Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm am a Terrible Blogger - or - Don't Pass Judgement Too Quickly

The lack of internet at home and the crazy work days have certainly combined to equal no blogging lately.  I also haven't done a lot of reading, but I have two books I've been meaning to write about and I get frustrated every day that I don't have time to write.  Both should inspire their own thought provoking posts but instead, one quick jot on the page (er... blog) is all they're going to get.  Better late and short than never and long but only in my brain.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent
I finished John Grisham's The Innocent Man a few weeks ago and I had plans to write a big long post about how strangely awful the writing was.  For someone who excels at crime dramas, Grisham sure missed the mark in his writing style on this one.  The writing was boring and almost too fact driven... but the story was so horrifying that I plowed through and would recommend it any day.  I get that it was a non-fiction work but all of his books read like non-fiction - why he was suddenly drab, I don't understand.  The book is about a murder in a small town and the men who are accused of her murder.  Plain and simple, the cops screwed up in this case.  There was no concrete evidence tying them to the case and there was a (correct) suspect right in front of their noses the entire time.  What was more disturbing was the fact that the jury convicted him!  Grant it, this took place 20 years ago but still.  How backwards of a society are we that we can't really presume anyone innocent until proven guilty anymore?!  Are we really that cynical? 

The answer, of course, is yes we are.  The book left me disappointed in our judicial system but more so disappointed in myself.  I couldn't help but wonder if I would have judged him the same way if I were in their shoes.  We are desperate for answers when bad things happen.  I understand that.  But we judge that way regardless of the evidence in front of our face!  And we judge that way whether it is something requiring answers or not!  I know I'm not the only person who judges people on the sidewalk, at work, at the grocery store, for things that don't require judgement.  How often do we misjudge?  How often do we pass judgement without all of the evidence?  How often do we decide people are guilty - whether for something petty or for something much larger - before they have any chance to prove otherwise?!

The book made me think, obviously.  I finished it weeks ago and it's been on my mind ever since.  He may have been a bit dull in this writing, but Grisham found a perfect first true story to rehash.  It disturbed me to no end.  And yet I still find myself jumping to conclusions and passing judgement almost daily. 

I think I'll skip writing about the second book for now.  I've got myself all worked up again.  Damn books - always getting into my brain.  I need to go to the library this weekend.  I don't even have anything new to read.  And Food and Wine Magazine doesn't count.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Years Ago Today...

I have been so incredibly busy that I haven't had time to write, or read, or watch any movies, or do much of anything other than put out little fires.  Last week was the week from you-know-where at work... super busy, lots of meetings... but so far this week has been wonderful.  Thank freaking god.

What else is new?  A bad date, a dead refrigerator, Luisa in town (yeah!), a terror cat, and this morning, a popped front tire.  This week I'm seeing the bright side of things.  Last week, not so much.

The big thing for today is that two weeks ago today I moved to Nashville.  In two short years I...
  • made and rediscovered some lifelong friends
  • discovered the wonderfulness of red wine
  • fell in love
  • ate way too many late night steaks
  • got my masters degree
  • found a job I adore and am good at
  • moved again 
  • tried to fall out of love
  • adopted my Lady Bug
  • traveled much more
and all around, have grown into a person that I'm pretty proud of today.  I can't help but look back just two years and realize that where I am today is nothing like what I expected.  But it's a much better place than I could have ever imagined. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday, 5:44pm, Exhausted

I tried so hard to rest of this weekend knowing that it was going to be another long week this week.  I thought I had rested up but then last night I barely slept so that threw a huge wrench in the getting ahead on my sleep plan.  Suffice it to say that I tossed and turned all night because men are frustrating (yes, I know women are worse but whatever) and every time I moved, Lady attacked my feet.  Not cool, cat.  Not cool.

I did have some time to read two wonderful books this weekend.

I happened upon a novella of sorts last week at the library called The Builders.  It was a delightfully complex but seemingly simple story by Maeve Binchy, whose work I have so enjoyed listening to through a public radio podcast I download to listen to in the car while taking long drives.  The book was published as part of an adult literacy program called Open Doors so it was short and simplistic in nature but the story was still complex enough to make you think.  All in all, it took about 30 minutes to read - if that - and I thoroughly enjoyed those 30 minutes on my balcony with my feet on a chair and a beer in my hand.  Delightful.

To combat the slimy feeling I received from the man book I tried to read last week, I went searching for some intimacy.  What I came home with was lesbian lit but it was so wonderful that I don't even care.  The story, Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg, was about a college girl who falls for her (female) graduate teaching assistant.  Take out the girl on girl aspect and it could have been a heartbreaking story about any relationship that ended much too quickly.  In short, I loved it.  I'm sure some people would be put off just by the subject matter but it wasn't pornographic in the least.  In fact, I've read many a Nora Roberts romance that made my blush many, many more times than this story.  Like I said, I was looking for intimacy, for not-mushy romance, for something to take my brain off of my own situation, and I found it.  This story was about two people in love - who gives a hoot about their gender. 

Alright friends, it's not 5:55pm and I need to go home.  Or need to run work errands and then go home and do some more work.  But the office has been too chaotic to get anything done lately and I needed a few moments of solitude to relax before I left.  I think tonight I'll go home, warm up some of the delicious soup that I made over the weekend, and put in tonight's Netflix DVD, Where the Wild Things Are, while I write letters to my fundraising prospects.  Sounds wonderful.

Oh, that reminds me.  Saw Inception last night.  Not sold... I mean, it was good.  See it.  But if anyone out there wants to discuss what they saw, let me know.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Silly Girl Likes Flowers

My quest to get in touch with my masculine side has been an epic fail.  I cannot for the life of me get through that book I’ve been trying to read.  It’s very unlike me to take well over a week to finish one novel.  Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe I’m just more out of touch with my male friends that I used to be, but I’m half way through the book and all I know about this man is that he’s a middle aged pervert.  I do understand that men think about sex pretty much all the time – little secret guys… women aren’t much better if not worse – but this book talks about nothing else.  It’s terrible.

So instead of just focusing on my failure to think like a man again, I’m going to prove just how feminine and domestic I’ve become.*  

My favorite thing about living down South is the ability to have flowers almost year round.  When the rest of you Midwesterners are raking leaves and pulling up last spring's flowers, I'll be tackling pansies.  (The flower, not the girly men who play for the Vikings... ha ha.  Sorry couldn't resist.)  Last year, I did a terrible job of keeping any flowers alive for more than a month.  I got 10 hours of blistering hot, Nashville sun so it was practically impossible to stop my window boxes from drying out.  I watered them multiple teams each day and they still were too dry – plus there were plenty of days when I never made it home at night so I wouldn’t be able to water them.  Here, I get morning sun and evening sun.  Even when it’s ridiculously hot like it has been, my pretty little plants have shade and shelter during the hottest hours of the afternoon. 

My first impatien flower -
happy dance inducing.

Needless to say, this year my attempt at growing flowers this year has gone much better than in the past.  I sit on my balcony and putz with my plants almost every day.  I love how they smell, I love the pop of color I see through my sliding glass doors, and I especially love the fact that I have successfully kept them alive for more than a month.  In fact, I have nursed more than one plant back from the brink of death.  My biggest success story are two pots of what-were-supposed-to-be-impatiens.  I bought them specifically to sit outside of my front door.  It’s completely covered so I thought impatiens would do wonderfully there since they (usually) thrive in complete shade.  Yeah, not so much.  They started shriveling up and never bloomed again after the initial flowers I bought them with.  So I started moving them to a sunnier spot on the weekends - still dying.  Finally, I bought some more plants of the same variety hoping that would help, thinking maybe I just had faulty plants.  When those started dying too I decided to forget all plant logic and just move them out onto the balcony where the rest of my plants were thriving.  Imagine my surprise when they started exploding.  Now they are huge and for the first time, they have flowers again!  And flowers in completely different colors than I started with.  One pot still only has one flower but hundreds of buds, but the second pot bloomed earlier this week and now has no less than a dozen flowers.  You have no idea how excited I was.  I think I did a happy dance.

So now that I’m effectively bored you to death with my plant ramblings and proved I’m the biggest nerd alive…

It’s beautiful outside.  I think I’ll spend the afternoon outside with Lady Bug and my flowers.  I have some other, more girly, books to read.  Forget the rest of the responsibilities I should probably be thinking about.

*Well besides the dishes that have been stacking up all week.  I had company last weekend and I have yet to unload the dishwasher following their visit.  Without unloading the dishwasher, it’s hard to load it again so there are about two dozen drinking glasses littering my kitchen counter right now.  Be thankful that I ate off of paper plates most of the week.  As of last weekend my house was spotless but this has been too long a week to care much about some dirty glasses.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No Books Today... But a Curiously Good Movie

I had a very bad day on Monday.  I mean, I didn't feel at the time like it was that bad and nothing really happened to make it bad, but my boss called me after work to make sure I was ok because I apparently seemed off at work and suddenly I realized that no, I wasn't ok.  I don't know what was wrong but I just didn't want to be in my life at that moment.  So I took the night off.

By about 8:00pm I had closed all the curtains (mostly so I couldn't exactly see that it was still light out), popped a big bowl of popcorn covered in melted butter (it makes me hungry just thinking about it), and put a DVD in my tiny little computer that only sort of works.  I could have watched it on the old television set I have in my living room but Lady Bug was curled up on the bed and kept begging me (or something like that) to come and cuddle.  So I curled up in my bed in some comfy pjs, devoured that popcorn, and watching a surprisingly delightful movie.

I had yet to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because a) I don't really like Brad Pitt and b) it just looked kind of lame.  But the great thing about Netflix is that you can see all of these movies that you "should" see without having to spend a fortune at Blockbuster.  I really am glad that I saw it.  Somehow they made a movie about a person aging backwards seem not only plausible, but also likeable.  It wasn't nearly as ridiculous as I thought it would be (ok, except maybe the part at the end where he's a baby again).  Rather I fell in love with this man who was struggling to find his place through life.  I haven't read the story yet but it's been added to my list.  And the movie comes highly recommended - not to mention that Brad Pitt, who as I mentioned is by far not my favorite actor, looks really, really good.

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Has Been a Busy Month

I don't feel like I've given this blog justice lately.  Too often, I get to the end of the day and would rather get home to cuddle the cat, enjoy a beer, and putz with some flowers than sit at work for an extra few minutes to write about something I read last night.  I was afraid of that when I started this blog because I tend to do that.  And I'm afraid I'm boring, but whatever.

The last week has been busy at work.  I've been here for a few months and there are still some things I'm figuring out.  But for some reason, I feel like I'm suddenly expected to know what's going on.  Keeps me on my toes - which I like, for the record.

Last week, my little sis moved to North Carolina.  The family stayed with me on their way through - Abby, Mom & Dad, Abby's boyfriends' parents and two siblings, and Abby's cat Schmoe.  That's a lot of people for a two bedroom apartment but it was wonderful to see everyone.  I've been lonely lately, mostly because I don't have anything better to do at night than go home and do the aforementioned cat-cuddling, beer-drinking, and flower-putzing.  But that being said, it's more wonderful to be able to share the life I'm building here with other people and I certainly don't want to leave anytime soon.

I haven't even been reading all that often.  Too tired at night.  I was trying to get through a book last week about the woman who was the Paraguay-an version of Eva Peron.  Her story was wonderfully scandalous but it should have been a movie.  There were way too many people with the same name and I couldn't keep it straight.  Plus the author is Irish (what is it with me an Irish writers lately?!) but the book was written in such a way that you would never imagine her first language was English.  Had it been a foreign film with subtitles, I would have thoroughly enjoyed myself.  But it's not so fun when an English-language book needs subtitles so you know what the heck was going on.  The title is not even worth mentioning.  If it comes out as a movie, I'll pass along the recommendation!

I've been trying to get into the minds of men lately (mostly because I miss having male friends like I did back in college) so I've been shaking up the movie watching and book reading lately.  I started in on the series Entourage last week and so far have been impressed.  I was told it was the male version of Sex and the City and at first I agreed - which wasn't necessarily a good thing.  The first episode left me shaking my head and wondering why they thought men talked that way.  But after that initial warming up period, it grew on me.  I also started reading a book called Next last week as well about a man who is going through a life crisis but I haven't gotten very far.  I want to give it an honest chance so I just renewed it at the library (like literally just renewed it... It was due today and as I was writing I realized that I really did want to read it) but we'll see.  While in the past, I've found myself drawn more toward men as friends than toward women, I think I'm so jaded lately that I don't care how their minds are working.  Maybe because I'm not convinced that they know how their minds are working. 

If I ever finish that book I'll pass along my recommendation.  Until then, it's home to cuddle with Lady.  Happy Monday!
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