Tag Archives: personal life

Happy 100th Post!

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To me.

this is a copy of a drawing my friend misha made that he claimed represented my soul

this is a copy of a drawing my friend misha made that he claimed represented my soul

A few notes on what I’m reading lately:

Since I got laid off, I’ve been going through the some of the stages of grief- anger, denial, bargaining, depression- and am working up to acceptance. I’ve been numbing the pain with job applications, coffee, and a ton of books.

In brief, I loved re-reading a bunch of books I unpacked from my classroom. I finally started Pillars of the Earth, then dropped it in favor of a Sarah Dessen novel a good friend loaned me. I’m still working my way through the Isabel Dalhousie books, but am less enthused now that she’s (*SPOILER*) with her love interest. I’m almost done with Elder Leonid, and am still working my way slooooowly through Everyday Saints.

I’ve been depressed about politics, I’ve been finding new things to do in the city, and I’ve been seriously contemplating a move (looking at apartments next week!). I’ve also been working on a new blog that has nothing whatsoever to do with books, and I’ll tell you about it when it’s ready. Much more excitingly, I’m going to choir school in a week.

I just came across this list of top books for people in their twenties.  I couldn’t bring myself to read Into the Wild, and some of the others look a little too self-helpy for my taste, but my twenties are a-wasting. What do you think?

Happy Friday, y’all.

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Hello, March

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Hi, all. Some of you may have been wondering where I went. February was an absolutely atrocious month, involving pickpocketing, multiple car accidents, a show, and intense work/life drama (which I hope I’ll be able to discuss soon). Oh, and I was on crutches for a few weeks. To sum it up in pictures, it went something like this:

So, apologies for the absence, but unless you enjoy reading posts comprised completely of the letters “AAAAAAARGGGGGGGHHHHHH”, you should really be happy I’ve restrained myself till now.

Here’s what I’m reading to chase away those residual February blues:

Everyday Saints, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov

The Art of Prayer, Igumen Chariton

Beauty for Ashes, Stephen R. Lloyd-Moffett (just purchased!)

How to Lead a Holy Life, Metropolitain Gregory Postnikov (entire text available here)

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky (Kate and I are keeping each other accountable)

With the seventh grade, we’re about to start Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt. I’m close to done with  Elder Ambrose of Optina, by Sergius Chetverikov. While at my friend’s house I started reading Lenten Lands, which is by C. S. Lewis’s stepson and apparently provided the inspiration for the film Shadowlands (which is awesome). I liked it, but didn’t find it as gripping as A Severe Mercy. I didn’t get far in enough to tell though.

I also recently finished the following:

Drama, Raina Telgemeier

The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss (this one was a reread- starting book two again!)

I found a lovely children’s book on the life of St. Christopher. Check out the publisher for more!

At any rate, I think I’m at a point where I can start posting regularly again. This blog has proved a far more enjoyable pastime than I’d ever anticipated and I want to keep it up. Thanks for bearing with me in my absence. I hope that your February went more smoothly than mine. Happy reading!

Things I’m currently reading- New Year’s Edition!

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New Year’s Day baking

New Year’s Day baking

January has at last arrived. I’ve enjoyed a most glorious break. Though I’m not eager to get back to routine on Thursday, Comedy of Errors rehearsals will be quite delightful.

This is also the time of year when I’ll need to start reading scripts for next year’s productions. I’m also hoping to produce/direct something myself this summer- grad school is ever on the horizon.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of New Years!

Daily spiritual reading-

  1. The Bible (via http://jordanville.org)
  2. Elder Ambrose of Optina, Sergius Chetverikov
  3. On the Incarnation, St. Athansius

Pleasure reading-

  1. Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon Cider and Cold Sassy Tree
  2. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  3. M is for Magic, Neil Gaiman
  4. The List, Siobhan Vivian

Work-

  1. The Pushcart War, Jean Merrill
  2. The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare (reread)

Books that have been on hold, but want to finish-

  1. The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
  2. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  3. The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (but I WILL finish it)

Just finished-

  1. That Summer, Sarah Dessen (reread)
  2. Second Chances, Jane Green (reread)
  3. Adorkable, Sarra Manning
  4. Bad Monkeys, Matt Ruff
  5. Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman
  6. Death of the Endless, Neil Gaiman

Stopped because I couldn’t take it anymore-

1. n/a

Next up-

  1. Comedy of Errors, William Shakespeare (I’ll be reading this over, and over, and over…)
  2. Everyday Saints and Other Stories, Archimandrite Tikhon
  3. Antonin Artaud Selected Writings, ed. Susan Sontag
  4. Cabaret, Isherwood, Kander, and Ebb (script)

My New Year’s Resolutions

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it's 6000 something!

The Orthodox Church New Year is in September- tomorrow in fact. It makes waaaay more sense to me than having a somewhat arbitrarily chosen new year in January. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a January baby and love my month. But why on earth would anyone choose to have new beginnings in the most miserable, depressing, darkest part of the year? Everything feels more achievable when the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and people around you are making fresh starts. If you have a family, then your entire year arranges itself around the school calendar.

This past January, I made goals for 2012 instead of resolutions. They were:

1. Be brave.

2. Write more.

Up to this point, I think I’ve come a long way towards both those goals. I committed to this blog. I kept a daily journal for my entire trip to China. I wrote a letter a day from June 1st through August 16th. I hope the practice is paying off.

As for being brave… I can’t begin to tell you how much things have changed since January. On New Year’s Eve, I was unemployed, in a destructive relationship, almost out of money, crying every day, struggling horribly with trichotillomania, and terribly depressed about the future. Today I have a job that seems tailor made for my skills and interests. It may not be perfect, but I found it and earned it based on my own merits and it’s mine.  I have a very positive relationship with someone who makes me feel beautiful every day. He’s supportive, we share interests, and we go to church together. I have a car. How did that happen? I’m not sure. It’s a standard, and I bought it anyway. Getting in and driving took (literally) insane amounts of courage. I’ve been pull free for seven months, making this the second longest and most sustainable period since trich manifested at 10. I’ve taken a lot of risks since 1/1/12. I’ve staged a concert. I spoke in front of 4,000 people. I took seven adolescents to China and translated for them. I started dating again.

A few years ago, my wonderful book club friends and I decided that on Church New Year we would make resolutions pertaining to our spiritual lives. Mine was to read the Bible daily. It mostly stuck. It’s not perfect, of course, but with God’s help it’s become a habit.

This year my resolution is to read two more Optina Elders. It’s not especially ambitious, but it’s achievable (I hope- I’ve been working on Elder Barsanuphius since the beginning of Lent, and I still have about eighty pages to go). I would also like to discover more Orthodox writers (say… three?).  I’ll need your help with that.

Wherever you are, and whatever you believe in, a very happy new year to you.

Family Bookclub #3- Dad

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My Dad passed away seventeen years ago today. No one’s talked about it all day. Maybe no one’s thought about it- but I doubt it. I almost told some friends about it tonight, but we were watching So You Think You Can Dance, and how do you bring it up then? In between the dream sequence on the bed and the solo belly dance?

Anyway, the sting has mostly gone out of it. Time does that, it’s true. I feel the lack of a father in a more general sense than I specifically miss him. There are moments, though. Starting my new job, for instance.

Dad was an English teacher. He directed the school plays for a few years, too. He provided my first experience with imagery in literature in a kitchen table lecture on Macbeth. At seven and twelve (eight and thirteen?) my brother and I couldn’t grasp the “double, double” scene. When Dad explained why people were popping out of that cauldron, the foreshadowing blew my pre-pubescent mind. It’s strange to think that I’ll be doing the same thing for slightly older children in just a few weeks.

Since he’s gone, I’m not able to list his favorite books. I know he liked Shakespeare. He chose The Pajama Game as the school musical once. He used to recite poetry to my mother. So I leave you with a fragment of a fragment of a memory:

She Walks in Beauty
-Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 

Perhaps I lied. I still miss him.

Six on Saturday

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1. I was in Minnesota this past week, introducing Bill Cosby at a conference, in front of four thousand people. Of the many random things I’ve done in my life, this is one of the randomest. (Most random?) I think it was a success. Even if it wasn’t, they cared way more about Cosby than me, so I fulfilled the chief requirements of speaking audibly and not passing out onstage.

2. MY KINDLE IS DEAD. IT WAS FINE LAST NIGHT. NOW IT IS NOT. I FOUND THIS OUT ON THE SUBWAY WITH NOTHING ELSE TO READ. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

3. This meant, of course, that I needed to stop and buy a new book. So I did.  Tragic, huh? (FYI- I usually post images of the edition I’m reading, but Amazon didn’t have one.) While buying at an awesome bookstore, the lovely book seller told me that this was one of his favorites. While searching, I realized just how many books they didn’t have that I’m looking for…

4. Including The Pillars of the Earth, The Wise Man’s Fear, and Outlander. I’m on a fantasy kick (or at least want to be). I also hoped to find A Clockwork Orange, which I was about 30% through when Kindle kicked the bucket. I’m still on my quest to find a used/cheap copy of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of The Brothers Karamazov.  I searched Minneapolis high and low, but the Midwest proved as barren as the greater Boston area.

5. My 30 before 30 list contains few SFF books, but it’s been zipping along. If you check the updated page, you’ll see that I’ve already finished Wuthering Heights and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I’m in the middle of a few others. In fact, I may be zipping along a little too fast. I do have to stretch this out until 2016. Suggestions for slowing down (book recommendations!) welcome.

6. I need plays to read that would be appropriate for high school or middle school productions. Your thoughts?

Happy Saturday, y’all.

Yikes

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I’ve been seriously neglecting this blog for a few weeks because I am a) crazy busy and b) dead tired. Don’t believe me? Here are a few of the things that have happened in the past two weeks…

-helping boyfriend move out

-saying a traumatizing goodbye to boyfriend as he flies to Moscow

– a four day slightly ironic Russian monastery retreat

-two interviews

-full volunteering at puppet theater

-weekly other volunteering

-major church holidays

-meetings about the upcoming trip to Beijing

-lesson planning

-job applications

-insomnia

-continuation of serious family issues

-said family visits to discuss serious issues

Sorry y’all. I am reading too! Lots and lots and lots. (But did you expect anything less?) The June reading update will be um, updated tomorrow.

 

Book hot tip- if you like SFF, go out and buy The Name of the Wind right now. You won’t regret it. In fact, if you like good books at all, go out and buy The Name of the Wind right now.