Words You Say Never Seem To Live Up To The Ones Inside Your Head

I’ve always liked quotes.  That’s probably a strange thing to like, but I always appreciated that no matter what you’re dealing with, how you’re feeling, or what you want to say, there’s a quote for that.

I’ve mentioned before that I used to write in a LiveJournal.  I actually wrote it in off and on for 7 years, and the majority of my entries contained a “quote of the day” at the end.  I usually tried to make the quotes match up with the topic of my entry, though many times it was just something I liked.

So today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite quotes with you.  This is in no way a complete list, but it’s a start.  (Hopefully they’re all accurate as well … According to my online sources they are, but I don’t have the time or patience to watch every movie/TV episode or flip through every book most of these come from to be 100% sure.)  Also, please note … These are in no particular order.

This week’s list: Ten Of My Favorite Quotes (That Are Not Taken From Song Lyrics)

10.) “You can’t be a proper writer without a touch of madness, can you?” – Madeleine LeClerc Quills

9.) “Memory can change the shape of a room.  It can change the color of a car.  And memories can be distorted.  They’re just an interpretation.  They’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.” – Leonard Shelby Memento

8.) “We feel the need to pour out our hearts to a given person, to surrender, to sacrifice everything.  In such a meeting no words are necessary: each senses the other’s thoughts.  Each is the answer to the other’s dreams.” – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

7.) “A condom is the glass slipper for our generation.  You slip one on when you meet a stranger.  You dance all night, and then you throw it away.  The condom, I mean, not the stranger. – Marla Singer Fight Club

6.) “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner

5.) “Holding anger is a poison.  It eats you from inside.  We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us.  But hatred is a curved blade.  And the harms we do, we do to ourselves.” – The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

4.) “Now the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art.  Many dos and don’ts.  First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel.  This is a delicate thing.” – Rob Gordon High Fidelity

3.) “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back.  Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.” – Carrie Bradshaw Sex and the City

2.) “We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things.  Words without experience are meaningless.” – Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

1.) “No matter how careful you are, there’s going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn’t experience it all.  There’s that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should’ve been paying attention.  Well, get used to that feeling.  That’s how your whole life will feel some day.  This is all practice.” – Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

If anyone reading this feels like commenting, what are some of your favorite quotes?

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That What You Fear The Most Could Meet You Halfway …

So I’ve finally finished my second book of 2014 and have moved on to my third.  I’m actually making a lot of progress with my third novel, though, so hopefully I’ll have yet another new book review to post next week.

This week’s Saturday Book Club post is all about the book I just finished, though.

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Image courtesy of www.barnesandnoble.com.

A Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne

470 pages

After reading only a couple of chapters in this book, I was kind of dreading the thought of suffering through the rest.  To start, there were a ton of spelling and grammatical errors.  That always annoys me.  I understand that sometimes it’s easy to overlook a mistake or two before a book goes to print, but seriously … Where were the editors on this one?  One of the main characters even has her name butchered in the last third or so of the book.  I was like, “What?  How could no one catch such an obvious mistake?”

I know I just sounded like an incredibly pretentious asshole, and I’m sorry for that.  Like I said, I understand that mistakes happen.  I guess I just feel like so many people read and edit and then reread and make more corrections in the publishing process that it’s hard to understand how simple spelling errors slip through.  Maybe I’m the only person who cares about this sort of thing though.  (If so, sorry for the rant!)

In addition to errors, the beginning was slow.  Readers are introduced to a bunch of characters in various periods of time (including a younger version of the aforementioned main character, Simone), and the chapters skip around between them without much warning.  I’m usually a fan of books that skip around in time because they often offer glimpses into events in a character’s life that may help explain why certain things are happening in the present.  With A Dark Dividing, there was almost too much going on … At least within a single chapter.

The novel begins with an introduction to Harry Fitzglen, a journalist working at a London gossip rag (and hating every minute of it), who has been given an assignment to cover a new art gallery opening.  His boss isn’t just interested in the art gallery (or even the socialite who funded it), though … He wants more information about a photographer being featured there, Simone Marriott.  He has suspicions that she’s actually Simone Anderson, one of a set of conjoined twins with a mysterious family history.

The focus then shifts to diary extracts from 1899.  These are written by a woman named Charlotte Quinton, who is expecting twins at the time the diary entries begin.  Charlotte’s entries are scattered throughout the novel and span about 15 years.  As the story progresses, we learn that the Quinton twins are conjoined.

In addition to these characters, readers are introduced to present day Simone Marriott/Anderson and, a bit later, a younger Simone.  The glimpse into her past allowed Sarah Rayne to give readers a more complete picture of what happened to Simone’s conjoined twin sister following their separation surgery and why she and her mother were constantly moving around England.  We also get to know Simone’s mother, Melissa Anderson, and her husband, Joe.  Their story begins around the time that Melissa discovers she’s expecting twins … Conjoined twins.

And then there’s Roz Raffan, a nurse working with the obstetrician who will be delivering Melissa’s twins (and later working to create a top-notch surgical team to separate them).  Roz was, for me, one of the most interesting characters.  She wasn’t overly interesting in the beginning and only made a few minor appearances, but as the novel progressed, she became an important part of the story.  I don’t want to spoil too much in case anyone reading this decides to pick up the book, but I will say that she was interesting because she was so batshit crazy.

Obviously there were several subplots going on in the book.  And if that wasn’t enough, Rayne tossed in another.  Harry gets his hands on an old, out of print novel written by none other than Charlotte Quinton’s secret lover, Floy.  This book within a book appears multiple times throughout and appears just as suddenly as all of the other subplots.  And while I understand why she included the excerpts from Floy’s novel, it became kind of distracting since readers were also “treated” (I’ll use that term loosely) to Harry’s reactions as he read it.

I really wanted to like this book a lot, and at times I did.  There were definitely sections that were pretty suspenseful, and each time I hit one of those, I found myself wanting to stay glued to the pages.  Unfortunately, there were also sections that just sort of dragged on.  I think she definitely could have cut some of these things out (such as Charlotte’s descriptions of World War 1, which honestly weren’t that important to the overall story) and easily shortened the novel by 50 or even 100 pages.

I almost feel as though Sarah Rayne read House of Leaves and thought, “I’m going to do something like that.”  (By the way, that book is seriously complex and fascinating … And it literally took me something like 6 months to finish it because it is so complex.)  But A Dark Dividing could not even begin to compare to that book.  Though, to be fair, I doubt many authors could create something like that.

Overall, A Dark Dividing presented some interesting plot twists, a few sections of suspense, and I thought Rayne did a nice job of connecting all of the subplots to one another.  However, my issues with the large number of errors, several boring sections that I had to force myself through, and the cheesy ending (even one of the characters makes a reference to the situation being kind of cheesy) were enough to knock the rating down a bit.

That said, I give A Dark Dividing TWO STARS.  If I gave half stars with my ratings, it would probably be bumped to two and a half stars since it wasn’t absolutely terrible … But I felt kind of “meh” after reading it.  Although I own it, I doubt I’ll read it in the future.  I may have to take it to a used bookstore or something to see if I can trade it for something else.

In Your Eyes I See And Feel It All

This week I’ve decided to continue working through my 30 day blogging challenge for my Friday Lounge post.  (I kind of need to do this … Otherwise I may never finish!)

So today I’ll share a date I would love to go on.

I’ve had some really great dates over the years.  They haven’t all been extravagant, but sometimes little things like discovering a new favorite place to eat (even if it’s kind of a hole in the wall) make for the best dates.

The date idea I’ll be sharing today is something I didn’t even know was a thing until very recently.  I mean, I knew these types of classes existed (and I’ve wanted to take one for quite a while!) … But I wasn’t really sure where to find a one time class that would be ideal for a couple.

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This is a picture of the local Whole Foods, though I can’t take credit for taking it.  Image courtesy of http://www.weitz.com.

I’m talking about cooking classes. 

Apparently Whole Foods offers these types of classes pretty regularly.  At $25/person, they seem like a pretty good deal.  I just searched through the February events and realized there was a class yesterday evening.  This is kind of a bummer since the meal we’d be learning to prepare sounds like something we’d both want to have often: shrimp alla Santorini over orzo, meatballs with a side of tzatziki, and chocolate baklava triangles.

Now that I know about these classes, though, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for a good one.  Eric and I already enjoy cooking together, so I think a cooking class would be a fun date for us. 

If anyone reading this feels like commenting, what are some of your favorite date ideas?

I’m A Slow Motion Accident

I’m starting to get a little annoyed with the 30 day blogging challenge I started.  When I first found it on Pinterest, I was excited because it didn’t ask a bunch of the same old “What do you have in your purse?” kind of questions you typically see in these kinds of challenges.  But I guess I didn’t read everything that carefully in the beginning because as I go down the list, I find myself thinking that a lot of the topics are kind of lame.

This week, for example, I’m supposed to share things I want to say to an ex.

On June 2nd, Eric and I will be celebrating 7 years together.  Obviously that means that all of my other relationships ended quite a while ago.  At this point, then, I think everything that needs to be said has been said already.  I mean, each of those relationships ended for a reason … And those reasons don’t really matter anymore.  I’m not totally heartless or anything.  I’ve just (obviously) moved on with my life, and I’m sure they have as well.

So this week I’ll be writing about something else.  I haven’t done a “Blast from the past” post in quite a while (since August!), so I’ve decided to share a funny anecdote from my younger years.  

This week’s blast from the past post: The pigtail incident

When I was in first grade, my mom often put my hair in pigtails for school.  I wish I had a picture of myself from that time period available to give an accurate visual, but it looked something like this:

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Again, this is not me (though that’s probably obvious).  I thought this picture was cute, though, and my hair was about that length and about that thick at the time of this story.  Image courtesy of djuqyguns.blogspot.com.

I was sitting in front of a boy in class one day, minding my own business.  Suddenly, I heard a noise … Kind of a “snip.”  

Yeah … He cut my hair.  In class.

To make matters worse, he cut a few inches off of only one pigtail.  So there I was, lopsided for a day.  I’m pretty sure I cried at some point because, you know, he cut my hair in class.  (Plus, I was only 6 years old … So it was pretty traumatic!)

As soon as the teacher realized what had happened, he got in trouble.  She also swept up the hair he cut off and put it in a plastic Ziploc bag for him to take home (along with a note to his mother explaining what happened).  I have no idea if he actually took it home or not (or if his mom ever saw the sad clump of hair), but it made me feel a little better at the time.

I had to have my hair evened out later, of course.  It sucked at the time, but at least it gives me a funny story to share now!

Sandpaper Tears Corrode The Film

This is the final week of my four part wedding day look series.  If you missed any of the previous posts in the series and want to check them out, you can find them here:

And today I’ll be sharing pictures from my hair and makeup trial.

I know plenty of people who didn’t bother with a hair and/or makeup trial prior to their wedding day.  And while it would have definitely saved me some money, I thought it was totally worth it.  For me, it was about peace of mind … I didn’t want to go into the salon the morning of my wedding without knowing what to expect.  I was already anxious enough … I didn’t want to have to worry about what my hair and makeup would end up looking like on top of everything else!

With regard to makeup, I decided I really wanted the following:

  • False eyelashes
  • Smoky eyes
  • Barely there lip color
  • Natural looking makeup with just a bit of drama in the eyes

This is what I ended up with:

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Please ignore the mess in the background.  Cleaning wasn’t exactly high on our list of priorities in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  Personal photo.

I feel a little awkward posting a picture like this of my face, but it’s the best one I took after coming home from the salon.  I loved the false eyelashes so much that I really want to try putting them on again sometime in the future, maybe for a nice dinner out or other special occasion.  I’m a little intimidated by the idea of putting them on myself, though!  Overall, I thought the makeup artist really understood what I wanted and I was pleased with the result.

I shared my Sara Gabriel hair wrap in my accessories post.  I originally thought I’d end up with it wrapped around my head in a way similar to a headband, but when I showed it to my hair stylist (along with several pictures from Pinterest that I liked), she had a more interesting idea.

With regard to hair, I decided I really wanted the following:

  • Soft, romantic updo
  • Loose curls
  • Some texture (possibly in the form of braids, though I knew they might not show up really well in my black hair)

I don’t usually like the way I look with my hair up, so it was kind of odd that I decided on an updo for my wedding day.  The thing was, I didn’t want my hair to start looking really rough by the end of the night (which would be very possible since the ceremony was outdoors and Nebraska is fucking windy).  That doesn’t happen to every bride who wears her hair down, of course, but I’ve seen and read enough to know that a fairly large percentage of brides who wore their hair down for their wedding later regretted it because it didn’t look that great as the night wore on.  Additionally, I knew I wanted to dance and have fun during the reception and didn’t want my hair in my face.

I tried to get some pictures at different angles because I wanted to send them to my mom to see what she thought, but I also knew I’d be eventually posting them to this blog.  I still feel kind of weird about sharing these pictures because, well, who (besides teenage girls) takes a million selfies to share on the internet?  But this was a huge part of the wedding planning process … So I should probably share it.

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Personal photo.

The lighting in that picture wasn’t amazing, but it’s the only decent shot I managed to get from the front.  On the actual day of the wedding, the stylist added quite a bit of volume (which I hated at first, but I’ll go into more detail on that in another post!).

And now for my favorite part … The back!

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Personal photo.

Eric actually took the pictures of the side and back for me.  I didn’t really want him to see it beforehand, but since we lived together way before we were even engaged, that was pretty much impossible.  I figured I’d probably look a little different on the actual day of the wedding anyway (and I did!), and I managed to keep the dress a secret (even though it was hanging in our guest closet once alterations were complete).

And the side:

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Personal photo.

You can kind of see the braids in this picture, but, as I said earlier, they didn’t show up that well since my hair is so dark.  On the day of the wedding I thought they were maybe even a little less obvious.  I got a lot of compliments on my hair, though, so it ended up looking good regardless of whether or not the braids were really noticeable.

My actual wedding day hair wasn’t quite as loose as it was in the trial.  I was pretty bummed when it didn’t look exactly like the trial (though I guess I should have expected that it would never look exactly the same), but I think it was probably for the best.  My hair stayed put all night (minus a couple of strands here or there), and I think if it had been as loose as it was after the trial, it would have maybe lasted through the ceremony.  I guess that’s the trade-off.

I’ll discuss the getting ready process (and the final hair and makeup looks) a bit more when I get into the wedding day recaps, but there are still a few more things I want to cover before then.  If anyone is reading this, hopefully you enjoyed the four part wedding day look series!

I’m Watching Through My Own Light As It Tints The Shade Of You

I’m not sure if I’ve discussed our grocery shopping habits in this blog before, so if I have, sorry … I’m going to do it again.  (There’s a point to this, I promise.)

About once a month, we make a big grocery shopping trip.  Or, to be more accurate, Eric makes a big grocery shopping trip.  Since I tend to cook most of the meals, I spend time researching recipes I’d like to try, make a list, and then Eric buys all of the ingredients.  This works well for us … He often has days off during the week (whereas I work Monday through Friday), so he’s able to hit the stores when they’re less crowded.  He also doesn’t really mind grocery shopping, which is awesome because I hate it.  (Though, to be fair, I probably hate it because it’s so damn crowded on the weekends and in the evenings after work.)  We each go to the store periodically to pick up essentials (like fruit, milk, etc.), but the big grocery trip usually only happens once a month.

When I’m making my list, I usually ask Eric if there’s anything specific he wants me to make in the next few weeks.  The last time I asked, he said he was really craving a white chili.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect chili recipe.  I posted a pretty good recipe a few weeks ago (that can be found here: I’ve Been Making Money Off My Indifference), but it still wasn’t the one.

To be honest, the recipe I’m about to share with you isn’t the one either.  It was good, but it definitely could use some tweaking.  I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do to change it in the future, but it was good enough to share (and to make again in order to try to make it even better).

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As you can see from my picture, it’s great with a sprinkle of Colby Jack cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top!  Personal photo.

Creamy White Chicken Chili

Recipe taken from allshecooks.com.

Adapted by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 3 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts, and that was plenty of meat.)
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp jarred, pre-minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 15 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 4 oz. cans diced green chilies
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sour cream (I highly recommend garnishing your chili with extra sour cream!)
  • Colby Jack or Pepper Jack cheese for garnishing (I highly recommend this as well!)

Instructions:

1.) Layer the uncooked chicken, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, Great Northern beans, diced green chilies, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and chicken broth in a crockpot.

2.) Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

3.) When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the crockpot and place it on a plate.  Shred the chicken thoroughly with two forks and return it to the crockpot.

4.) At the end of the cook time, stir in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream until warmed through.

5.) Enjoy!  As I mentioned in my picture caption, this tastes great with a little cheese and sour cream on top (and some extra cilantro, which I didn’t mention in the caption but is obviously there).  I didn’t make any rice to go with it this time (I know I’ve mentioned before that I love rice with chili), so maybe that’s part of the reason I felt this recipe was lacking something.  I didn’t make any side dishes because I was feeling kind of lazy the day I made this, but I think something simple like chips and salsa and/or guacamole would taste great with this chili.

The Closer I Get, The Further I Have To Go

I wrote about the Neutral Milk Hotel tour in this blog a while ago.  I was initially pretty bummed because it looked as though they were only touring the southeastern United States and then hitting some international locations.  I remember thinking, “Maybe, just maybe, they’ll stumble across this blog and see they have fans who really want them to come to the Midwest.”  (It sounds stupid and crazy, but the name of this blog was taken from a line in one of their songs … So it might not be that crazy if one of the band members was, for whatever reason, Googling that particular line.  I mean, it’s still kind of crazy … But stranger things have happened!)

Not long after that post, they added new tour dates on their website.  I like to think I had something to do with the fact that they were suddenly coming to Kansas City (a city I specifically mentioned in my previous post), but I probably didn’t.  Though, if I did, that would be so fucking awesome.

Anyway, Eric and I packed up and drove the 3 hours to Kansas City late Thursday afternoon to make the February 13th show.  And it was definitely worth the trip!

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Unfortunately this is the only picture I have to remember the night.  The band very specifically asked that absolutely no video or pictures be taken during the show.  There were, of course, some assholes in the audience who apparently didn’t give a shit, but I was not one of those people.  That just … Really bothers me.  I mean, there were literally signs everywhere, and they made an announcement right before the band came on … Obviously they really didn’t want videos and pictures of the show floating around.  I don’t think it’s that hard to put down your phone for a few hours to enjoy the moment.  But whatever … Rant over!  Personal photo.

I’d never heard of the opening act, Elf Power, prior to purchasing tickets for the show.  (There was at least one diehard fan in the audience, though.  After they finished a song, he shouted, “That’s like my third favorite song of yours!”  It was kind of funny in a really weird way.)  I was pleasantly surprised by their set, which was mostly filled with high energy songs.  When I checked them out on Spotify, I was shocked to see that they’ve released 11 albums (or possibly more, if Spotify doesn’t have them all available) over the span of almost 20 years!  I don’t know how I’ve never heard of them, but I’m excited to start listening to their music on a regular basis.

After Elf Power’s set ended, I waited impatiently for more.  And then, after what felt like an eternity, Jeff Mangum appeared (barely recognizable, I might add, since he had an extremely full beard) and began playing “Two-Headed Boy” alone.  At the end of the song, the rest of the band stepped onstage and went straight into “The Fool.”  It was kind of awesome because that’s honestly how I hear the songs in my head when I think about them … The entire In the Aeroplane Over the Sea album just flows so well that certain songs just seem to fit.

I doubt I’ll remember every song that was played that night, but I do know that they played several non album tracks, including “Ferris Wheel on Fire” and the closing song, “Engine.”  They also covered the majority of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, including the title track (which made Eric happy since he actually really likes that song).  In addition, they played several songs from their debut album, On Avery Island.

I think that overall they played a great mix of songs.  If I could have changed one thing about the setlist, I would have added “Three Peaches” because I absolutely love that song.  Knowing the (supposed) backstory, though, I honestly wasn’t expecting them to play it.  If what I’ve read is true, it seems like it could potentially be too painful to play that for an audience.

My personal favorites that were played that night were as follows (in no particular order):

  • “Oh Comely”
  • “Holland, 1945”
  • “Song Against Sex”
  • “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”
  • “Two-Headed Boy”
  • “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2”
  • “The Fool”
  • “A Baby for Pree/Glow Into You”

The show was amazing, though, and I really enjoyed every song they played … Those are just a few of the songs I was most excited to hear live.  I even got a little teary during “Oh Comely.”  I used to play that song on repeat when I was dealing with some rough shit years ago.

I can’t wait to see them again next month here in Omaha (because once just isn’t enough, obviously)!