Raise Your Hand if You Need the Last Word.

montoya“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Over lunch the other day, a few of my girlfriends and I mused over how we grew up on The Princess Bride.  I mean literally like an after school snack. A drug of choice for hip 90s girls who knew we’d grow up and really want to be more like Robin Wright on House of Cards, but for a little while, we could love Wesley and his sexy bandit costume.  There were two movies that I obsessively watched as a child, Grease and Princess Bride.  I feel like between these two movies PLUS Clarissa Explains It All, I can be discovered.  This may or may not be true for most girls, we shall see in the comments section, but I think a lot of girls found themselves binge-watching The Princess Bride because it wasn’t your normal “princess story.”  Sure, she had to be saved several times from Humperdinck, but Princess Buttercup was no pansy.  What I love most about this movie is that it convinced me that there’s such a thing as a final word.

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I have sought that final word to the point of damage a few times.  I’ll argue until the height of high-pitched yelling.  There’s a moment when I say something despicable that I know can’t be taken back, but I still release it into the world like it’s a clattering truth.  I never remove myself from arguments.  I have a hard time walking away.  And even when someone is trying to give me the hint that there’s no place for me in their life, I pursue them until the ache grows softer and I, too, can let go.

It’s a downfall for sure.  I’m no hero.

shrill-lindy-west-magnumBut with that all said, I think Lindy West’s first book is doing just what I’ve done my whole life, just what Inigo Montoya does with every man who even narrowly looks like his father’s killer.  It’s what a lot of feminists do when they realize that maybe they’re being heard (the sound) but they’re not being listened to (the meaning).  They keep going. Shrill, West’s memoir really encapsulates this idea that silence isn’t golden, it’s boxy and the only way out of it, is to keep on talking.

hqdefaultI knew this book was going to pack a punch when in the beginning she lists out every “Fat Female Role Model” that existed for her as a child.  Characters like the Queen of Hearts, Mrs. Trunchbull, Lady Cluck, Mrs. Piggy, and Ursula were the most prominent according to my notebook. I listened to this on audiobook, so I had to pause to write down little tidbits I wanted to remember forever.  In Chapter 2, she says, “There is not a thin woman inside me awaiting excavation.  I am one piece.”  With this quote I began to realize that we were going to witness every bit of Lindy West, whether she thought it appropriate to show or not, she was nothing but transparent and relatable for the entire book.

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This image is from Lindy West’s article in Jezebel “How to Make a Rape Joke”

(If you don’t know who Lindy West is, she came for Tosh.0 in Jezebel with a piece called “How to Make a Rape Joke.” And she rocks).  She has been trashed by internet trolls, even one impersonating her deceased father, and she married a man who in her words is “conventionally attractive” who plays the trumpet.  The reason why I say her book is a final word of sorts is that it gives all of the baggage (and I don’t mean this as a negative) to the stories that everyone else construed about her.  These stories created by trolls, comedy show hosts, feminist bloggers, newspapers and magazines, and her blog were in some ways all fabricated.  While I blog my life blood into everything I write at Books & Bowels and Almost an Independent Clause, that doesn’t mean I owe every single one of my followers a pound of flesh.

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Internet Troll image from Kotaku

But in the eyes of the public, Lindy West did.  She was trolled, tattered, and left on the defense over really important issues like fat shaming, rape jokes, abortions, periods, and privilege.  At one point, during the comedy chapters, she says something like, I can easily name 20 white male comics, but … “Name 20 female comics.  Name 20 black comics.  Name 20 gay comics.”  Early in the book, she writes so unabashedly about her abortion when she was dating a guy that she loved, but didn’t quite like very much, that I heard every woman who walked the women’s march sigh in relief.  It wasn’t some grotesque tale like the biblical posters of “baby waste” will have you think, it was a real woman’s life trial, true to each hard step.  She even at this point in her life (what I would argue is probably a low point for some women) thought about her privilege, about the way it was so easy for the owner of the Abortion Clinic to let her pay later.

“Privilege means it’s easy for white women to do each other favors.”

I’m not going to lie, I found the chapters rehashing her experience of Tosh.0 kind of boring, but I knew they needed to be said.  I’m not going to put words in Lindy West’s mouth (like everyone else has done before me), but I get the need to have one last say, to make sure people understand your point, to make one even when all corners are trying to silence you. For me, what she said had value, is valuable, and should be repeated even if the “shrill” is deafening.  Especially in today’s political climate.

“We live in a culture that actively tries to shrink the definition of sexual assault.  That casts stalking behaviors as romance.  Blames the victims for wearing the wrong clothes, walking through the wrong neighborhood…Convicts in less than 5% of allegations that go to trial” (Chapter 13).

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Lindy West, Fierce AF at KUOW.org

I loved this book because it didn’t ask for anything.  You know how sometimes you read memoirs and you can feel that the writer is asking for pity, or asking for understanding, or even just asking for love and adoration? This wasn’t like that.  This was just a girl, standing in front of a really bookish crowd (with a pack of Lena Dunham’s behind her) telling a few truths about life.  She wasn’t asking for you to understand why your fat joke is sorry, why rape jokes aren’t funny in any contexts, why free speech isn’t necessarily free, or why feminist voices matter, she was just telling you an experience in a life of a human being.

If we could find more writers that do this, our world might open up a little.  Internet trolls might apologize more and Lindy West may have a twitter full of quips that crack a girl up while she’s at a boring desk job.  We haven’t gotten there yet, but if Lindy West keeps publishing, we just might. I liked Slate’s review here.

This is Uncomfortable.

516p2sfbk-l-_sy344_bo1204203200_Sometimes writing makes you really uncomfortable, and not in the Lolita sort of way because that’s more of a revulsion. And not uncomfortable like the boy on the subway who’s too busy manspreading to notice that you need room to lean your chin on your elbow to read.  No, uncomfortable in the way that perfection seems just a little more real, a little more visceral and in your face. And that’s terrifying because we really don’t want everything to be perfect, do we? That’s how I thought about Warsan Shire’s new poetry collection, Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth.

I never thought I would have to add manspreading to my personal dictionary, but here we are. Uncomfortable.

712b2cjwcqslI think it made me uncomfortable because for the last five years I’ve come to understand my privilege as a white woman in America. While sometimes I still find the heat rising when I read tweets blaming the white population as a collective whole, and I want to respond immediately with “don’t lump me in with those people.” Or I find myself huffing over side comments my best friend Seth makes about “using my privilege.” Like wearing “I’m with Her” t-shirts, stickering my computer with Red Bubble social justice and having my students discuss race, gender, and class with every text or task makes up for a smooth series of injustices caused by this country. Injustices that I can’t even see because I’m blinded by the grocery list of privilege that I carry.

This is what Warsan Shire brings us to in Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, this idea of perfection. That perfection that I’m second closest to as a white woman in America, I stared it down a little harder with Shire.  Not only does she make us look at our own womanhood and the experiences we live because of it, but also at the blemishes of the world that we ask to be both hidden and forgiven from.

“Her body is a flooding home. / We are afraid. We want to know / what the water will take away from us, / what the earth will claim as its own.”

tumblr_nvd32lvceo1qzghgbo1_500Just the other day I was listening to the local radio show and the host Erica was asking to be shielded from the actual news because “all it is is murder.”  And why do we want to be shielded from this? I would argue that it’s not because we can’t deal with the fact that humanity is a cruel beast, but that we don’t want that news to interfere with our beautiful lives, our perfect lives.  We want ignorance is bliss. We don’t want the effect.   And this is what Seth is always arguing on Facebook.  When people argued that she wished people wouldn’t block highways for #blacklivesmatter Seth told everyone who agreed that they just don’t get it. It isn’t about safety anymore, it’s about the impact on someone’s everyday. The “This is Water” that David Foster Wallace was talking about. An interruption so huge that it makes us look.

“We stare at the small television in the corner of the room / I think of all the images she must carry in her body, / now the memory hardens into a tumor” (30).

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Warsan Shire for The New Yorker

This is the same with Warsan Shire.  The refugee crisis does not impact me directly… ever? And that’s why I haven’t given to one charity in support of refugees. When it doesn’t impact my day, I’m in my own water, my selfish needs trump anything happening thousands of miles away. Instead I ask myself will it really ever get into the hands of the people that need it? Or I say I’m doing my part by working in high poverty schools like that’s some sort of penance for the lives that crossed seas and land and didn’t make it. Just one stop short. Like that’s a penance for anything really.  (It’s not. People should stop saying that like it makes them a Saint).  I might, one life ago, have used this book as a reason to say that I’m informing myself of the problem. I’m facing our world in all it’s hot breath, commotion, scars, but I can’t even say that with a straight face anymore.

“Your daughter is ugly / She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her body” (31).

729be0294f86d3d9fd9946238d5a39feIt’s pretty uncomfortable right, facing those leftovers within us? There are people carrying anthems instead of extra shoes.  People who know no other language but the one of disaster.  Children who have never had a home because their home is a back on a road. I found this collection so moving because it stared back. It asked me “and what have you done lately?” It spoke, “and your perfection for this?”

“I’ve been carrying the old anthem in my mouth for so long that there’s no space for another song, another tongue, or another language” (24).

Colin Kaepernick, Eric ReidAnd we’re upset over a man in a jersey kneeling.  Just think about it. If you can stare it down without putting your face to your knees, then congratulations, you’ve compartmentalized it all.  Satisfaction over human life. Tragedy of war. Look the other way. Turn your cheek. All those little white lies we tell ourselves.

And then there’s womanhood. When the social studies teacher next door to me discusses how great all his girls are in class and it’s really the boys that we’re all failing, shouldn’t we blame society a little?  Could it be that we taught girls to sit pretty, be quiet, work hard to get ahead, keep your sexuality as secret as your faith. Do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. (Matthew 6.3).  Do not trade words for parts of your bodies. This is all told to us from an early age and Warsan Shire turns that on its head too.  I’m not going to lie I was really uncomfortable with all the sexual references in this collection.  As much as I preach “Girls Rule the World,” I still can’t shake the belief that being a good girl means a certain level of modesty.  And I’m the first to say we shouldn’t add drama as women, we should support each other, but when Kylie comes up in her underwear everyday on Snapchat, I sit in the fog of judgment, like the good little girl that I am… (… sucks).

“Her body is one long sigh.”

cfa966b056ebe73961faf13b3ce3f7c1There were a lot of tongues in this collection. And not the Biblical kind. The erotic kind. Sometimes it felt like an invasion of privacy. The way we always say, “I just like to keep some things private” when we start a new relationship and our Mom is asking all kinds of questions about his family, and his upbringing and what he wore. I found the poems about refugees, home, culture, and heritage more moving than the erotic poems, but that’s not to say that these didn’t also impact my level of restlessness.

“Why did you not warn her, / hold he like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her / if she is covered in continents, / if her teeth are small colonies, / if her stomach is an island / if he thighs are borders. What man wants to lie down / and watch the world born / in his bedroom?” (31).

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Image from Tumblr. If you know who made it, please let me know so I can give them credit. 

I think this is an important collection for any woman in our current times, from any cultural background. We need to check ourselves. And not just sometimes, but all the time. I remember when I got “Poverty Training” for my old county’s teaching professional development and I came to the idea that even the ways that department stores are laid out are made for the middle class.  The way our current world is structured and maintained is for the middle class. I think it’s high time for us to think about this too in terms of culture, in terms of race, in terms of gender.

If in my whole life, I spend more time uncomfortable than comfortable, then I must be making more rights than wrongs. How uncomfortable are you willing to be?


 

<3 Valentines for Book Lovers <3

Oh goodness, here we are again at the holiday where scorned women are burning their bras from large trashcans in the cubicle of their backyard and men are standing outside of the florist’s glass doors five minutes too late (should have thought ahead).  My nephew will be bringing his Valentine mailbox to school covered in sweet hearts and red stickers.  Lipstick marks will brush cheeks, napkins and if you’re lucky, necks.  High school girls will complain that their boyfriend doesn’t shower them in mom’s homemade chocolate strawberries everyday of the year, and college girls will get drunk and dance wildly to Katy Perry leaving eye liner sinking down their lids the next morning.  It is a day for jubilation whether pink or drowned.  It’s one of my favorite holidays because I love to see bright colors everywhere and I can wear a really fun pair of earrings.  Plus, what a great excuse to eat your arm weight in chocolate (this also pertains to Easter).

Without further adieu, your gift guide:

Let’s start big. The Naughty Lover

Bad Girl | Valentine

  • Top Left | Personalized Valentine Tattoo Bookmark by My Bookmark @etsy.  25% off for the whole month of February. Tell your bookish suitor that you like him more than just the 14th.  Tell your pin-up girlfriend that you wish it was her in your book, but she’s running through your dreams all day.  (pow!)
  • Top Right | Naughty Bookmark (Vintage) by Infinite Caboodles @etsy.  If you just want to be blunt about it.
  • Bottom Left | Naughty or Nice Pins.  They also come in Sex Kitten.  As a bookish girl, I used to be obsessed with pins for my “book” bag.  I never really carried school supplies (other than my favorite rollerball pens) but I always carried books filled with post-its.
  • Bottom Right | Make-out Necklace. Or as my mom would say “Necking Necklace” which sounds a lot cooler.

For the Romantic Lover

For the Romance of the Bookish

  • Top Left | Chocolate Book by Hungry Happenings @ blogspot.  I mean…what girl doesn’t want chocolate?  And even better if it comes in book form.
  • Top Right | Literary Locket by Classically Romantic @ etsy.  Who needs a boy to lock away in a pendant against their chest when they can have words; synonyms, vowels, rhyming.
  • Bottom Left | Word Bouquet by Hello Mrs Brown @ etsy.  I just really hope my boy sees this blog.
  • Bottom Right | Book Charms by Southwest Sky Jewelry @ etsy.  Here’s a new thing about me: I collect charm bracelets from flea markets and antique shops.  I like the feeling of knowing that someone else spent years on a bracelet about themselves.  I, however, can’t seem to come up with a theme or a life of my own for a bracelet.  Obviously, I just wasn’t looking hard enough – duh, book charms.

For the Classic Valentine (or the girl that says she only wants a card.  Hint: She’s lying.  This also pertains to the girl who says she doesn’t like flowers because they die.  Hint: She too is lying.  They should hang out together).

Classic Beauty | For the Girl Who Wants a Card

  • Top Left | Book Ring from ChezMargot @ etsy.  Write your special message, get laid or your money back.
  • Top Right | Arabian Nights Secret Stash from Hollow Book Safe @ etsy.  Not only a classic book, but keep your classic jewelry safe.
  • Bottom Left | Alice Apron from Loverdoversclothing @ etsy.  You knew I’d throw some Alice in somewhere.  I don’t really like to cook, but I’d bake my whole kitchen away if I had this little petticoat apron.
  • Bottom Right | Propose with a Book from Pommesfrites @ etsy.  There are no words, tears are forming.

For the Funky Valentine

Funky Chick Valentine

  • Top Left | John Clark Bookish Girl Print by John Clark @ etsy.  I bought some of these for my sister-in-law a while back.  They’re wonderful.  I’ve been obsessed for a while.
  • Top Right | Ipod Peter Pan by RichNeelyDesigns @etsy.  Someone commented on my Newsday Tuesday blog from a bit ago that they wanted one.  So here they are.
  • Bottom Left | Superman Mini-me’s by CreativeButterflyXOX @etsy.  These are really cake toppers but I’m not getting married anytime soon, so for now they’re just decorations.
  • Bottom Right | Book Light by ItUsetoBe @etsy.  These are awesome, maybe you want to stay up and read, but have no flashlight…bring the book light, literally.

For the Savy/Stylish/Technological Valentine

For the All Things New Valentine

  • Top Left | Bookstore Betty Coat by TulleClothing @ Modcloth.  Fancy sitting around books all day?  Or like me, do you drag your significant others into every bookstore on a bookish cobblestone street?
  • Top Right | Necklace in Wonderlandby And Mary @ Modcloth.  Curiouser and curiouser.
  • Bottom Left | The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks @ every bookstore ever.  Any smart and savvy girl needs to know to escape to the tallest building in the city with multiple machine guns and a hunky doctor with a vaccine.
  • Bottom Right | Novel Tee in Ester by Out of Print @ Modcloth.  Oh, Sylvia.  Darling, Sylvia.  “Yes, Mickey?”

For the Grammarian Librarian 

Grammarian Librarian

  • Top Left | Vintage Library Cards by The Old Design Shop @ etsy.  I wish we still used these to mark dates.
  • Top Middle | I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar @ Modcloth.
  • Top Right | Shoulder Bag of Notebook by Lyst @ Modcloth.  I would throw notebooks in this bag so it’s only fitting that it has one on the outside.
  • Middle Left | I’ve completely lost this sign somewhere on Etsy.
  • Middle | Good Grammar is Sexy by Studio Nico @ etsy.  The chick and the t-shirt look good.
  • Middle Right | Library Stamper by Rubber Stamps For You @ etsy.  Clearly, we all need these for those who borrow our books and never give them back.  When we’re in their house, nosing around their bookshelves we will Ah-ha our book and prove it’s ours by the stampage.
  • Bottom Left | Grammar Nerd Bird House by Repagination @ etsy.  My mom and dad collect bird houses (you should see our backyard) and this is perfect.  I also really like this one.
  • Bottom Middle | Library Card Notebook by Campfire Designs @ etsy.
  • Bottom Right | Pear Book Ends by Lady and Meemz Fab @ etsy.  I just think produce and books go together well.  Have you ever even seen an overweight librarian?  It’s a skinny culture…all those thin words.

The Homey Valentine

Homey Valentine

  • Top Left | Marks the Plot Coaster Set by Out of Print @ Modcloth.  Books, books everywhere and not a word to read.
  • Top Right | Raven with Books by Wordybirdstudios @ etsy.  I went a little crazy with the wall decals.
  • Middle Left | Where the Wild Things Are (On Your bookshelf) by Black Fin Graphics @ etsy.
  • Middle Right | Scrabble Slam @ Target. I play this all the time with the teens and it is too much fun.  Outrageous.
  • Bottom Left | Retro Wall Decal with Books by Looks Better @ etsy.  I need a green wall.
  • Bottom Right | Booky Mugs by Book Fiend @ etsy.  It’s by a book lover, for a book lover.
Personal Favorites from One Book Lover to Another

Personal Favorites

  • Top Left | Planetarium Tights @ Modcloth.  I think every bookish girl likes the Universe, right?
  • Top Middle | Alice Print on Book Paper by CollageOrama @etsy.
  • Top Right | E.E. Cummings Set by Silver Made Studio @ etsy.  I may have already showed this to everyone I know.
  • Bottom Left | Barbie Earrings by imyourpresent @ etsy.  Barbie reads….right?
  • Bottom Middle | Floating Bookshelf by Littlefishfurniture @ etsy.  I own one of these and it is magnificent.  Seriously, buy one.  It’ll change your whole room.  Plus, I totally called Ezra who owns the shop a woman, and he was really gracious about it.  AND on top of that he’s going to write a book about his name (at least I hope so).
  • Bottom Right | Messenger Bag by R2SD @ etsy.  I’m a real sucker for a messenger bag.  They just hold the most pens, pockets, and words.
Geninne gets her own special shout out just because I’m obsessed with her and she has no clue who I am.  WARNING MOTHER: (I may or may not have a tattoo that is one of her birds….Here’s to hoping my mom doesn’t read this part to my dad).

Make your literary lover happy this Love day and fill her/him up with words, sounds, and bookish things.

<3 Valentines for Book Lovers <3

Oh goodness, here we are again at the holiday where scorned women are burning their bras from large trashcans in the cubicle of their backyard and men are standing outside of the florist’s glass doors five minutes too late (should have thought ahead).  My nephew will be bringing his Valentine mailbox to school covered in sweet hearts and red stickers.  Lipstick marks will brush cheeks, napkins and if you’re lucky, necks.  High school girls will complain that their boyfriend doesn’t shower them in mom’s homemade chocolate strawberries everyday of the year, and college girls will get drunk and dance wildly to Katy Perry leaving eye liner sinking down their lids the next morning.  It is a day for jubilation whether pink or drowned.  It’s one of my favorite holidays because I love to see bright colors everywhere and I can wear a really fun pair of earrings.  Plus, what a great excuse to eat your arm weight in chocolate (this also pertains to Easter).

Without further adieu, your gift guide:

Let’s start big. The Naughty Lover

Bad Girl | Valentine

  • Top Left | Personalized Valentine Tattoo Bookmark by My Bookmark @etsy.  25% off for the whole month of February. Tell your bookish suitor that you like him more than just the 14th.  Tell your pin-up girlfriend that you wish it was her in your book, but she’s running through your dreams all day.  (pow!)
  • Top Right | Naughty Bookmark (Vintage) by Infinite Caboodles @etsy.  If you just want to be blunt about it.
  • Bottom Left | Naughty or Nice Pins.  They also come in Sex Kitten.  As a bookish girl, I used to be obsessed with pins for my “book” bag.  I never really carried school supplies (other than my favorite rollerball pens) but I always carried books filled with post-its.
  • Bottom Right | Make-out Necklace. Or as my mom would say “Necking Necklace” which sounds a lot cooler.

For the Romantic Lover

For the Romance of the Bookish

  • Top Left | Chocolate Book by Hungry Happenings @ blogspot.  I mean…what girl doesn’t want chocolate?  And even better if it comes in book form.
  • Top Right | Literary Locket by Classically Romantic @ etsy.  Who needs a boy to lock away in a pendant against their chest when they can have words; synonyms, vowels, rhyming.
  • Bottom Left | Word Bouquet by Hello Mrs Brown @ etsy.  I just really hope my boy sees this blog.
  • Bottom Right | Book Charms by Southwest Sky Jewelry @ etsy.  Here’s a new thing about me: I collect charm bracelets from flea markets and antique shops.  I like the feeling of knowing that someone else spent years on a bracelet about themselves.  I, however, can’t seem to come up with a theme or a life of my own for a bracelet.  Obviously, I just wasn’t looking hard enough – duh, book charms.

For the Classic Valentine (or the girl that says she only wants a card.  Hint: She’s lying.  This also pertains to the girl who says she doesn’t like flowers because they die.  Hint: She too is lying.  They should hang out together).

Classic Beauty | For the Girl Who Wants a Card

  • Top Left | Book Ring from ChezMargot @ etsy.  Write your special message, get laid or your money back.
  • Top Right | Arabian Nights Secret Stash from Hollow Book Safe @ etsy.  Not only a classic book, but keep your classic jewelry safe.
  • Bottom Left | Alice Apron from Loverdoversclothing @ etsy.  You knew I’d throw some Alice in somewhere.  I don’t really like to cook, but I’d bake my whole kitchen away if I had this little petticoat apron.
  • Bottom Right | Propose with a Book from Pommesfrites @ etsy.  There are no words, tears are forming.

For the Funky Valentine

Funky Chick Valentine

  • Top Left | John Clark Bookish Girl Print by John Clark @ etsy.  I bought some of these for my sister-in-law a while back.  They’re wonderful.  I’ve been obsessed for a while.
  • Top Right | Ipod Peter Pan by RichNeelyDesigns @etsy.  Someone commented on my Newsday Tuesday blog from a bit ago that they wanted one.  So here they are.
  • Bottom Left | Superman Mini-me’s by CreativeButterflyXOX @etsy.  These are really cake toppers but I’m not getting married anytime soon, so for now they’re just decorations.
  • Bottom Right | Book Light by ItUsetoBe @etsy.  These are awesome, maybe you want to stay up and read, but have no flashlight…bring the book light, literally.

For the Savy/Stylish/Technological Valentine

For the All Things New Valentine

  • Top Left | Bookstore Betty Coat by TulleClothing @ Modcloth.  Fancy sitting around books all day?  Or like me, do you drag your significant others into every bookstore on a bookish cobblestone street?
  • Top Right | Necklace in Wonderlandby And Mary @ Modcloth.  Curiouser and curiouser.
  • Bottom Left | The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks @ every bookstore ever.  Any smart and savvy girl needs to know to escape to the tallest building in the city with multiple machine guns and a hunky doctor with a vaccine.
  • Bottom Right | Novel Tee in Ester by Out of Print @ Modcloth.  Oh, Sylvia.  Darling, Sylvia.  “Yes, Mickey?”

For the Grammarian Librarian 

Grammarian Librarian

  • Top Left | Vintage Library Cards by The Old Design Shop @ etsy.  I wish we still used these to mark dates.
  • Top Middle | I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar @ Modcloth.
  • Top Right | Shoulder Bag of Notebook by Lyst @ Modcloth.  I would throw notebooks in this bag so it’s only fitting that it has one on the outside.
  • Middle Left | I’ve completely lost this sign somewhere on Etsy.
  • Middle | Good Grammar is Sexy by Studio Nico @ etsy.  The chick and the t-shirt look good.
  • Middle Right | Library Stamper by Rubber Stamps For You @ etsy.  Clearly, we all need these for those who borrow our books and never give them back.  When we’re in their house, nosing around their bookshelves we will Ah-ha our book and prove it’s ours by the stampage.
  • Bottom Left | Grammar Nerd Bird House by Repagination @ etsy.  My mom and dad collect bird houses (you should see our backyard) and this is perfect.  I also really like this one.
  • Bottom Middle | Library Card Notebook by Campfire Designs @ etsy.
  • Bottom Right | Pear Book Ends by Lady and Meemz Fab @ etsy.  I just think produce and books go together well.  Have you ever even seen an overweight librarian?  It’s a skinny culture…all those thin words.

The Homey Valentine

Homey Valentine

  • Top Left | Marks the Plot Coaster Set by Out of Print @ Modcloth.  Books, books everywhere and not a word to read.
  • Top Right | Raven with Books by Wordybirdstudios @ etsy.  I went a little crazy with the wall decals.
  • Middle Left | Where the Wild Things Are (On Your bookshelf) by Black Fin Graphics @ etsy.
  • Middle Right | Scrabble Slam @ Target. I play this all the time with the teens and it is too much fun.  Outrageous.
  • Bottom Left | Retro Wall Decal with Books by Looks Better @ etsy.  I need a green wall.
  • Bottom Right | Booky Mugs by Book Fiend @ etsy.  It’s by a book lover, for a book lover.
Personal Favorites from One Book Lover to Another

Personal Favorites

  • Top Left | Planetarium Tights @ Modcloth.  I think every bookish girl likes the Universe, right?
  • Top Middle | Alice Print on Book Paper by CollageOrama @etsy.
  • Top Right | E.E. Cummings Set by Silver Made Studio @ etsy.  I may have already showed this to everyone I know.
  • Bottom Left | Barbie Earrings by imyourpresent @ etsy.  Barbie reads….right?
  • Bottom Middle | Floating Bookshelf by Littlefishfurniture @ etsy.  I own one of these and it is magnificent.  Seriously, buy one.  It’ll change your whole room.  Plus, I totally called Ezra who owns the shop a woman, and he was really gracious about it.  AND on top of that he’s going to write a book about his name (at least I hope so).
  • Bottom Right | Messenger Bag by R2SD @ etsy.  I’m a real sucker for a messenger bag.  They just hold the most pens, pockets, and words.
Geninne gets her own special shout out just because I’m obsessed with her and she has no clue who I am.  WARNING MOTHER: (I may or may not have a tattoo that is one of her birds….Here’s to hoping my mom doesn’t read this part to my dad).

Make your literary lover happy this Love day and fill her/him up with words, sounds, and bookish things.

Gay Pride in a WWJD Bracelet, and Lights at Niagara Falls

I feel like I haven’t written about books in a century so this blog will be about The Celibacy Club by Janice Eidus (my instructor at Chautauqua), but also a little bit about New York making all marriages legal.

So, to start off…let me share a little anecdote.  Since I was fourteen years old (that’s, let’s see, ten years) I’ve worn one of those trite, “W.W.J.D.” bracelets that starving children in China are creating for teenagers like me who at the time believe in three things; their own virginity, Jesus and Catholic guilt (or Baptist, Methodist, Mormon…whatever denomination you see fit here).  I seriously have not taken this thing off since fourteen.  If my bracelet breaks, I immediately go out to the local Family Christian Store (literally that’s the name) and ask the sales lady where they are, and I purchase a new bracelet.  I have very pale, vampire, nocturnal skin under the blackness of my sewed bracelet – it hasn’t seen light in years, much like my buttocks.

Since about two years ago, I wore a rainbow W.W.J.D bracelet.  I liked to call it my “Gay Pride, Jesus Pride” bracelet.  However, since then, the store has stopped selling the rainbow version (the only version I’d ever bought, and ever would think to buy in the political, and religious conditions our world is under at this point) and so I had to turn to basic black.  I really believe they stopped selling rainbow because they realized the connotation it held.  They still have purple though which I’m considering switching too.  Must wait until the black one breaks though – it’s been going strong for a few years.

I like to think that people aren’t always judging each other.

But I think I’d be wrong in saying that.

Just last week, a former friend texted me with the facebook news of another friend being “engaged and pregnant.”  Now, tell me this friend wanted to text me about anything other than this…doubtful.  She wanted to gossip.  I had to bite  my tongue and remind her that I no longer have a facebook and am not privy to the personal lives of people I haven’t spoken to in more than six months… because I don’t give a flying shit.  (pardon my French).

So, back to the bracelets (que Christina Aguilera circa 2009).  I have worn this black bracelet, white stitching, for the last two years.  All along thinking about what people thought about me when shaking my hand in interviews.  Did they think I was a “Honk if you love Jesus person” to quote one of my favorites, A Walk to Remember?  Did they think I would only teach their children about Biblical history or Biblical literature or Jesus-appropriate, Virgin-appropriate literature?  When really I would just throw at them the almanac of Judy Blume. These things, I can’t be sure of because no one has point-blank ever asked me what my bracelet means.  We are in the Bible belt, so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  (Coincidentally, my friend Jono did ask me once what it meant, but I don’t think he counts because he’s Australian, and religious activities are very relaxed in Australia even though the churches are GORRRRGEOUS).

Anyway, the one thing I think I can actually bet on in my bracelet-toting ways is that people definitely don’t assume that I’m a gay rights activist.  Not that I’ve gone to any rally’s or really partaken in any gay-rights political notions.  However, I have bought a shirt from the FCKH8 community and worn it quite frequently around people who obviously don’t believe in gay marriage.  I also put it frankly on my blog that I’m into all marriage types being legal in every way.  I have a few friends who haven’t come out of the closet, per say, yet, but are working on themselves in a way to always, no matter what, let their lights shine.  I have convinced my teens that using any slur of “gay, homo, queer, or fruitcup” will not be tolerated or accepted at the teen center and that it should be forever removed from their vocabularies.  (Embarrassingly, I have watched the NY Housewives episode where they went to the Gay Pride Rally…eeee).  And I have recommend the book, Shine, to countless people in celebration of young adult gay literature.

(See here for other books, via Barnes & Noble that may introduce you to specified reading within the LGBTQ Community).

Also, the church I attend has a vibrant gay and lesbian community.  I feel like I’m just spouting of reasons for you to believe that I actually love gay people, and actually love their freedom of expression and right to marry.

Well, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

This whole blog came about actually…because I spent the week in NY (duh, if you’ve read this any in the past week, you know) and I actually went to Niagara Falls on Sunday night and got to experience the first ever rainbow falls.  I know a twitter picture has already gone viral of the falls in their rainbow, prideful glow.   However, I too wanted to share a few of my photos and give a hooray to whoever decided to paint the falls the beautiful, rhythmic and unicorn colors of one of God’s greatest gifts: the rainbow.

I feel blessed to have been at Niagara Falls on such a big day for New York City and for the rights of people carrying any sexuality.  I can’t wait to see how we progress even further in our fight for rights of any nature.  (I’m also deep into the battle of Planned Parenthood, and sex education, especially with my new found career in teaching high school students).

I’ve actually, also, been hearing all week about government spending and how this is just adding to the deficit  because now we have to give benefits to same-sex partners.  Yes, I am concerned about the debt, and the fact that we haven’t come to a conclusion at all with whether we are raising the ceiling.  But, my joy in seeing this hallmark-card moment in history means so much more to me than this debt.  I know that sounds totally ridiculous seeing as how I will be getting this debt on my shoulders as soon as I have a big-girl job, and my children, and my children’s children.  I’d rather people be able to sign paperwork under their government to be able to love one another I guess.  I guess that’s how ludicrous and out of my mind I am.

The falls were beautiful, gay pride is beautiful, everyone in the world no matter what race, sexuality or religion is beautiful.  Here are some photos:

Rainbow Falls via Canadian Side.

Another success for the LGBTQ community and our nation.

I'm just overdoing it with this one.

I want you to see this moment in history from every angle.

Fireworks for the momentous occasion.

Blurry, but I really love it.

My beautiful Aunt Jan who has too many pets and too much garden to be with any man who isn't AMAZING.

Yes, my shirt does say, "I like big books and I can not lie."

So, after all of that, and all my emotions that are still swirling through my head… after facing the international crowds, gambling away twenty bucks at the Casino and seeing Rainbow falls, I started Janice Eidus‘ book, The Celibacy Club.

I was really excited to start this book because Janice had just been my instructor for a week with all the retirees.  For some reason, I was experiencing some sort of intimidation factor within the workshop and the daunting task of once again diving into fiction was terrifying to me.  I’ve been focusing so much effort on poetry, that fiction no longer comes easy and I actually had to sweat, and accumulate that little patch of ink on the outside corner of my mid-pinky region (shucks).

So, this book took me about two days and while I didn’t love it, I’m definitely going to give Janice another chance to woo me with her novel.  Not that reading about lots of fantasies didn’t thrill me this time around.  I will turn to this novel next.  She read a bit of it on a Brown Bag Porch Lunch in Chautauqua and I really enjoyed the first chapter.

The Celibacy Club, just didn’t reach me though.  I just kept wanting to believe in stories that weren’t possibly real.  The stories were mostly fantastical, told in the voice of has-been’s and old-wash-up’s.  I adored a few of the stories, especially the second to last story which was about hair, coincidentally an assignment she gave us in class was about the same topic.

I read that story today and for some reason I tied it up quite nicely with my gay pride blog.  It seems to me that this story is about the plague of aids on men and a group of women have gotten together to grow their hair until this plague is stopped.  I loved how the story had a political objective, but I also loved the women, their stories, the very escape each of these women feel in growing their hair long.  They are going against norms, going against men they love, fighting for more appreciation, less judgment.  They are you and me.

Many of the other stories touched my heart as well.  Both Elvis and Jimmy Dean come into play, as well as a mermaid with a spectacular singing voice.  It’s a coming-of-age through sex, a knowing yourself through your own sexuality, or lack there of.  It’s a book of sex education.  And who can complain about a book, that’s mostly about sex, with a bible study-esque cover.  I mean come on, be serious,  this cover was totally planned to look like a bible study class cover. I grew up in Vacation Bible School and CCD, I know it when I see it.  I just love that wit, that even the cover is satirical.

I recommend Janice Eidus, because she’s an amazing teacher and instructor, because she knows the Bronx, and NY, because she’s Jewish (and maybe you need to read more about your heritage or just about another religion) and because who doesn’t like a good sex romp ever so often without diving into a grocery store romance.

So, Here, Here to Gay Pride, to Janice Eidus and her sex, and to the gynecologists cold hands this morning.  Everyone have a good night!

Where is Sonya Hartnett when you need her?

This is the question we must ask ourselves upon reading Meghan Cox Gurdon’s article “Darkness to Visible” in The Wall Street Journal.  Sonya Hartnett is the brilliant Australian author of mostly YA fiction although she has dabbled in “adult” fiction more recently.  Her books include:  Wilful Blue, Sleeping Dogs, All My Dangerous Friends, Thursday’s Child, and many others.  She has won almost every book award for a young adult author and even went as far as using a pseudonym for her book, Landscape with Animals, so it wouldn’t be just stuck along the shelf and put into a category of YA deliberately because of her name being attached to it.  The thing I love about Sonya Hartnett is that she will pile on the gore, the disbelief, the horrors hiding in the small cupboards of your grandparents house and not give a shit a that thirteen-year-old can find it in the “young adult” section and take it home, learning about the world of abuse and incest.

Here’s a little story: during my time in my Australia, I was fresh off a bachelor’s degree and in desperate need of some new material.    I was writing manuscripts and crossing my fingers on their finality and their brilliance, but I was also on a hunger for reading.  So, what else would I do, being that I stayed mostly on a college campus, but look up the creative writing and literature courses and sneak into a few I found most interesting.  One of these was called, “Writing for Young People” taught by one of my favorite professors … ever (even though he has no idea who I am and I was never supposed to be in the dark rafters of his theater-seated class) named Anthony Eaton.  He had that Robert Pattinson habit of using his hands like small cups and introduced me to writers like Sonya Hartnett and artists like Shaun Tan.  Eaton himself is a prominent Australian young adult author and alluded to the many disturbing parts of Young Adult writing as well as the complete horrors in children’s writing (Shel Silverstein anyone)?

But this is all hoopla to my real point…(for lack of better words), Meghan Cox Gurdon is a complete and utter asshole (just in this article), and not only that, she probably hasn’t taken the time to really read any of the young adult novels she’s evangelizing against.  She discusses the vampire-ridden love stories on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, but does she ever dive deeper into the actual books?  Did she read Sherman Alexie, Lauren Macayle, Laurie Halse Anderson or Sarah Dessen?   Her main argument is that Young Adult writing has become TOO dark for the feeble minds of thirteen year olds (sarcasm).  She says that parents should be instead buying their children happy stories, maybe even fairytales (obviously not Grimm), so that the behavior in books doesn’t become commonplace and we aren’t aghast when it happens in real life.  In other words she thinks young adult fiction will make us numb to the actual situations.  But then if everyone read happy-Disney-fairytale stories, we’d all still be believing (us teenage girls I mean) in riding off into the sunset, strapped to a steed and the ass crack of Prince Charming.  Our hands clasped tightly around his grid abs.  And we all know where those books and beliefs got us: He’s Just Not that Into You.

While there are writer’s out there who write primarily high school relationship stories for the young adult genre (Sarah Dessen and my personal favorite, Judy Blume), we can’t just cast out the writer’s that are opening ignorant eyes to the ideas of feminism, incest, abuse, sexuality, life not working out exactly how you want it to all the time, and the darker aspects of adult fiction.  While Sarah Dessen is more cupcakes and lollipops young adult relationship fiction, Judy Blume has had some experiences diving into the more serious, the sexual, the power dynamics of female and male high school students and so on.  Which is fitting because she just wrote an introduction about her own censorship (she’s one of the most banned writer’s in the Nation as of right now) which fits right against Gurdon’s argument.  Judy Blume’s introduction on the stupidity of censorship can be found here.

I think the thing I really am displeased about by Gurdon is her idea that young adults don’t have the mind capacity, the imagination, or the level of knowledge about life to really know how to handle these darker stories like Sleeping Dogs, filled with love through incest, child abandonment, abuse and neglect and even death.  Gurdon says,

“If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds…”

But isn’t this life?  Aren’t one in four children abused by a family member, or known adult?  Isn’t a report of child abuse made every 10 seconds (http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics)?  In 2000, every 8 out of 100,000 teens committed suicide and how do we even know if this percentage has increased since the idea of cyber bullying (National Institute for Mental Health)?  If we’re in a place in the world where 1 in 5 teens are thinking about suicide, how is that our children can’t read about the various things that are happening around them in high school (National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center)?  I think Gurdon’s knowledge of the young adult world is sparse.  Just last night on NBC Dateline there was a story on teen bullying.  Parents were put in one room and children were in another while two actors bullied and one actor was the victim, just to see who would stand up to the bullies and take a stand against this behavior.  You’ll have to watch it to see what happened, but the fact of the matter, that Gurdon is totally missing, is that THIS IS HAPPENING.

I’m here to tell you, straight from the source that I quit at Harry Potter #4 because he wasn’t having sex.  Harry and I were growing up together, we were experiencing the same sort of involvement in our selves and our friendships, we weren’t learning the same education wise, but we were learning the same morals, the same values, the same lessons for later in life.  But, by book 4 it was apparent to me that Harry Potter was never going to have a “happy ending,” where he would kill Voldemort and then take Hermoine to a sweet love nest.  (I have since discovered it is little, freckled Ginny that Harry ultimately woos, and even after they are married, we have no knowledge of their sexual exploits).  This might also be why I devoured the Twilight series all in four days without peeing, (mostly not eating) and hunkered down waiting for the Vampire sex.

Now that anecdote may not make you feel like your child is ready to experience 1000 Brushstrokes before Bed but, it may tell you that I’m quite the average young adult.  I was raised in a good Catholic home, I went to church every Sunday, I swam four hours a day on a year-round team and eventually became the Captain of my high school swim team, did youth retreats, and got into one of my State’s best colleges.  And yet, here I am (humblebrag) wanting good ol’ English bloke Harry Potter to get some.  I think the lessons of female empowerment and friendship that Rowling does convey in her Young Adult series far outweigh any sex she may have written about, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want it.

So, who did I (and still do) turn to? Judy Blume, my queen of young adult literature.  Or Laurie Halse Anderson with her novel Speak about a young woman’s rape.  (Laurie Halse Anderson has since written books on the Revolutionary War, and a girl who loves chemistry, both young adult books and both award winners, as was Speak).  Were the people who gave those awards just full of death and despair or was the book actually a well-written account of young adulthood?  This is the question we really need to ask ourselves.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever censor what my child reads.  If my fourteen-year old finds Erica Jong, and Anais Nin I’ll let them inspire what they will in her.  I will make sure my children are reading at their own grade level or above, but I won’t ever tell them that erotica is too mature for them because of its explicit sexuality, or that Sleeping Dogs is just too intense.  How will they ever learn to deal with their own despair if they don’t first learn to deal with it and live through it in a character’s eyes?  How will they learn about the world?  There’s only so far I can go on a talk about birth control, how to put a tampon in properly and what boys want in the backs of cars.  I’m not saying that I want someone in control of my parenting, because please believe I will be a total helicopter mom (much like my own who reads everyone of these blogs and never said no to my reading habits).  I just think reading books is an education of its own.  Sometimes books can give you a better education than a classroom ever would and sometimes we need to let books do that work.  Whether they be on vampire sex, rape, magical realism, chick-lit, high school relationships gone wild, or abuse.  These are things that are happening in young adult America and books are a way to cope, a way to mature, a way to enlighten and a way to escape.  How could I ever, EVER, deny my child those rights?  And how can you?

Megan Cox Gurdon’s article can be found here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038.html?KEYWORDS=MEGHAN+COX+GURDON

Another response to Gurdon’s article can be found here:

http://www.missourireview.com/tmr-blog/2011/06/13/age-limits-and-expiration-dates/

A defense of Gurdon can be found here:

http://oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/in-defense-of-meghan-cox-gurdon-childrens-book-reviewer/

And here is a list of some of my favorite young adult books:

  1. Summer Sisters – Judy Blume
  2. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  4. Sleeping Dogs – Sonya Hartnett
  5. Book Thief – Markus Zusak (also marketed in adult fiction)
  6. Goldengrove – Francine Prose

WARNING: This Blog may get Political

I’ve only been adult enough to listen to NPR (regularly) for about two weeks now. So, I can’t say I’m always up on the latest budget news or can tell you exactly where the count is on soldiers dead in Iraq, but I know what I know of the last two weeks and all of a sudden I feel politically minded and ready to argue my points on my little widdle blog.  I may even have picked up a newspaper or two just to make sure NPR wasn’t pulling my leg a few times.  One of my favorite talk shows on NPR is Diane Rehm because she sounds like an women straight out of the twenties with a feather in her headband, smoking a cigarette donning a theater length holder.  Basically, I see her as an older version of Rosanne mixed with Cruella Deville.  Her voice just has that, “I’m fabulous and antique” sound to it.

I’m sure she regularly spouts out Oscar Wilde quotes like, “A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure.  It is exquisite, and it leaves one satisfied.  What more could one want?”  You know, in her free time, lounging on her Freudian sofa and drinking studly-butler-made cocktails.  I google imaged pictures of her and wish I hadn’t because now my imaginary Diane Rehm has been taken over by this Paula-Deen-look-a-like.  So, I recommend listening and taking on my description instead of googling her big, white hair.   (But now you’re curious aren’t you)?

Anyway, enough about her, personally.   Today on her show, she was talking about the recent lude picture/text message/e-mail scandal of Anthony Weiner.  And this morning she had three “experts” on the scandal discussing how Weiner should step down.  And this is where I began to get a bit frustrated.  The man has a wife yes, and he sent naked photographs and dirty “childish” text messages to six women (so far) over the internet.  Otherwise, there was no interaction.  He didn’t pull a John Edwards and make any love children, or an Arnold and sleep with his household staff (Arnold who is also a Governor already stepped down (thanks comments), or cock a woman over his office desk, he JUST SENT A FEW NAKED PHOTOS.  I mean we sit here and eat this shit up when Perez Hilton announces that once again, Paris Hilton has slipped her panties off getting into her limousine after leaving a night club.  We openly giggle when Kim Kardashian has a sex tape going for millions on the porn market.  And then when Weiner sends his middle-aged penis out to a few women we get caught up in a lightning match of people trying to persuade him to step down.

I know, I know, we want to hold our Congressmen and Congresswomen to another level of moral and ethical dignity and we expect them to be earthly saints, but is this at all practical?   We expect them to have a hand in making our countries decisions.  We expect them to take the worries of a town, state and nation on their shoulders and read our heartfelt letters about squashing the bill to lessen funds to Planned Parenthood and yet, when they send a few naked pictures over e-mail to women they don’t actually even know in real life, we erupt in an angry twitter.  (Literally, twitter is exploding with Weiner rants).

I just don’t get it.  I’m definitely not condoning his behavior, because he’s married and obviously it’s wrong.  I’m just not condoning our behavior as a nation to expect him to be a saint and above everyone else.   Almost everyone on Rehm’s show agreed that he should probably step down.  But two of the experts, thought that his crime was more than most financial crimes that Congressmen commit.  For instance, they discussed how a woman called a bank and talked at length to the banks chief management because her husband was in the business of possibly purchasing the bank.  How is this ANY DIFFERENT then a congress man letting his penis lead?  She’s letting her husband in on special privileges, and got almost no flack, but this man who decided to stand in his bathroom, bare and free in the mirror and on his phone is being asked to step down.

By the way, my favorite quote that Weiner sent (because I did read them on the internet, I was fascinated and he’s surely a bit of a pick up artist…) is: “Caped crusader, looking for my sidekick.”  I wish I could see the picture that went along with this text message (just a sidenote into my sick and twisted personality).

When did our nation become so prude, huh?  Oh, I forgot, SINCE OUR HISTORY.

Why is it that a town in Alaska can have a group shower time, filled with hang-low breasts and moonshine cracks naked and blazin’, and our governer can’t share his birthday suit. If you want to know more about this place in Alaska, I suggest reading an AMAZING poem by my friend Sierra Golden, here.

Three arguements against Weiner:

  1. We expect more from our congressmen.
  2. How is he doing his job if he is too busy being illicit with women?
  3. And how can we condone his actions if we don’t condone Tiger Woods, Arnold and I’m sure the many women who have used their power to seduce hopeless men…(we’re wild cats so, who knows really?  I guess we’re just better at hiding our indiscretions.  The secret agents come out in women when things like this happen).
My arguements for these:
  1. Weiner is a human.  We all make mistakes.  We don’t condone his cheating and yet we watch endless episodes of cheaters (the show with the host who has a voice like shaken coffee), and endless episodes of paternity cases on Maury and then we get angry when this happens in real life.  NEWS FLASH: IT IS HAPPENING IN REAL LIFE, ALL AROUND YOU.
  2. If Weiner was having an all out affair with sexcapades and mind games, and throwing away condoms in dumpsters with his McDonald’s breakfasts – that’s one thing.  But the man, took twenty, or thirty minutes out of his day to converse with women about his need for them.  Six of them. He may have taken more minutes, I really can’t say, but the man isn’t taking longer lunches so that he can meet his uptown babe for romp.
  3. We don’t condone any of these actions.  None of them.  Weiner is married, and he emotionally cheated, yes.  However, his wife is staying with him and so I think the nation should stay with him.  Period.
Okay, I’m sorry I just had to talk about that a little bit and now I just want to show you a few pictures of my last week so you know I wasn’t completely farting around in my car listening to news on NPR and not blogging.
I was ACTUALLY working at the RR Loft (and simultaneously bird watching).

My one lone birdie boy.

And then on Wednesday this week, I had a very creative visitor come close to my kitchen.  As my cat dozes (on his own personal sheep skin loft bed attached to the window, mind you) I was looking at the magnolia tree my dad is thinking of cutting down and saw this little creative monster out the window.  What a beauty of a web, huh?

Window guard

Otherwise, I just picked some lovely hydrangea’s across the street with a tiny scissor from a pocket knife.  The wonderful houses across the street (see previous posts) are going to be bulldozed for condos and so all the flowers, and the Narnia wooded escape in the back, and the lights and door handles are all free for the taking.  The RR loft needed a pop of color and a delicious smell and so we decided to cut some and put them in our gorgeous little downtown view window.

Here’s to summer, the heat (and people surviving the wildfires in Arizona).