Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

My good friend, UK Rachel, is doing an online book club by ways of reader reviews.  I love.  I skipped October because I was in a funk, plain and simple, but I'm back and ready to review my all time favorite book which I reread right before the trip.

A good family friend gave me my first copy of A Tree and I have probably read it about 7 times since receiving it in 7th grade.  When people ask me why I like it, I can't exactly say.  The writing is good, the plot is easy to follow, the characters are simple, and there is no big plot twist or reveal that keeps you in suspense.  I think I like it because it is everything that today's movies, TV and books are all about.  That's also probably why I can read it over and over again.  I love how the author, Betty Smith, interprets a world of poverty, survival, and familial love.  Ah, I love this book!  

It is set in Brooklyn from 1909 - 1917 and is the story of the Nolan family, told primarily from Francie's perspective.  They are poor, but they make it.  Katie, the mother, is the janitress of the tenement building in which they live and Johnny, the father, is an occasional singing waiter who contributes his wages to the family and drinks away his tips.  Francie is the first born and is very smart and observant.  She sees miracles and beauty where most people would turn up their nose.  Neeley (Cornelius) is next and much to Francie's chagrin, fits in too well with the rag tag boys of the neighborhood.

This is a story of their lives.  Like how during the week Francie and Neeley scour the street and building garbage room for bits of tin, copper, rags and such to sell to the junk man on Saturdays.  When they drag their junk to be sold they have to bear the shame of kids taunting them with, "Rag picker!  Rag picker!", even though those kids had just dropped off their junk and had a few coins burning a hole in their pockets.  The money they get from him buys them a few sweets from the penny candy man.  

I don't really know how to write a review for something so special to me.  I have read it so many times I feel like it's a part of who I am.  If any of you ever get around to reading it, please let me know what you think!  Cheers!

(more to come on my trip later)
(love you)

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."

- W. T. Purkiser

Harry is Dan, Dan is Harry

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post About My Trip #1

Yes, the title alludes to the fact that there will be multiple posts about how awesome the past 10 or so days have been.  Deal.

Something of note - I dislike pictures of myself which is why about 99% of these will be of things that I like.  Again, deal.  I know, I know, ya'll want to see me in Ireland or whatev but I was there, I promise, so just enjoy the lovely photos sans Ms. Rachel.

Thursday the 18th I bussed it on up to NYC for the midnight premiere of Harry Potter.  It was AWESOME.  I really love the feeling at midnight showings because there is a very specific energy that is hard to capture if you see it after a few days.  Harry did not disappoint! (except for that one scene....ahem....Harry, Hermione.....right)   I'm already planning to see it again!

Friday I wandered New York by myself and came across a sweet Farmer's Market 

Check it out - 

While I was there I was interviewed on camera for market research.  A guy approached me and asked if I was from New York.  When I said no he asked if I wouldn't mind lying on camera and saying that I was.  Of course that was no problem.  It was about smartphones and technology.

I swear, if I end up on some stupid commercial for the iPad and I don't get compensated ($$$$) then I'm gonna be pissed.

After the Market I went to Central Park to walk around.  May I recommend going for a stroll whilst listening to your newly downloaded Huey Lewis and the News playlist?  It's heaven.  Seriously, as I was walking up to Central Park the song "Power of Love" from Back to the Future came on.  Think about that for a minute.  Awesome.

Here's pictures.  Hooray.


Saturday morning we got up, went to brunch at  Fred's (named for the owner's dog), got manicures and a 20 minute massage, bought pomegranate colored Tom's (finally!), bought a grey scarf and skinny jeans (what the!) at 40% off at GAP, and boarded a plane to Ireland.  

More pics and posts to come :)

Oh, and some really awesome stories

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gush x 2

"They spoke very little of their mutual feelings: pretty phrases and warm attentions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends"

-thomas hardy
far from the maddening crowd

I have been in a bit of a funk lately.  Just feeling a little uninspired and a bit like a hamster on a wheel.  This week was amazing.  Work was fine.  Roommates - whatev.  Weather, alright.

The difference is that I was remembered.  Thank you, Ashley and Becca.  You made this week amazing.  Thank you for being in my life and reaching out to your old friend right when you didn't know how bad I needed it.

I included the above quote because I don't believe it to be true.  I gush about you ladies all the time and I enjoy telling you how much I love you, miss you, respect and adore you.  Notice how it says "probably unnecessary between such tried friends"?  I will never find it unnecessary - you girls need to know how much I value you.  

Thank you,
I love you,
I'm crying at 1:40am in DC.

I miss you.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i love a long fall season

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chinese Halloween

As you should know, my sister Meghan is in China with the Peace Corps.  She and a fellow PC volunteer threw a Halloween party for their Chinese students.  She's on the right.  Her friend is a cow (I guess you have to make do with what you have when you're in a foreign country that doesn't celebrate Halloween)

Meghan said that only 2 students dressed up because they just didn't get it.  That's understandable, it's not one of those holidays that makes sense unless it's your culture.  She's not even going to attempt teaching about Thanksgiving.

As you can see, Meghan is a stick.  Those leggings are a size large.  She had to squeeze into them.
Moral of the Story: I'm never going to China for fear of being labeled obese.

Good night.  Have a great week!

I {heart} the Internet

I'm loving what the internet has been offering me lately.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as you can."

- Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, November 5, 2010

Snuggie 2.0

Check it out.  Part sweatshirt, part sweatpant, and 2 parts awesome.
Found here

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NYC Wrap Up (i.e. lots o' photos)

We stayed in Metuchen, New Jersey and took a train into NYC

Look at this girl!  Totally candid.  Go ahead and hate her - she's gorgeous!

Maps at Penn Station

This is in memoriam to all the annoying road construction in New York.
One glove for the homies

From Central Park

Central Park in Fall is truly amazing!

Tara looking gorgeous while our pizza looks delicious.  Lombardi's is champ

Rice to Riches....Devon and I are addicted!

Kate met up with us for a few hours and it was wonderful - like always!

"help me to sell drugs"


The best cookies on Earth come from Levain Bakery.  I went there on Tira's advice in June and we went back on Saturday.  They have several new fans.

I asked him if I could take his picture.  Glad he agreed.

Times Square at night - never a dull moment

Monday, November 1, 2010

Central Park Fall

It was gorgeous, more pictures to come!