Friday, March 30, 2007

For writers who like to travel

My friend Jonathan just went to Timbuktu. He's still in Africa, where he plans to remain for a while, experiencing things and writing about his experiences.

Every year or two, he travels around the world for several months. He is also a writer. And, for the past three years, he has sponsored a writing contest, the prize being a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the world (!) Jonathan has asked people to get the word out, so if you like to write and you'd like to travel, here's a link to the contest details.

This year, he's accepting poetry, in addition to fiction/non-fiction/prose, and (along with your writing sample) you have to submit a little thing about yourself and why you want to travel (you have to specify which country, it's not an open-ended thing). Your entry cannot have been previously published. If you win, you have to go to a country you've never been before. And he gets to publish your winning entry online.

That's it! So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Six inches

This is one of the photographs that hangs in my dark basement cube.

Now when I say I work in a dark basement cube, I'm not kidding. I'm in the basement of one of the state buidings, and there are two windows, both of which are set far below ground level. Sometimes, I walk over to the windows (both located in other people's cubes) and look up at what the weather might be doing. On occasion, one can tell whether it's sunny or precipitating, but not much more than that.

I took this photograph last spring in the park near our house. It's a blooming crabapple tree, one of the beautiful reminders of what spring truly is here in Colorado - after a winter of gray and black and white and stark and colorless, the world erupts in green and pink and yellow and purple, color suddenly everywhere. Spring doesn't last long, at least, not what you might think of as spring - the hot weather usually starts mid-May. But for those few short weeks of spring, I rejoice in the green and the flowers and the color everywhere, while also enjoying the sun on my (sunscreened, of course, I wear it all year) face - come summer, I wear a hat to further help shield my skin from the sun, a mile closer than where I grew up.

Through the fall and winter, as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, working in the dark basement cube can be kind of debilitating. I have to make sure I get outside at least once a day for a minute or two to take advantage of any sun there might be. This winter, there was very little until a few weeks ago, and then suddenly it was in the 60s and 70s, spring before the trees and flowers were ready for it to be spring. The photograph in my cube is a burst of color on the dark gray fabric wall, something to catch my eye and make me smile on days that I might not otherwise remember to do so. I've been reveling in the nice weather, waiting for the other shoe to drop, because this is spring in Colorado and I'm no idiot.

Hulk has taken a bunch of pictures today of what it looks like in Denver right now. A few trees had started blooming (though not the crabapples), a few other trees had tentatively put out leaves. I knew that the lack of leaves so late in the year meant the trees were unwilling to put up with a late season snow killing their initial efforts, so I've been expecting more snow. Also, March is typically Colorado's snowiest month, and we hadn't yet had any here. The news last night predicted snow - but they didn't predict the six inches plus we'd had accumulate overnight, turning the backyard from green and welcoming into white and cold, and I had to wear tights and my stupid clompy boots again, after wearing sandals a few times in the last few weeks.

This is what it currently looks like on the outside of the building where my dark basement cube lurks. The plum tree is bent with the weight of flowers, leaves, and wet spring snow, so different from yesterday's 65 and sunny. It's snowed since sometime in the night, and it's still snowing. Now I am just grateful we had a few weeks of warm before this latest storm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tradition and ritual

I was thinking today about the best New Year's Eve I ever experienced. I think it was the '99/00 New Year's, and the evening started off wtih College Boyfriend and I attending a swanky party up in the area where I grew up. Said party was also attended by the moneyed kids, whose parents owned second or vacation homes in the area, and several people I'd gone to preschool/elementary school with. So anyhow, we got all dressed up and went to the party, and it was the most phony scene ever. The only person there who was even a little bit genuine was Oldest Friend who had invited us. The rest of the crowd consisted of bored rich college kids who were already disaffected with life, or ambitious social-ladder-climbing college kids who were trying to get the rich kids to marry them. There was very little festive about the event, other than the expensive alcohol, and after an hour or so College Boyfriend and I left to go to another party.

This second party was held at the ranch where another college friend's parents lived. Hippies still living mostly off the grid, their house was glass and plants and new-age things, with a sleeping loft above and a well-limed outhouse a short walk away. The party was primarily attended by our college friends or other friends who'd grown up in in the area, and while there was drinking and such, there was also great merriment, with music, singing, a huge bonfire, and dancing. The dancing was nothing formal - more a tribal need to move one's body rhythmically around a fire because it was a beutiful starry clear night and people were playing music. The party was indoors, outdoors, filling the house and the surrounding area with noise and celebration, with no pretense or ennui to be found. Everyone there was real, and feeling real things, having real emotions, celebrating a signifcant event in a very human way. I look back on that night, and some others similar experiences I've had dancing around fires on the beach or at the cabin or at Burning Man, other nights spent in the company of friends, everybody full of joy and participating in making the event a community effort, and realize how lucky I am to have had those experiences. Because if I have to choose between a dirty hippie party and using an outhouse but get to experience that true community again, or a rich kid party where everything is phony, give me hairy armpits every time.

In doing a lot of reading about weddings recently, I've come across quite a few things written about wedding ettiquette and wedding planning from a variety of perspectives. While I agree with what most have to say about weddings and what NOT to do, there's one bit of proper ettiquette that keeps sticking in my craw. See, according to Miss Manners etc., one is only allowed to have one wedding. For me, that's no big deal - I'm only having one. But I've had friends have to work with situations where it made sense to get legally married (ie, sign some paperwork) long before they've been able to have the community celebrations they were already planning. I've heard of people who needed to do the legal thing for immigration or deployment or medical insurance reasons, and I can understand the argument that the legal wedding is the wedding, and you don't get to do it over. But there's no reason (in my opinion) to consider signing some paperwork a wedding unless that's what it means to you and your partner. To me, the wedding (and the whole reason we're having one) is to make a formal commitment in front of friends and family - the couple's community, one might say - a commitment that says We Declare We are Family. Whether that commitment involves a religious ceremony or just some words said by a friend, the important thing is that the couple delares their intentions before the community. If one signs paperwork in front of a judge, but doesn't feel like that was the true community-witnessed or religiously-witnessed commitment, I don't think people should feel bad for wanting to have that sort of an event, even if the paperwork's been signed.

Weddings are one of the few times in this modern life that people subscribe a large amount of tradition and ritual to an event. It's one of the only days that one gets to play an age-old role, something that is inherantly important to the community as well as the couple involved. It upsets me greatly that there are a large number of people in this country who want to get married and cannot - they can have the public commitment, but they don't get the legal rights that go along with, just as ettiquette says that those who do the legal paperwork out of necessity don't get to have the public commitment at a later time. To both of those things, I say fie.

One of the things I hope to feel at our wedding is that sense of hummanness and connection, that the rituals we go through on that day and the people who help shape the event and attend in support will feel truly real. No phonies allowed. I'm not particularly interested in the WIC trappings, nor am I particularly interested in just the legal bits (if that were the case, we could have done it years ago, as CO is common-law and all you have to do is say you are husband and wife in public). What I am interested in is participating in an age-old human tradition to tell our community that we are a team. I think we're very lucky to have the legally-appropriate genders, and circumstances aren't forcing us to break our commitment down into a governmental institution. Because as indie as I seem to be, I think some forms of tradition and ritual are very important to people and communities, and I think everyone needs a dose of real connection in this age of isolation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Max and Laura won, and I have nobody with whom to discuss it!

Yes. I admit it.

I did watch (some of) the uber-cheesy reality show "Grease: You're the one that we want!", a show modeled after one from the UK in which the lead roles of Sandy and Danny for the Broadway revival of "Grease" were chosen by the American people over the last several months. The show played on Sunday nights, and so it wasn't always convenient to watch, but when I had an opportunity I did tune in to see who auditioned, who was good, who was bad, and who was really creepy. I liken my interest in this show to that of my interest in "So you Think You Can Dance," one of my summer obsessions for the last couple of years. I love dance and musical theater, so it stands to reason that I'd be interested in a show that highlights talented people, plus I have fond childhood memories of the movie "Grease," since it was the first movie we ever recorded off the TV when we got our first VCR in 1986. I watched that damn thing over and over; I know all the lyrics to all the songs (except the few that were cut for time/schedule, like the one Rizzo sings), and my mom had the soundtrack record album that I loved to play. (Aside: kids these days probably don't understand the reference "like a broken record," do they? Nobody except DJs and music uber-geeks play records anymore).

I love watching talented people perform. I love going to the theater, the ballet, or even hearing someone I know sing and play guitar. This show, despite it's over-the-top cheez factor, was a way for me to get my "talented amateur makes good" fix while waiting for SYTYCD. I watched the first "real" show, with all six potential Dannys and Sandys (seven of each, if you cout the stunt they pulled, but those two were appropriately booted that first week), and I held my nose and tried not to notice the filler and double-hosted ridiculousness. Dannys ranged from being called "Hot Danny" to "Slacker Danny" and Sandys from "Baby Sandy" to "Religious Sandy" because obviously the audience needed to be told what to think about each of the contestants in the first show. I think I saw parts of 2 or 3 other shows, and the ones I didn't see got recapped brililantly by the forum members of Television Without Pity. This was a wonderful way for me to get filled in on the goings-on without having to actually TRY to see the show.

The last show was on this past Sunday night, and I'd seen the previous one as well, whcn it went from 3 vying for each role to 2. The final two of each were quite different - Austin, the professional, who looked nothing like a Danny and desperately tried to come off as cool and heterosexual, and Max, the somewhat funny-looking guy who came alive each time he performed, and exuded Danny-ness from the first show, were the final two Danny candidates, and I'd picked Max to win from the beginning. The Sandy finalists were the best of the group, but neither of them were particularly notable - the one I liked better won, despite being a brunette, but she never really convinced me she'll be Sandy. Honestly, though, the character of Sandy is an ingenue, rather than a real character like Rizzo, and you just have to sing well, look pretty, and go from naive to sexy over the course of the show. Not too difficult. Anyhow, I was really on the edge of my seat when they announced who would play Danny, though I knew from reading the TWoP boards that the vast majority of them were Max fans like me.

Immediately after the show was over, I was happy and excited and wanted to find out what other people were saying about the results. But the TWoP boards weren't working. Nor were they working on Monday or (thus far) today. I simly can't go any longer without sharing with SOMEONE how I felt about the stupid show, how glad I was that Max won, even though I'll never see him perform the role of Danny. So there you go. I'd save you all from having to read about it, just as I refrained from blogging about SYTYCD and I mostly refrain from blogging about ANTM, but it appears as though you're my only hope.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Good Advice Mondays; project updates

*If you're going to try to hang a bird feeder somewhere in your backyard, and your backyard is frequented by squirrels, don't try. They'll figure out how to get to it homehow, and either chew through the cord or jump on it over and over again until the cord breaks. Then the birdseed will spill out everywhere and they can take their sweet time about stealing and eating it.

*Matisyahu makes excellent workout accompaniment. You don't have to pay attention to the lyrics, but you might wonder about why your born-again cousins are so into him, since he's Hassidic Jewish. I do.

I'm almost halfway done with the current baby blanket, for a little one due in April sometime. It's going pretty quickly, and I hope to have it done before she arrives. Then I've got two more to make for fall. I think I need to make something else in between, though. Definitely need a little break from blanketmaking - I need more immediate gratification, as even quick baby blankets take a long-ass time to knit.

The recipient of the complicated and time consuming blanket was born on Thursday via elective c-section - despite my friend's height and build, they were a little concerned about her trying to push the little guy out, since he was measuring so big. She said they were mostly worried about his shoulder dislocating. So he came into the world nearly two weeks early, weighing 9lbs4oz. Imagine how big he would have been had they waited until her due date! Welcome to the world, baby Neel.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars

Hear Ye Hear Ye:

Let it be known to all and sundry (but not necessarily All and Sundry) that after several weeks of tearing our hair out and lack of sleep, we have officially picked a date. We've had to work around three other weddings, two school schedules, one graduation, and one Foreign Service assignment, all in the next 18 months, and we're still going to be able to do the thing outside:

March 23, 2008


(yep, it's a year from yesterday. When we realized that last night, we got a little kick out of it)
(and it will definitely be in Northern California)

Oh my Og, those of you who read this may never know how stressful this whole thing was for me (and us, of course). I sincerely hope that it's the most drama-laden thing that comes along with this whole shindig, and the rest will be sunshine and lollipops. Dammit.

Friday, March 23, 2007

All of these things are true but one

1. One of my relatives has won several Oscars.

2. I have been in one take of one scene in a movie (it wasn't the take used in the final film.)

3. I remember watching the Challenger blow up on TV; my classroom was watching the live broadcast. I was only six, so I don't think I really understood the full meaning of the event, but some of the older kids and the teachers were very upset.

4. I saw the last concert performed by Sublime before the death of the lead singer.

5. I've never broken a bone (that I know of).

6. One time, I was 10 feet away from Gwen Stefani's belly button.

7. I haven't slept more than 6 hours a night since last weekend, and I usually sleep 7-8.

8. Someone named Brian Foster emailed me this morning. It wasn't the one I wrote about.

9. My toes are somewhat prehensile.

10. I used to climb all manner of trees, but I haven't been able to climb one since I was 20 years old.

OK, so which is the lie?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Minneapolis: Cold in March. No, really.

Last week, I went to Minneapolis for work. I spent the entire day Thursday in meetings and on a hotel tour (not to be confused with a Hutong tour), but on Wednesday evening and Friday late morning and early afternoon I got a chance to go out walking around downtown. My hotel was on one end of the Nicolet Mall, on which one finds various shopping, hotels, and office buildings. The unusual thing about the Nicolet Mall is the number of aboveground walkways, glassed in to keep the cold out, some of which run right through Macy's and Target. It resembles a huge human habitrail, and at lunch time it's like walking through understreet tunnels in China - a sea of people all walking in one direction or the other, and it's tough to fight the crowd.

Speaking of Target, I experienced my first two-story one in downtown Minneapolis, though I'm told that their flagship store is in another part of town. It was still friggin' huge, and I managed to score some good stuff for not too much. Plus, there's no sales tax on clothing there, which just adds to the awesomeness. I also scored some deals at Marshalls and at the H&M in the dreaded MofA, but I'd packed lightly to leave room for shopping.

Anyhow, Nicolet Mall. I found quite a few things during my walk out to the river. Here, for your perusal, some of the sights to be seen in the bustling Minneapolis metropolis on a cold March day.

I liked this statue of naked people in front of the cool old church. There's no question as to the guy's religion.

The offer tempted me, but I've got no desire to get rid of my Thetans. They're my constant brain companions.
My first view ever of the Mighty Mississippi. Not especially impressive, though I did like the chunk of ice floating down.

The Stone Arch bridge is one of the most famous connecting the Twin Cities. I tried to get a good photo of it, but you can't walk on the bridges to either side, so I walked out a bit, held my arm out wide, and took a shot.

View upriver from the stone arch bridge. I don't know the name of this one, but it goes right over a dam.

Near the stone arch bridge was this below street level ruin - I'm not sure what it used to be, but the water drainage has left to some pretty cool winter stalagtites and stalagmites.

Heading back up the Nicolet mall.

The thing about the weather in Minneapolis in March is that you never know what you're going to get. It's the same in Colorado, but it had been in the seventies for a few days before I left, and we'd just come out of a really cold winter. I'd expected some bad weather and temps in the 40s when I was in mpls, which was what I got, only the morning (Friday) I went for the walk out to the river, it was really windy and overcast, and I think maybe only in the high 20s. I'd brought two sweaters but no gloves or scarf, and the hood of one of my sweaters didn't pull tight, so it didn't do me much good.

So when my hands got cold, I shoved them in my pockets. When they got colder, I slapped them together, hid them under my armpits, and kept walking. I had to pull out my camera to take pictures, and my hands went from numb to painful to purple to swollen and feeling like baloons of misery on the ends of my hands. I almost dropped my camera twice, and the few times that the sun came out from behind the clouds, I held my hands out into the sunlight, hoping that they'd warm up just a little. I had plans to walk farther, but my hands just hurt too much. I wasn't able to take all the pictures I wanted because I could hardly handle my camera. So I headed back up the mall and into the habitrail, stopping in Target to run my hands under hot water for a while. They hurt for hours, stayed swollen until I got home (I'm sure the plane ride contributed, since my hydration and circulation always get weird on airplanes), and for a while there I was a little worried because they just didn't feel like hands anymore. They're OK now, but that experience was one I don't want to repeat.

You already know I went to the Mall of America. Here is my favorite photo and then one I took on the light rail to the airport.

Because there's nothing more educational than a coin-operated dinosaur skeleton.

Bike racks. A most excellent idea.

So, that was my trip. I think it would be fun to go sometime in the summer or early fall, when the weather is warm and it stays light really late, to stroll along the river and explore more of the city.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Now that I've got your attention

Um, wow. Hi!

I'm not quite sure what to do here. Leah just gave me an award, and I'm honored and flattered but now there are a lot of people coming here to read something think-y. Hi, everybody!

Also, hi Sara! Congratulations!

The problem is that I don't have anything think-y to write about. I want to write a post-Minneapolis trip wrap up, complete with photos which are on the camera at home.[Update: my sister and I have had a discussion, and so I'm taking this part out becasuse she doesn't want me writing about her on the internet]. Also, there's a post in my brain somewhere about how worried I am about our newly vegan friends, who have managed to go an entire month in their new lifestyle without eating any beans or lentils or many veggies, but who seem to be eating a lot of frankenfoods made from soy and wheat gluten, which, OK, but if your digestive system is that messed up maybe you should think about having some more balance in your diet. The problem with writing about these topics is that I know that I have way more of an audience than I did a year ago when I was first really writing here, and because of that audience, some of whom I know will read, some of whom may read (hey, it's the internet), down comes the self-censor.

Hulk has been feeling mighty poorly as of late (poor guy, sick for his spring break!) and I think I have what he has, only I'm in the earlier stages. So yesterday I took a pre-emptive sick day to rest up some, and it turned out to be a really nice day. We had a good sleep-in, a leisurely breakfast, and I spent some time looking at dresses on the internet that I might think about wearing to get married in (hey, there's a lot of things we can't research until we pick a date and a place, but I can look at dresses all I want!), and I found a dress that I liked and found a store downtown that might sell it. We headed out to take a look, only to find the doors of the place shuttered tight and no hours posted.

Which brings me nicely to my mini-rant about the wedding dress industry, which, um, what the hell? I find it completely bizarre. First, the designers all have these gorgeous websites that show you all kinds of dresses, complete with color options (what will it look like in brick? in chartreuse? in slate?), but you can't buy dresses directly online, nor do they tell you how much they cost. You have to see samples of the dresses in bridal stores, most of which are the wrong size for most people, and it's highly unlikely that they have every style number or color from a given designer. Then, there's the bridal store itself - you can't just pop in and try on dresses, oh no. You have to make an appointment and the whole thing is just weird and secretive. The only other option is Wedding MegaMart, rhymes with Mavid's Midol, which has such a horrible reputation from what I've been able to glean reading message boards and stuff that I'm afraid to even look at their stuff, let alone go to one of their stores.

So, we walked away from the store without even knowing when the damn place is open, and went to the movies. I'm sure Hulk will be doing a review of 300, but let's just say I got to see enough rippling abs and pecs and boobies to last me a good long while. I did like the movie, despite its incessant fighting and gore, because of the comic book style and over-the-topness. Plus, there was a lot of eye candy, and it didn't overly concern itself with plot. I mean, it's hard to make a 2 hour movie out of the story of Thermopylae (story: 300 Spartans fight a crapton of people who are trying to conquer the world. They all die.), a well-known historical event that happend 2500 years ago. So they did it in myth/legend style, and it worked for me.

Oh yes, the award! Well, um, I never thought much of myself as being a thought-provoking writer - and I'm certainly not influential in any way, seeing as how I think I have about 8 people who actually read this thing regularly (including SOMEONE in Brisbane. Who are you?). But I do read a lot of blogs, so I can easily pass this award on to some known and not-so-well-known bloggers.

1. Samantha at Sunday School Rebel. I love how mindful she is about her writing and the world around her, and even though she's religious and I'm not, I find great beauty in her posts about God and religion. She also takes yummy pictures.

2. Flea at One Good Thing. While her blogging has been sporadic as of late, due to her job at Big Machine, the issues she writes about always make me think about my opinions on those same issues: how to handle life with an exceptional child, feminism, cats that eat your shoes.

3. Dutch and Wood at Sweet Juniper. This blog is mostly written by Dutch, who is the kind of dad I wish I had, even though he's like two years older than I am, and I love how he approaches each new adventure in parenting. I love reading how their parenting styles mesh together, and about how much they love each other outside of their roles as parents.

4. Todd at Death Wore a Feathered Mullet. I love the way he's able to combine profanity, outrage, and bizzare events in the world at large to create incredible diatribes in a way I never could, about a lot of things that I completely agree with. Plus, he's got a great comment crowd.

5. Hulkster at Great Big Nerd. OK, I couldn't help myself. He is my fiance. But there's a reason I fell for him over the internets in the first place, and that's his great writing and ability to make me really think about things. If it weren't for those things, both of which are captured on his blog, we never would have been a couple.

So I have been awarded, and I have awarded, and it's time for me to go hop back on the elliptical to hamster my way out of winter pudge. Gotta work off that amazing dark chocolate/spice birthday cake, another Hulk from scratch original.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I caved.

So I know it's going to sound really weird, but I'm as of right now sitting in the Mall of America, blogging.

Let me assure you that I had no idea it would come to this. After speaking to several people before my trip, I decided that wild horses couldn't drag me to this place. For one thing, I'm not a huge fan of malls in general, and the way it was described to me made my skin start to crawl. "It's four malls stacked on top of one another" one person told me. "You can get married there!" said another. There's a roller coaster and a ferris wheel and a shitton of people and more capitalism than you can shake a stick at. None of which appeal to me in the least.

So how the hell did I end up here? Well, I'll tell you. Out of curiosity, I asked one of the locals yesterday morning during our meeting whether Minneapolis had an H&M. "Yep, we've got one," she said, "in the Mall of America." Urp.

I thought my last day here (today) would entail more meetings until early afternoon, at which time I'd shop a bit downtown and then head to the airport. But it turned out that we were done by 10 AM. I still had time to walk down to the river (more on that later) and walk back, take the shuttle to the airport, check my bag, and take the light rail to the biggest mall, like, ever. Because dammmit, how the hell do Indy and Minneapolis have H&M and Denver still not? I couldn't resist the temptation of low-priced yet fashionable clothing from one of my favorite stores that I hardly ever get to go to. So here I sit, post-H&M, post-pee, in the middle of eating my southwestern "crepe" with chicken. Somehow there's wireless I can steal. And why the hell not blog about the MofA when I'm entrenched in it?

For your consideration, a few pictures. I'll take more before I head back to the airport so everyone can see how awesome this place is. The best part is how sparkly the weird artificial lights make my ring look.



Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When you were born, they looked at you and said, what a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl

Yesterday, my mom called me while we were in the grocery store. I stood betweeen the cheese and the Easter candy, trying to hear her and not talk too loud. "I just wanted to say happy birthday," she told me. "I'm in meetings for hours after school tomorrow, so I don't know if I'l lhave a chance to talk to you. Plus, I know you're going to be traveling, and you'll probably be busy tonight."

Well, I am going to be traveling. I'll be on a plane for about two hours this afternoon. That doesn't mean I don't want my mom calling me on my birthday. Chances are, I'll pick up the phone unless I'm legally required to have it turned off. "I also didn't want you to feel bad, because I have some things for you but they won't get there in time for your birthday," she said. Woo, extended birthday! "Also, I miss you. And I wish I could give you a hug." And then she started in on the story she tells me every year about the day I was born, that she was enormously pregnant (she was, I've seen pictures), had twelve hours of hard labor, and then "the most beautiful baby in the world was born."

I'm sure all parents feel that their babies are beautiful when they're born. What I wonder, not being a parent myself, is what kinds of dreams parents have about their children. It's been 28 years since I came into the world, eyes open, lots of long brown hair already. Have I lived up to the wishes my parents had for me? Are they proud of me, of who the person I've become, of the work I do and the relationships I've cultivated? My mom's always been pretty closed-mouthed on the subject of what she and my dad wanted for us. "We want you to be happy, and choose your own path in life" is about all she'll ever say. They never pushed my sisters or I toward particular careers, but pushed us to do well in school because they knew we all could, and pushed us to go to college and have lots of experiences, because they knew it would help us become people in the full sense of the word.

In reading several parenting blogs over the last two years or so, I've continued to wonder about this. Most parents don't write about the kinds of people they want their babies to grow up to become - yet every baby born, every birth story recollected on the internet represents a person who will live in the world, interact, have friends, love people, be sad, and find things they're good at doing. Dutch of Sweet Juniper has written a few times about the future he wishes for his daughter, and Moxie has done her research and seems to help a lot of other parents with developmental and behavioral issues their children have. But nobody says "I hope my daughter becomes a dentist" or "I really want my son to travel around the world."

Babies are born every day with an unlimited amount of potential to become a variety of people who have an infinite number of experiences. Every day, some of those paths close or change as kids get older and develop into people with their own opinions, preferences, and points of view. Kids move out and go to college, get married, travel, and some fail at things they try to do. Some people have parents who are supportive of their dreams, while others succeed despite a lack of parental support, and still others live out the dreams the parents have for them, because it's expected or because they don't know any different. Pagent kids may be the extreme of this, but I knew quite a few people when I was in college who were buckling under the pressure put on them by their families and by their own sense of filial obedience, kids who ended up turning to drugs or dropping out or both. It's a fine line to walk, as a parent, a fine balance between having dreams for your kids and being supportive without oppressing them or preventing them from growing into themselves as well-rounded adults.

I'd like to think that I've lived my life in such a way as to make my parents proud of me. While my mom isn't happy that I live 1000 miles away, I've got a good job, a great relationship, and I've traveled and tried new things and maintained a 3.95 GPA in my major at Berkeley. I'm 28 years old now, and I have a whole wealth of experiences yet to come - marriage, grad school, homeownership, spawning (possibly). If I do end up having kids, I hope to be the kind of parent who encourages my kids to live up to the potential they have, while still helping them to explore their talents, and supporting them in the decisions they make about their lives, even if they aren't the same decisions I would have made.

So, I'm 28 now. I remember being 14 and thinking about the year 2000, and that I'd turn 21 soon after the beginning of the new millenium, and about how OLD 21 seemed, how far away it was. I remember being seven and looking forward to having two numbers in my age. Ten, of course, was old. I remember my 21st birthday, probably still the most fun party I've ever had, a scant two months before graduation and my trip to Europe and the amazing experiences I was about to have. This year is a year of planning and changes and branching out to explore new things. This year I wear a ring that tells the world that somebody intends to spend his life with me. This year will bring trips and parties and new experiences, and I can't wait to see what 28 is like.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

They got a pepper bar

I will be 27 for another 23 hours and 40 minutes. I was one of those weird babies born in the afternoon (most babies are born in the wee hours of the morning).

Tomorrow, I'm going to kiss Hulk goodbye when he goes off to class, go for a run outside (assuming it's still lovely out there), shower, go to the post orifice to mail off baby blanket, and take a shuttle to the airport. I think Minneapolis will be fun - and I don't plan to go to the mall of America.

My mood has been much improved the last few days. DST really does me good. It's amazing the difference a little more daylight makes for my general outlook on life, health, and well-being. The air here feels much more like spring and not like warm winter - there's a real change in the amount of humidity, so it's merely dry and not dessicating.

* * * *

I wanted to write a post of substance, since it's been all "today I did this and yesterday I did this and isn't my ring pretty?" recently around here, but I need to head off to the gym. Maybe I'll think of something to write about that people will actually want to read while I'm lifting or hamstering. Because I used to be not boring, I swears!


Monday, March 12, 2007

That baby had better appreciate all my hard work

It's finished!

I've spent the last three months working on this baby blanket for my extraordinarily pregnant coworker. Well, I guess I've been working on it for her kid, who whould be coming out any day now - they're letting her go to a few days before her due date and then taking the kid out, elective c-section style, because they're afraid he'll be so big he'll dislocate his shoulder or something if he stays in that long. At her 34 week appointment he was already 8.5 pounds. Anyhow, gigantor baby aside, I used a stitch pattern from a book Hulk's mom gave me for giftmas. As those of you who knit can see, I changed stitches every six (stockinette, reverse stockinette, seed stitch) and included a seed stitch border. So it looks like a checkerboard, kind of, and I was thrilled to find brightly colored yarn - most baby yarn is all pastel and bland.

Oh, and yesterday and today were fantastically gorgeous. I think the weather got tired of hearing everybody whine. We took a stroll a few miles to the art supply store, so Hulk could stock up on paint, and enjoyed the greening of yards and the singing of birds and the sunshine. Here are some of the flowers that greeted us along the way.

On Saturday, we went up to HulkRents and hung out. My birthday presents included a pretty white lace blouse (I wore it to work today with my white silk tank top underneath) and a floor-length skirt in one of my favorite colors of green. I think I got at least six compliments on it today, so you know it's pretty. Tomorrow it's supposed to be just as nice, and I'm going to wear a shorter skirt with No Tights for the first time since October. My weirdly yellow-pink legs (they never get white, but they sure look weird after the winter) will be frightening everyone, but I don't care. It's spring, the time has already changed (hallelujah! would that we could stay on DST all year), and in two days I turn 28 and fly to Minneapolis.

These kitties? They love the new blue chair, a craigslist find. And they love the kitty show, which is what they get to watch through the screen when it's warm enough to open the back door. I had it open until 6:30 this evening. Lovely.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Teh Interwebs

It never ceases to amaze me how interconnected people on the internets can be.

Today, for example, I was reading a blog I found during NaBloHoFro, who linked today to the blog of some girl who is getting married this weekend. I clicked over and read a bit of her blog, clicked to see comments on a particular entry, and found that someone I knew had commented. And my guess is that this person I know actually knows the person whose blog I had found, since they're both from the same city and of the same religious background.

Later, I popped over to Little Yellow Different, which I saw linked on One Good Thing a year or so ago. He doesn't write all that frequently, so I'll often go months between visiting his site. In one of his recent entries, he linked to someone who I know of from her book about independant weddings and her presence on indiebride and flickr. He spoke about her not in the context of the wedding thing, but just as someone he knew.

From there, I found a link to Anil Dash, who several years ago wrote an essay that encompasses my reasons for not wanting a diamond engagement ring. So I clicked on his main page and found this article about the huge generation gap between Gen X or earlier and Gen Y and later. The article was excellent, something I'd like to think more about, but that primarily illustrated further to me the fence-straddling I feel I do between GenX and Gen Y - sometimes I feel more a part of one or the other, sometimes neither. It's an in-between feeling, that I don't quite belong in either one - even the experts can't agree which group I fit into, having been born in 1979. The article spotlights some young people my little sister's age and younger who have grown up with the internet and have lived their adolescence and early adulthood completely open to public scrutiny through xanga, livejournal, facebook, myspace and all those other sites that separate the teenagers/college kids from those of us just a few years older. In reading the article, I could see both sides of the story, could see why kids these days choose to be so public, and could see the concern mentioned by the author regarding privacy, safety, and what your kids might think if they find your livejournal entries from when you were 14.

Sometimes it's hard to know how much to write about here, after knowing the difficulty some bloggers have had after friends, family, or employers found their blogs. But it seems as though those 10 years younger than I am are making it easier for me to write things on the internet, since employers will have to get used to the idea that everyone who applies for a given job will have an internet history. That said, I know that most of the people that read this blog are people I actually know, and I write with the idea in mind that anyone I know or am related to might find it. It's hard to straddle the line of Gen X, with the enmeshed idea that what you write on the internet should be anonymous unless you choose to be identified, and the line of Gen Y, in which you should expect anything online to be fair game to the world, whether you know the people who read what you write or not. One of the continued benefits of internet message boards, for example, is that it is still possible to be somewhat anonymous. With a blog? Not so much. Though there was that one time when I first started reading indiebride, and recognized enough about a wedding that was described by one poster there that I knew who had written it - since I'd attended the wedding!

Still, it's both cool and weird, how connected everything can be. Sometimes it's easy to forget that there are people behind the handles on a message board. With blogs, it's a little easier, since people usually have photos and make some mention about their actual lives. I definitely feel like I *know* some of the people whose blogs I read, even though I've never actually met them, just like I *knew* some of the people on my old message board before I met them in real life. Heck, I'm even marrying one of them! The internets are an interesting phenomoenon, both facilitating human interaction and communication and at the same time, isolating people into binary code. I'm fascinated and trepidatious about what the future might bring for both the internet and how we use it to interact with people around the world.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ten years ago

Ten years ago, it was my freshman year of college. My friends from high school and I were all in the same dorm, just a floor or two apart, and we all befriended other people from the dorm. We'd all been highly intelligent overachievers, nerds and weirdos in the little town where we'd grown up, and so when we ended up in Berkeley amongst all the new people, cuisines, music, culture, experiences, some of us went a little nuts. One of my friends was voted "most likely to succeed," then spent the first year of college experimenting in every sort of hallucinogenic drug and electronically-produced music imaginable, which in the Bay Area encompasses a pretty wide territory.

My friend joined a scene that was pretty prevalent amongst Berkeley students at the time - the candy ravers. Meaning he took ecstacy and LSD and mushrooms, and he danced all night at underground parties in San Francisco, where DJs spun hzt hzt hzt music, the ever-present electronic beat, and where decor consisted of things that looked good under blacklight. Kids wore plastic jewelry, brightly-colored tight shirts, huge bellbottomed pants, and brought their own face masks or pacifiers. Sweaty people would pile in corners, worn out from the incessant beat that drove them to dance, sucking down water like it was going out of style, tripping or E-ing or both, massaging and kissing whoever happened to be nearby because it felt So Good, and wow, weren't those lights pretty?

And how do I know about the rave scene in the mid-late 90s in San Francisco? Because my friend convinced the rest of us to attend these parties, to experience the beat and the colors and the dancing and the utter exhaustion of staying up all night and sleeping until 3 the next day, curtains drawn against the sun. I probably went to five or six raves over the course of my freshman year, parties that were attended by kids ranging from 16-30, arranged surreptitiously with homemade decorations painted in that day-glo blacklight paint. You'd have to know someone who knew someone, call a number, go to the record stores in the city that would have the next number to call for the best party that was going on each weekend. And you'd have to have transportation, or be willing to wait until 6 AM when the BART trains would start running again back to the East Bay. The parties were usually in SOMA, an industrial area of the city that has since grown more trendy, many of the warehouse spaces converted into lofts.

The parties were crowded. Some would have different rooms spinning different types of music - trance, ambient, dub, high-energy beat, with different moods and energies. Some would essentially be one enormous room packed with hundreds of raver kids, water bottles and pacifiers and "candy" (plastic necklaces and bracelets) in tow. It says something about my ability to sleep when I tell you that I managed to sleep at two different raves, despite the incredibly loud, throbbing music that infiltrated your very pores, and despite the crowds of sweaty happy drugged kids, and despite the sinister glow of blacklight art. Because it just wasn't my scene, baby - my friends all loved the parties, but I was never able to get good enough sleep after staying up all night for a party. And I didn't like the crowds, which were sometimes desperate in energy, desperate to feel something through the music and the kissing and the drugs, to make it mean something more than the bland suburban existance most of the kids had led.

Today I was reminded of one particular party in the city, at which I fell asleep on the pile of backpacks and coats for a few hours. I don't often think of the parties I went to or the music that my friends loved so much, but today I thought about this party because it was exactly ten years ago. And I remember this because the morning after the party, I had to take a muni bus to the spot where I could catch the Golden Gate transit bus that would take me up to Sonoma County and back home, to be picked up by my dad and driven to my oldest friend's 18th birthday (it was celebrated in conjunction with her mother's 50th). This morning I called my oldest friend to wish her a happy 28th, and she mentioned she'd be surprising her mom this weekend with a visit, since it's her mom's 60th. Suddenly I remembered the early morning bus ride after the long night of nst nst nst beats, kids with pupils the size of dinner plates, desperately dancing through the drugs to feel there might be meaning in the world. After the long night of the rave, I was exhausted, but I still managed to haul myself up north so I could go to my friend's celebration. It was important to me that I be there for her 18th birthday because I'd been there for every birthday since we were two or three years old. She is exactly one week older than I am, and we have known each other for approximately 26 years.

So happy birthday, Oldest Friend. I still don't think I've ever told you about that night and that day, the buses and car rides I had to take after very little sleep at a rave in the city the night before your big party. In a year or so, you'll be coming to a big party for me, and standing up alongside me, and you probably will never tell me how tired you are because your crazy job had you Og-knows-where and you had to fly all night and drive for hours to make it. Because that's what friends do.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Melon Collie and the infinite post of whining

Last night, I was talking to the Hulk about my upcoming birthday, and I started to cry a little.

It's not because I hate the idea of getting older, or because he had emitted a particularly foul odor, or because there was an eyelash in my eye. It was because I realized I haven't had a party for my birthday in years, and maybe getting older means that I'm too old for parties and revelry for myself. It was because I get to spend my birthday this year traveling to a strange city, spending the evening with friendly strangers, rather than getting an awesome birthday dinner and cake made to order. And it was because QIR and Leah have been posting about Bay Area spring, which is always the most beautiful right around my birthday, since the hills are so green still, the flowers are all blooming, and everything around sings life, life, life.

I moved to Colorado four years ago and a bit, in January of 2003. I wanted something different; I wanted to live closer to the Hulk; I wanted to try living in a new place in an unknown city. And I love my neighborhood. I love our apartment (with some notable exceptions, but hey, nothing's perfect). I love our kitties and that we get to do whatever we want with the yard and that everything's within walking distance. But this year, this winter, has been especially snowy and unusually cold, and while it was OK in December and I put up with it in January, it's now into March and we've only had a couple of days above 40 degrees. Where is the sun? Where is the green? Where are the flowers on the trees and the birds courting and the lawns springing back to life?

On Sunday, we took a walk though the neighborhood to get out into the sun and to try to find signs of spring. There were a few - I saw three crocuses. But it has been so brown, grey, white, black, very little color, other than blue sky, in these last few months. One thing I have learned since I moved to Colorado: spring here, when it finally shows up, is such an amazing contrast from the dreary winter that I revel in it for the 3 or 4 weeks until it becomes hot. This year, I wanted spring to come early, though I know that's tempting fate - it's better for the trees not to have any leaves during those March blizzards with their heavy wet snows. But the irrational little girl in me says that birthday time means green and flowers and life, not three crocuses in a mile of yards and park.

This is the first year since I moved to Colorado that I won't see Bay Area spring. And frankly, that makes me really sad. Our next trip probably won't be until mid-May when someone we know graduates from law school. And then maybe not again until September for the second wedding in three weeks (cousin, marrying another great big nerd. I approve of her choice).

After the dizzying high of a few weeks ago, things have settled back into normal routine as we sit in a holding pattern, waiting for my sister to make up her mind about scheduling so we can start doing some real planning. We talk about possibilities, learning each other's taste in parties and what a wedding should be, but it's all moot until we really know where and when. The Hulk wants some sort of a traditional wedding cake, and I couldn't care less, so I told him it's completely up to him to figure that part out. And I promised that if we have said traditional cake, it can have action figures of Captain Kirk and the green slave girl on it (that is, if he can find them for a reasonable price), and I totally meant it. I'd rather have pie and tiramisu, myself.

I'm in another holding pattern waiting to buy my car until my friend gets the car she wants and can sell mine to me. Not having a car is definitely good for the finances but bad for the social life or for hiking and camping. I'm really looking forward to doing some of those things this spring and summer. We've got to get another 14er or two in the bag. So I'm excited about the car, as I'm excited about the shindig, but I'm still waiting on other people before I can really do much about those things. And I'm getting a little tired of waiting, waiting for spring which is taking its own sweet time, waiting to plan a wedding to mark a lifelong commitment to my lover and best friend, waiting waiting waiting.

What I need are a few days of sunshine, a few days of warm air blowing the cold air away, and some green poking up from the dead ground. I need to start planning projects for the yard, deciding what to grow and where to grow it. I need to start retooling my resume and get myself out of the rut that I've been in for the last several months. What I need is a challenge, something exciting, the possibilities for new life and change that come with spring. And I need to quit whining.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Good advice Monday

Stolen from here:

* If you're cooking rehydrated dried beans to put in a yummy soup, it's a bad idea to leave the top off the pot while the water boils, especially if you live at altitude. However, it will give you a good excuse to buy a new pot.

* No matter how awesome a bra is, once the underwire pokes through, there's no saving it. Even sewing in the wire won't stop it from poking a new hole in another spot. Goodbye, pretty green bra.

* When you get a craving for ice cream, something you haven't had in several months becaue it's been so damn cold, and said craving lasts for several hours, the best thing to do is to take a walk in the Sunday afternoon sunshine to your neighborhood ice cream shop and get a child-size portion of black gold (dark chocolate ice cream with toffee bits) and chai ice cream. Enjoy the people watching and the doggie watching. And enjoy every bit of that ice cream.

* If you decide to knit a baby blanket for a coworker, choose a simpler pattern or one with bigger yarn/needles than I did. I spent hours on it this weekend and I'm STILL not done.

* Go bra shopping during a particularly bodacious time in order to give yourself a big ego boost.

* If you have to do a bunch of inane data entry at work, put on some music to make life less sucky. I recommend pandora.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I was That Guy today. Oh, the shame.

This morning at around 10:30, I really wanted a salty snack. You know, something crunchy, salty, something to go with the 2 liters of water that I drink at work every day. I know that the craving for a salty snack stems directly from the same reason that I'm currently sporting Bodacious Tatas, the phenomenon in which my cup size increases by one letter and then decreases again over a 28 day span. You get the picture, and Hulk gets to enjoy the phenomenon for a week every month.

Anyhow, salty snack. Hulk and I haven't been to the grocery store in a week, which is really unusual for us, but the weather turned crappy again and neither of us felt like going to the store last night. So I couldn't bring my normal lowfat string cheese with me, and I didn't want to go buy something. So hmm, what to do. Aha! I said to myself. Someone at my work has kindly left a few packages of microwave popcorn underneath our dungeon microwave, and I thought to mself that I'd pop the corn and set the bag out for everyone to share, so I wouldn't be consuming the whole thing alone. The popping of the corn commenced, and I stood next to the microwave, sucking up cancer rays and endangering my future hypothetical children, listening intently so that I could stop the machine when the corn was finished and before the burninating commenced. Deftly, I popped open the door as the popping slowed to 2 seconds between pops. With great glee, and drooling a little, I held the bag away from my face and opened diagonally, as one should, to keep the steam from blowing in my face.

Alas, the wily microwave and the bag of popcorn conspired to deny my salty treat. Somehow, despite my oncological sacrifice, the butter scorched, so the smell of burnt popcorn emerged with the hot steam. And to my dismay, I couldn't even eat the stuff because there was no fluffly white goodness, only a disappointingly small amount of split kernals swimming in blackened yellowish oil. Ugh.

I disposed of the wretched bag of offense and scorch in the ladies' room trash, but unfortunately, as we all know, the smell of burnt popcorn somehow manages to seep into everything immediately upon bag opening. The stench has filled the entire basement, and lingers even now, nearly 6 hours later. Luckily, this being Friday, there were only a few coworkers here to mock my shame. And though this is my first popcorn offense, since I've never before even made popcorn at work, it will be my last, as I will swear off ever popping corn here again. The misery and distress to my coworkers is too great a price to pay for a PMS-induced salty snack attack.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Awesomely bad television: ANTM Thursday

Ok, I admit it. I watch America's Next Top Model.

Not every season, or every show of every season, but I do read the recaps on TWOP and sometimes the forum there. I've still never seen season 1 and have only caught pieces of seasons 4-6. But it is the most wonderful, terrible show, and for some reason it's like a horrible car crash where I just can't look away. Plus, the scripting is awesome and sometimes the girls do really funny things, like pretend to pee on each other's beds to mark territory. Or something.

This crop of girls is, of course, worse than all the other ones. There's a mail order bride from Russia, at least 3 girls with shenises, and two "plus-size" models, whom we all know will never be ANTM no matter how many ribs Tyra eats. Last night, they kicked off the girl with the red 'fro who thought the wearing of fur was OK if you made fur coats from animals that died of "natural causes." Awesome. All I have to say is, these girls had better bring it. They'd better be fierce. And Tyra had better keep "going to call" those girls' names without ever actually calling them, or my drinking game won't work anymore.

Thankfully, Hulk puts up with my weird obsession, mostly because it's fun to point and laugh and sometimes cool photos come out of it, though I'm sure they're all photoshopped up the wazoo. But then again, what photos aren't these days? I can't wait for the makeover episode, when they'll make the shenis girls look even more masculine and turn all the black girls blond or redheaded, and I really hope they give Mail Order Bride a fauxhawk in orange and black stripes. Because that would rule.

Man, I've read a lot of books.

Stolen from here and here:

In the list of books below, blue the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, red the ones you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. (+?) are ones I've owned in the past and not sure if I still have, or I think Hulk has them but I'm not positive. We have a LOT of books between the two of us. And Hulk was once an English major, so he has a lot of the classics, some of which I might even be forgetting on this list.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) Mindless trash
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. +Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)--
5. +The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) Someday I may get around to this
6. +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. +The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L. M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) again, trash
13. +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. +?Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. +Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. +The Stand (Stephen King) One of my favorites
19. +Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. +The Hobbit (Tolkien) Reading this in 8th grade (for school) helped me get over my childhood fear of Gollum.
22. +?The Catcher in the Rye (J. D. Salinger)
23. +Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. +The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)-This should be #42
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. +The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. +East of Eden (John Steinbeck) Only Steinbeck I liked and read for fun
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. +Dune (Frank Herbert) I got 1/3 through and lost interest, but I should finish it someday
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. +1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) My mom liked this one
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) Not as bad as I expected. Morbid curiosity.
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. +The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) plus the 3 other ones. She never wrote a 5th, oh no she didn't.
42. *The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. +Bible I've read bits and pieces
46. +?Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)-- Man, was this depressing.
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)--
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)-- Required reading in 11th grade
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. +The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. +?A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)--
53. +Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)- Favorite book ever.
54. +?Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. +?The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)-- I don't know what all the fuss is about
56. *The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. +Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. +?The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. +The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) Another favorite. Fantastic.
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) I read the Brothers Karamazov, though.
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)-- Ugh, can't stand Rand.
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. +?Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) More fun trash
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. +Catch-22 (Joseph Heller) I've tried to read this 3 times, never got very far.
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. +?The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)--
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)--
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)--
73. +Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)--
75. +?The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) I know I own an ancient copy of Little Princess
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving) I think I read this in HS but I don't remember it.
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. +Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. *Not Wanted On the Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. +Of Mice And Men (Steinbecck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)--
84. +Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) Hulk read this; his review wasn't good enough for me to bother
85. Emma (Jane Austen)--
86. +Watership Down (Richard Adams)--
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. *Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. +?Lord of the Flies (Golding) Sucks to your ass-mar
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)--
94. +The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton) May have read this in HS as well. I read a lot of books then.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)- double UGH
100. +?Ulysses (James Joyce)--