Sunday, June 30, 2013

i'm wasting my time again

so camp nanowrimo starts like tomorrow (unless there are thirty one days in june, but i'm pretty sure there aren't) and i'm lacking the enthusiasm that i usually feel at the start of every november which is leading me to predict that, though i've never failed at nano, camp nano will be a completely different story. maybe it's because i'm doing literally nothing all day every day and without the pressure of making sure i have time for writing in between schoolwork and family i lose any and all ability to write. i'm hoping that once i actually sit down and start i'll get into my story again and the words will just flow.

i'm not sure if i mentioned it on here or not, but instead of writing a new story this july, i will be using camp to flesh out my twenty-eleven nanonovel. (you know, the one i've been complaining about editing for months on end.) it needs a whole lot of words added to it in the form of world development, history, character development, and side plots. i'm hoping to fatten it up with at least fifty thousand words. and then i'll go through it again and tighten it up. that's the plan anyway. we'll see what actually happens. 

speaking of hobbies of mine, i've been knitting a lot since my family left. mostly scarves which i'm hoping to start selling in the fall (and if i don't do that then i'll just send them to my grandmother who will distribute them among the people of ct.), but i've also decided to do a knit patchwork blanket. i'm kind of stupidly excited about it. i had originally wanted to make it in shades of blue, but i used the last of my blue yarn on a scarf yesterday (which doubly sucks because i don't even like how the scarf turned out really), and since i told myself that i would finish the yarn i have this summer before buying new yarn (because i'm running out of room to put it) i have switched to more autumny colors: orange, red, maybe yellow. 

*Waste My Time - Default

Thursday, June 27, 2013

but stay awhile and maybe then you'll see a different side of me

oh my goodness, you guys. so last night i read stolen by lucy christopher, and i just... it was not a good idea. if the book taught me anything it was that, in the off chance that i am ever kidnapped, well, i'll be one of the worst stolkholm syndrome cases in history. i mean, i always kind of figured i would be, what with my tendency to feel more sympathy than hatred for most bad guys in stories, movies, and tv shows. i've always fallen in love with the tragic car crashes of characters. (i can't explain it right here without going on forever, but it's really only certain archetypes of bad guys that i'm talking about. i do not fall for every bad character to hit the page/screen.) add to that that i was already feeling mentally crappy, and it was just ridiculous.

just as a warning to the very small margin of people who both read this blog still and are likely to read a book that i read, this post is going to be chock full of spoilers. and no, it's not really going to be a review. it'll be more like emotional word vomit revolving around the story and the characters. it will also probably be too long.

the story starts off with ty kidnapping gemma from bangkok airport, where she and her family are waiting for a connecting flight on their trip from london to vietnam. (he basically drugs her, changes her clothes, puts a wig on her, and gets her on another flight.) he takes her to a deserted desert in australia, where there is nothing but a house that he built and lots and lots of sand/rocks/spiky plants. no people. no roads. no electrical lines to trace back to civilization. just the desert. oh, and they get a pet camel. we learn that gemma fleetingly met ty when she was ten (she's now sixteen) and he has been "watching" her ever since then. (gemma remembers it as a brief encounter with an old tramp living under some bushes. ty was not at his best at the time.) anyway, after ty meets gemma he starts building himself a house in the middle of the australian desert far away from people because people pretty much are the worst thing ever (man after my own heart, he is). three or so years after that he realizes that he wants to take gemma with him because she never seems to fit in with the people around her. he wants to save her like she saved him. as she grows older, he also falls in love with her. and that all leads to the whole drugging incident at the airport. his social skills really aren't the best. after about a month, with gemma constantly telling ty how much she hates him and the desert, he makes a deal with her. after four months of living with him, if she still hates it, he'll take her back to civilization. (she had made a few unsuccessful escape attempts, one of which resulted in ty rescuing her from the edge of death.) things start getting better between them then, but just as she starts to fall for him, too, she gets bitten by a snake. he takes her to a clinic that flies her to a hospital, and stays with her when she asks him to even though he knows it means turning himself in. (now would a bad guy do that? how do people not love ty?) he goes to jail, she goes back to her parents, and she's writing the whole book as a letter to him, partly as a form of therapy and partly to explain to him what she felt and hold him accountable for what he did.

when i first heard of the book, they said that you would get stolkholm syndrome when reading it. i get stolkholm syndrome with every book i read, i thought, this shouldn't be any different. but i was wrong. so wrong. it was so much worse. i fell in love with ty the second he showed up at the airport, as is my way, but i did get stolkholm syndrome too, it was like too separate things, and by the end my heart was literally breaking for him. it was very not healthy.

there are only three books that i have ever cried in in my entire life. i've gotten a lump in my throat for a bunch, but actual tears? only three. that was then, this is now in sixth grade was the first book to draw real tears from me, and even then, it was not much. the fault in our stars had tears streaming silently down my cheeks for a good part of it. and then there is stolen. stolen had me sobbing.

stolen is the kind of book that people either hate or love, depending on how you're wired mentally. also if you go for the vulnerable, broken people or not. i am the kind of person that was telling gemma to shut up and love ty already, to not testify against him, to not let him wind up in jail. like i said, i do not have very healthy relationships with my fictional characters. i mean, yes, what he did was wrong, but he was not a bad person. like gemma says, "it's hard to hate someone once you understand them."

there's a point in the book where they're talking about cities and gemma says that people love what they're used to. ty responds to that with, "people should love what needs loving. that way they can save it." and oh my god, you guys, i died. that quote crushed me. right up until the very last page (who am i kidding? it still  is.) that quote was wreaking havoc in my brain and my heart and i just can't.

and although i hated gemma at the end, i also liked her. i admired her and loathed her, i understood what she was doing and resented her for every minute of it. this book was definitely an emotional roller coaster. and i think the fact that gemma was fighting against everything the whole time made it all so much stronger for me. it was real. she didn't just fall in love with her captor because he was there and it was easy.

there are very few books that make it to my five star list on the first read. this was definitely one of them, though.

*Unwell - Matchbox 20

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

it's always been the same, same old story

there is a poem floating around in my head born out of my frustrations and acceptance and a little hope, marinated in sadness of course because it is, after all, my favorite emotion. and just like my husband puts turmeric (i actually forget which spice he uses, it could be cumin or something) in everything he cooks, i put sadness in everything i make. even the happy pieces have a little sadness hiding in the shadows. and i would really love to just sit down and write it out before it gets mixed up with grocery lists and errands, but i have to get two guinea pigs ready for grooming at the vet, and as it turns out, rabbits are a hundred times easier to handle than guinea pigs. for me, at least. and, being my life, that's really all that matters.

by tonight i will sit down to write and i will compare my life to the tiny little lettuce leaves in the very middle of a romaine heart, and i will compare you to an unsuccessful maxi-dress search, and i will say that every trip to the bank has something for someone and maybe i'll even come home to a package waiting at my front door. because that is, of course, one of the greatest feelings in the world.

and maybe it will be completely awful, but i will complete it because i have not completed anything in far too long and my blog is filled with drafts of the same poem trying to work itself out, and my same repressed emotions trying to hold onto the conch so that they can talk. because it is their turn.

and maybe if this poem can figure itself out, it can lead by example, and my life might do the same. because it needs to do something.

i need to do something.

*Father and Son - Cat Stevens

Sunday, June 23, 2013

there's a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain

so the other day i was flipping through the internet and came upon this on tumblr. i thought it was pretty perfect, so i decided to share.

what it is like to live with an anxiety disorder

no one ever congratulates you
for doing the really difficult things
like driving on the freeway or getting out of bed or
staying alive

every friendship you make is a countdown
to the moment
when they finally can’t deal
with the missed calls and canceled hangouts
every friendship is on a timer
every friendship expires sooner,
not later

you hear phrases like “bootstraps”
over and over
until you wish you had some to hang
yourself with

you have to learn to simultaneously
relax your muscles
and move them with determination
you have to be in control
and you have to let go
at the same time
it’s enough to drive you into
a blubbering mess

music is a conduit
crying is a conduit
your dad calling is a conduit
everything becomes a conduit
for either having or not having another panic attack

you learn to stop making plans
because you’ll either disappoint yourself
or someone you care about or both

you accept all of it

you hope someday everyone else can
accept it too


*Hate Me - Blue October

Friday, June 21, 2013

it's been one of those days when your flip flop gets stuck in something in the middle of a walmart parking lot and you just stand there in the heat, not surprised and not even trying to move because just of course. and we're not even out of the a.m.'s yet. (when this is posted we will be, but at the time of me writing that sentence there are still three minutes till twelve.)

in case you were wondering, it was gum and pepsi. both. because one is not enough.

today is the first day of summer, like officially, and i suppose i could write about that except summer started so long ago for me that i don't even remember spring. and i am still shirking responsibilities and having them haunt me whenever my mind starts to wander. officially accepting summertime means declaring it time to get my act together and i really don't want to. i am the worst at doing anything ever. i think it is time for me to accept that and just start my life as a waste of space. i can lay on the floor in my tower, read books, watch movies, and eat granola. forever.

i have been in a state of half-finishings, and i think it is starting to mess with my head. i started knitting a scarf and stopped halfway through. i started reading a book and stopped halfway through. i started several pieces of writing and stopped halfway through. they always say that starting is the hardest part, but no, i think it's finishing. it's definitely finishing.

i can't seem to finish a thought today either. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

the times they are a-changing

i am one of those people that are disgustingly close to their families. i willingly see my family multiple times a week and would cancel with friends to hang out with my siblings. i think they are some of the coolest people on earth (and the most annoying, but i love them anyway), and yesterday they deserted me for the desert. this makes me sad, but i will not dwell on that. instead, i will tell you all about my apartment.

my husband and i (and darcy) live in a one bedroom apartment. i've never thought of it as an itty bitty apartment, because it is not really itty bitty. i mean, yes it's small, but i've seen smaller. aside from the kitchen and bathroom, three are three main rooms in our apartment. over the past couple of days, they have gone through some major transformations.

my favorite room in the apartment is probably the tower. the first time my grandma visited us, she mentioned that the shape of room reminded her of a tower, and well... it stuck. the tower houses most of my books (except for the three piles that live on my nightstand) and has like a million windows so it's always filled with natural light - my favorite thing. in pre-darcy days i did yoga every morning in my tower, but then darcy moved in and his playpen has taken over my yoga space. (if the apartment people let us, i would take down the playpen, let him run around free, and resume my daily yoga. but they won't.) the tower has now been transformed into my menagerie. aside from darcy with his cage and playpen, it is now the temporary home of tedward berger and louis vuitton (my sister's guinea pigs), with their two cages and playpen. feeding and petting time is now filled with frustrated back leg thumps and desperate squeaks as they all try to be the first fed and the only one being petted. it's fun.

what used to be my living room is now the land of misfit furniture. there was a little red breakfast table with two chairs in the tower that were relocated to the living room to make room for our house guests. the living room - which was never huge - now has two furniture sets crammed into it, looking nicely mismatched and very unbalanced. it is also the summer home of peter, my sister's plant.

my bedroom has become ground zero of the eruption of the volcano of crap. not only is half of my closet laying around the floor and a mountain of laundry by the door, but there are boxes of textbooks between my side of the bed and window that were moved from the tower, boxes of art supplies littered here and there, tissue paper and gift bags, and just random crap that has been thrown into the room to make the rest of the apartment look neat. it's kind of like one giant closet or junk drawer.

i also offered our bedroom to my grandmother in august, so i may have to clean it just in case she takes me up on the offer. (she didn't seem too taken by the idea at the time but you never know). i'm not sure where i'll move anything which probably means that it'll go from an eruption of crap to semi-organized crap, but i don't think she'll mind.

oh, and during all of this moving around of stuff i discovered that i'm a bit of a packrat and i should maybe try and stop doing that.

*Times They Are A-Changing - Bob Dylan

Sunday, June 16, 2013

harder than it sounds

the other day i was watching a live telethon raising money for the craig the genie pilot. (click here to read more about this pilot on kickstarter. and, you know, donate to it or whatever. they only have five days left to raise money and still about halfway to go.) anyway, whenever they hit a certain benchmark, one of the guys involved would do something. these somethings included internet challenges, one of which was the saltine challenge. now, i had never heard of the saltine challenge, and when they were explaining it i thought it sounded laughably easy. basically, you have to eat six saltines (including the crumbs) in a minute without drinking any water. joey richter, the one who attempted the challenge, couldn't do it, and i found that completely ridiculous. i mean, you just have to eat six crackers in a minute. that's so easy!

so yesterday i decided to try it. and oh my god let me tell you it is so much harder than it sounds. so. much. you eat the first cracker and feel great about yourself because you got it down in the ten seconds and it was easy and you feel like you have it in the bag. but every cracker after that one gets progressively harder to chew and swallow. it's like a giant mass of jaw-freezing glue just forms in your mouth and fighting it is like trying to fight off an annoying dragon that jumps in with a new story every time you open your mouth to talk and you just feel frustrated and hopeless and your mouth, that has been so faithful to you your whole life, is suddenly rendered completely useless. when time started running out, i ended up stuffing the remaining crackers in my mouth, but couldn't swallow them in the minute and so i failed. then my brother tried, and only got three and a half crackers done. my other brother tried and ate two before he started laughing so hard that he had to stop. my husband got all of them in his mouth but not swallowed, too. i had pretty much decided that the challenge was impossible by that point. and then my dad came along.

as i explained the challenge to my dad, he mocked it (like we all did) and said he could eat the whole packet without water. of course i made him do it after that, preparing my "i told you so!" speech in my head. he started the first cracker, taking a bite instead of shoving the whole thing in his mouth like the rest of us and i thought, "there's no way he can eat that slowly and finish six in a minute. he's going to lose for sure." but he continued eating them at his own pace and swallowed the last one with a few seconds to spare. needless to say, i was impressed.

i think i need to try it again with his strategy. you guys give it a shot, too, and see for yourself how much harder it is to do than to say.

*Forward Motion - Relient K

Friday, June 14, 2013

please don't turn around and grow up way too fast

i was twelve years old when my mom had the older of my two younger brothers. i had spent ten years of my life as the middle child of a family of five, and i had liked it that way. after living so long with two sisters, i wasn't quite sure what to do with a brother. none of us were. but we went baby crazy when he came home, and he's still one of my most favorite people ever.

anyway, almost thirteen years later, he graduated from sixth grade yesterday, and i couldn't be more proud of him. i know a lot of people who have issues with sixth grade graduations, who think that the first school milestone that should be given a graduation is the completion of high school, who think that giving kids sixth grade graduations is equivalent to giving everyone who tries a trophy and banning criticism, and to them i say that while i do agree that kids these days are being taught to take all criticism as a personal attack on themselves which i feel is hurting them more than being told that they could do better ever will, i find nothing wrong with a sixth grade graduation and they can stop trying to rain on my parade, thank you very much. 

the graduation was even more awesome than usual school assemblies, and that's saying something because i absolutely love elementary school assemblies. (for both the sappy reasons and for laughing at the children, because, come on, elementary boys are hilarious even whey they don't mean to be.)

point of the story here, though, is that my baby is all growed up. or at least very much on the way of becoming so. and that makes me both happy and very sad. 

*Hourglass - Mindy Gledhill

Monday, June 10, 2013

don't want to think about it, don't want to talk about it

i was planning to write about the busyness of my weekend. about my brothers sleeping over. about going laser tagging (for the first time!) and miniature golfing and to a burger competition. about tae kwon do graduations and the karate kid. but somewhere between the moment where i thought, "i really should blog something" and the time that i actually got on here, in which i ate lunch, finished a book, and watched girl in progress, well... i just don't feel like it anymore. i don't feel like doing much of anything.

i'm still in the period of trying to pretend that school does not exist and that i have no responsibilities outside of pottery class (i actually really like a bunch of the stuff i made this time. i might even devote a post to them if i ever get around to taking pictures. to anyone who cares, i finally made and glazed and got back my ice cream sandwich box and though it is too small to be a cookie jar it is still totally awesome and i love it.) and my family. it was pretty easy for a while, but suddenly school people are trying to contact me and talk about academics and i'm trying my hardest to say, "nooooo leave me alooone. it's summerrrr" in a dignified manner, but i'm not really sure if there is one.

i'm signed up for camp nanowrimo this july. i think i am going to use it to flesh out and  also edit my 2011 nano novel, but i might change my mind and use it to whip out a first draft of this novel idea i discussed with my brother almost a year ago that he keeps asking about. i think writing first drafts may be my favorite thing ever. and i have that creative itch where i wanna make something, so that should help. no ideas or real motivation to start anything yet, but the itch is there.

speaking of camp nanowrimo, for those of you who have "always wanted to try nano but just don't have the time" july is generally less busy than november so you should give it a shot. you won't regret it. i promise. and  camp nano is a lot less structured (i feel like that's the wrong word) than the regular nano. you can write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, whatever. you can create your own word goals. people have used it to research and to study for their gres. (i should probably use it for something academic, but i refuse.)

ugh. school.

*What Goes Around Comes Around - Justin Timberlake

Thursday, June 6, 2013

could be a good excuse

so i had to turn on captchas for comments, and i'm really sorry. i know how annoying it is to prove that you are not a spambot every time you want to add your two cents to a topic, but the number of spam comments was getting a little ridiculous. too many were tricking the spam filters and getting through. just this morning i had to delete at least ten spam comments from past blog posts. and while ten may not seem like a lot, it's still super annoying. so, captchas on.

this past weekend my cousin and his family (wife and daughter) came down to visit us. he's been getting his master's in new york at columbia for the past year and decided to see dc before he leaves the country again in december. we've developed a sort of expertise in touristy stuff around virginia and dc because of all of the relatives who decide that it's a cool place to visit. usually, though, they stay more than a couple of days. since this cousin was only here for the weekend, and we didn't want him to feel jipped of his tourist experience, we crammed a lot of stuff into those two and a half days. we did malls because for some reason they are always popular with the visitors, the zoo, old town alexandria, the air and space museum, all of the main monuments in dc as well as the capitol and white house, a trip to skyline caverns, as well as taking the time to do art projects and seesawing with the kid and watching soccer matches on tv. it was busy and required a lot of walking in the hot sun, but fun.

and his daughter is adorable. in the beginning, she could not seem to remember my sister's and my names for anything. for a while, she called me sammy and my sister musa (because apparently guy names are easier?) and then she started calling me yellow and my sister pink (because of the color shirts we were wearing). that seemed to stick the longest and so on sunday we decided to wear the same colored shirts so as not to confuse her. monday, though, the day they left, i wore pink and my sister wore yellow to see if she had learned to tell us apart. turns out she had and somehow managed to learn my name in her sleep and called me by it from the second she saw me. she still had a bit of trouble with my sister's, but most kids seem to have trouble with anisah. but yeah, she was definitely one of the most behaved kids to come visit us.

anyway, that was my weekend and why i was not blogging. i actually have a good excuse this time.

*It Could Be a Good Excuse - The Used