usually because the cat is outside mewling loudly to be fed. Cat, meet my slipper.
6. I lost my balance going down some stairs yesterday. I am a rainbow coalition of bruises.
7. Life is full of disappointment but it's how we deal with it that makes all the difference.
8. My past is not very sordid. What a shame for my future biographers.
9. I get annoyed when the neighbor's rooster crows loudly and repeatedly during the day. Rooster, meet my other slipper.
10. Parties are better when I'm there. also better with Chex Mix.
11. I wish I were more coordinated. It's embarrassing for people to watch me play sports. Kind of like if a giraffe did a cartwheel: awkward and painful.
12. Dogs are unfailingly loyal. I'd trade my friends in for one. Joking.
13. Cats is a disturbing musical when you stop & think about it. I try not to because I enjoy belting out the show-stopping hit "Memory" whenever I can.
14. Tomorrow is a gift; a privilege not a promise.
15. I have low tolerance for coffee. and mushrooms.
16. I'm totally terrified of roller coasters. and mice.
17. I wonder why some girls think leggings are acceptable as pants. It's like, hello, your thighs called and they're embarrassed to be out in public like this.
18. Never in my life have I been part of a flash mob. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming.
19. High school was a tumultuous adventure. had a ton of friends, moved, had no friends, had a really ugly lunch box, ditched the lunch box, made friends, graduated. And, scene.
20. When I'm nervous I drink like a camel.
21. One time at a family gathering me, my sister, and all my female cousins put on a play about bubblegum. I wore a bathing suit for some reason.
22. Take my advice: be careful when you're going down the stairs. Seriously.
23. Making my bed is freakishly easy in Europe as there is never more than a duvet on top. Does that mean I do it? No.
24. I'm almost always wearing pants.
25. I'm addicted to chocolate and sarcasm. It's a problem.
26. Maybe I should write a real blog post sometime.

Just for your enjoyment, I give you one more photo of a zoo friend, Bernice the Alligator. Girl was cracking herself up. Which obviously, was cracking me up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Things I Love This Week

Happy Friday, darlings! 

The thing that always makes my week better, no matter what, is getting OUTSIDE.
Photos from a recent afternoon in the lakeside village of Lutry:

 Other pleasantries:

  • Floating sky lanterns 
  • Penny farthings
  • iPhoto books
  • Bouquets of pink ranunculus, white tea roses, and anemones
  • Roasted chicken tacos with avocado, onion, cilantro, and lime
  • Classic striped birthday candles
  • Wrought iron headboards
  • Anthropologie shoes
  • A bright yellow Kitchen Aid stand mixer
  • Dubstep
  • Fishtail braids
  • Packages from Texas
  • T-strap Mary Jane heels
  • Silk cocoon string lights from Muji 
  • vintage campaign buttons
  • Evian designer glass bottles
  • Stacks of letters tied with ribbon
  • Cailler chocolate
  • This video. This lamb is cracking me up.

Get out there and seize the weekend, you crazy kids.

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