Monday, January 31, 2011

Afternoon Reprieve

In an early episode of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai asks Rory how her day has been. Rory responds with, “I have now used the word sucks so many times that it has lost all meaning.” Today feels like one of those days. Throw in the feeling of having competing desires to be surrounded by people you love with the desire to be left alone and you have a perfectly confused state of mind.

I went through my morning working feverishly on the things I had disregarded for days hoping that the sense of normalcy would snap me out of my funk. No luck. My PB&J helped a little. Going to accounting class pushed me over a dangerous edge. Talking to people on the phone only solidified my discontent. And so my car instinctively beat a path towards Provo Canyon. With a “Happy Hour” Diet Coke at my side, I am sitting in one of Sundance’s main buildings trying to calm my anxious heart down before heading back down the mountain.

I’m not sure that it will work, but for the moment, life feels better. Hope is restored. And the dreaded world of debits, credits, and my job hunt seems light years away. Fingers crossed that the world “sucks” a little less when I’m back in my room pouring over Clippers files and student work.

Sometimes I wish...

Sometimes I wish there was someone who would tell me what to do – where to move – what job to pursue. I am feeling exceptionally aimless right now. The looming uncertainty that is my future is starting to eat away at the peace of mind that I have worked so hard to construct over the past eight months.

I realized this weekend while I searched for my future in the Pacific Northwest, that I built too a large chunk of piece of mind on the idea that Seattle was the place. Don’t get me wrong, I love that area. But I am unsure that it is the place that I am supposed to move and start my new life.

When I took a job after my undergrad, I knew I wanted to stay in Utah. The job in Heber was a perfect fit. When I left Utah, I struggled with the idea of leaving a school I loved so much, so I made a deal with God (something I generally wouldn’t recommend) – if I was supposed to move back to the Bay Area, I wanted to teach at San Ramon. If I got the job there, I would pack my bags and start over. If I didn’t get the job, I was staying in Utah. No other alternatives or options needed to apply. Obviously, I went, I taught, and then life twisted sharply landing me back in Utah again.

Now though I have nothing to bargain with. I don’t have a dream job or even a job that I know without a shadow of a doubt that I qualify for. This time I feel completely alone.

I know though that this is my path to discover. I just wish I had more of a road map or even a clue of where to begin because right now I feel like I maneuvering through dense fog – the kind where you can only see a few feet in front of you – with no perceptible sunshine in sight.

Long story short, I really need my Monday to be over. Good night!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scents of Something Delicious

Odd statement: Today smelled good. The blankets on my bed smelled like clean breeze dryers sheets. My room smelled like the blissful Berry & Bark candle from that I got from my Grandma's holiday gift basket. I spent a couple hours reading and grading in Starbucks while inhaling that smell only Starbucks can create - heaven knows I love the smell of that place. The air coming into my car smelled perfectly delicious as I drove into the mountains, and as I was coming down the mountain, it smelled like the Sundance General Store (that may sound even more odd, but I love the smell of that building). My coat smells slightly like the campfire that sits at the bottom of Sundance's ski slopes. And I find myself daydreaming in class of my delicious smelling day. In a little while, I'll be enveloped in the Berry & Bark scent again as I feverishly work to get things done before I head off to Washington tomorrow. Life really is a blissful thing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the WindThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Shadow of the Wind” is a love letter to all book lovers. A young boy named Daniel is given charge of a book – a book that he is to keep safe and to be responsible for during the rest of his life. The book that he chooses to take charge of naturally throws him into the path of danger and mystery that will alter everything he has ever understood about life, literature, and those that create the words on the pages we love so much.

Towards the beginning of the book after the characters have been established and the conflict introduced, Daniel, now in his later teens, describes the book also entitled “The Shadow of the Wind” he is responsible for and how it has impacted his life since coming into possession of it.” He says, “This is a story about books….about accursed books, about the man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal, and a lost friendship. It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind (178).”

“The Shadow of the Wind” written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon would be a great book based on plot and characterization alone. However, it is the language – its majestic rise and fall, its masterful ability to convey emotion or scenery – that won me over. What makes the language even more incredible is that this is a translation of a Spanish book. Lucia Graves, daughter of the famous English poet Robert Graves, deserves acknowledgment for her uncanny talent for crafting words that were not originally her own.

“Shadow of the Wind” is not a book meant to be sampled in small portions. It is a book that is meant to be devoured and to be appreciated for its complexity and also its simple telling of the universal truths we find in life, in literature, and in each other. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

{For further discussion and review, please visit, as this was our first book club book. As always, happy reading!}

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I had a dream....

I had a dream last night that someone had moved my bookshelf away from the mall and moved all the books and things on it. I woke up in a panic. I think I need help. Happy Thursday!

Sundance with Kathryn Stockett

December 11, 2010 seems like eons ago rather than six weeks ago, but I cannot miss the chance to tell you about listening to and meeting Kathryn Stockett. Stockett was Sundance's final guest as part of the Tree Room author series that they do each year. The interest in Stockett was so great that they moved the luncheon from the Tree Room to the newly built Redford Center. With fresh snow, decadent food, twinkle lights strewn over evergreen trees, and conversations all about books, I was in my version of heaven. I tried to capture some of Stockett's best lines as she spoke. She ranged from the exceptionally insightful ("The purpose is to try to understand each other. It's vital to our humanity.") as she talked about why she writes about strong women to the hilarious (You hear about people who write books in three months, and I think that's just bullshit.). Stockett really is an incredible writer and a very down-to-earth woman. At her side during the luncheon was her husband and while she signed books, her adorable daughter Lila (who will be playing the young version of Skeeter in the movie version of "The Help"). I loved every minute of hearing her speak and every minute of experiencing another wonderful day at Sundance.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The King's Speech

The King's SpeechThe King's Speech by Mark Logue
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cannot adequately express how much I loved film version of The King's Speech. To give you a little perspective though - I walked out of the theater rhapsodizing about how amazing the story, the acting, the casting, etc, etc. was. I rhapsodized all the way to Barnes and Noble where I proceeded to buy this book. While I loved the movie more, this book was a great history of two men brought together by a speech impediment.

This is not a book for everyone. It is a dry recitation of chronological events focusing on both King George VI of England and Lionel Logue of Australia. That said, if you have any interest in the subject, I would definitely recommend reading the book even if you haven't seen the movie.

ps. I wish I was British. Anyone care to move with me?

Monday, January 10, 2011

January Pickwick Book

Hi friends-

Just a quick note in case you missed the post on Pickwick Society Book Club blog. We are reading 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived by Allan Lazar, Dan Karlan, & Jeremy Salter. I have barely started, but am really liking it already. It makes for excellent dinner party conversation - just in case you were wondering.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was my Everest - the only book I vowed to finish before the end of 2010. I picked up and put down "Eat, Pray, Love" at least half a dozen times, not quite understanding the life-altering quality that so many people said this book had. And then, a friend said to me that simply, she liked the book because she too felt like she had been on a personal journey in her own life - that she, like Liz Gilbert, had figured out the path she wanted to take. Reading "Eat, Pray, Love" was a way to see someone else do that. Somehow, that idea resonated with me and while it was still slow going, I finally got into the story.

This past year, I felt like I caught a glimpse of what my life could be. Liz Gilbert also caught that glimpse, lost it, and found it again over and over throughout this book. Is "Eat, Pray, Love" as magical as so many people said it would be? No. Is it a book that prescribes bad morals as other told me it did? No. It is exactly what it professes to be - a story about a woman eating, praying, loving and through those experiences, finding the pieces of herself, Gilbert had lost over time.

If I was evaluating this book just on one-liners and random thoughts, it would get five stars. I love the awe, the sarcasm, and the raw honesty that Gilbert weaves into her carefully told 108 vignettes. However, the choppiness and the tediousness of the overall reading experience cost my rating a couple of stars.

All of the above said, I have to admit that I find myself thinking about this book every day since I finished it. I wonder what that means....

Happy reading or not - the choice is totally yours on this one.