Project 365 | Week 16

It’s week 16 and I’m going to do more than just show my week in photos (we all know it’s about my cat anyway).

My best friend is this amazing photographer who has spent her life in the eye of wanderlust.  Right now this means she’s all “mermaid hair, hippie feet.”  She just opened an etsy account where you can purchase prints, cards, and postcards based on her Project 365.  Keep in mind that her Project 365 is glaciers, mountains, sheep, and seas, definitely not cats.  She even had a newborn pig at one point.  Her Project 365 can be found here & the etsy shop can be found here. If you’re too lazy to go to these sites here are some of my favorite photos from the last few weeks.

This next one is by far my favorite ever:

If you’re interested in ordering prints, she has a ton of photos on her website and you’re allowed to order any print you want in a postcard, 8×10 or normal folded card.  They’re beautiful, even if I’m bias.

Onto my week in photos:

Day 105: Welcome Back to North Carolina

I was walking into TJ Maxx minding my own and killed nature parked right down the row from me.

Day 106: Writing Life

My boss needed a pick-me-up.  He went next door to Southern Hospitality @ NOFO and got us glass bottles of soda pop.  I felt so 50’s with my pen, stapler and black cheery fuzz.

Day 107: Baby Birds Flew the Coop

Those baby birds with glossed goose flesh over their eyeballs two weeks ago have now grown up and moved out.

Day 108: Caribou Inspiration Board

I go to Caribou to share opinions on the chalk board because I’m a narcissist.

Day 109: Frustration via Tail

My monster only likes a certain amount of petting.  You can tell by the frustrated tail how much is too much.

Day 110: Silks & Inches

You think you’ve placed them gently on the sidewalk just out the back door, and then surprise! they’re on your finger.

Day 111: Happy Birthday Daddy!

My brother likes to buy my father odd plants for holidays.  A few years ago it was a “Satan” plant and this year it’s a muppet.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — E.E. Cummings

Sometimes, you have days when you need reasons to be happy, and you have to count each one on a finger.  When you run out, and can’t think of any other reasons maybe you’ll feel better.  Maybe your fingers will all be up in the air and you’ll start laughing at how silly you look in the middle of a bus filled with people, or a work cubicle, or in the silence of your own home while your cat stares with the face that is always saying, “you’re an idiot.”  This morning, my day started off with new Nikes.  My parents are getting into the newly formed tradition of BIRTHDAY WEEK and so they’ve been giving me presents when they see me during the day (which is rare).

After the Nikes, came a stop sign ticket that will most likely cost me $188 dollars and probably an Alive at 25 class.  Look at how the world  spins.  On most days this would have made me a sour puss, but the night before I had my family birthday celebration where my brother gave me a painting of “two chicks hangin’ out.”  Literally, with four perfectly dropped breasts.  My nephew got a whole plastic container of Legos, and my mom made everything delicious taste you can dream up from meatballs to Alfredo to steamed broccoli to mud pie (mmmmm….).  Let’s be serious though, the real reason I kept my normal flakey amount of composure and patience was that I just finished the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and because of this face:

I win for cutest nephew award.

As a side note; everyone I know thinks the cop was hitting on me.  He strode up to my car, stroking his leather pouch stocked full of metal gun (pun intended) and said, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” in a Russian accent (I made this up because his last name sounded straight off the vodka) before even taking a glance at my license or registration.  Try to keep in mind that I pulled over in my Catholic Church’s parking lot.  Also try to keep in mind that I have the lead foot of my grandmother and assumed that he was pulling me for going two over in my neighborhood, TWO OVER. What was I thinking, really?  Unlike some of my family, I don’t have a prideful disdain for the police, I’m actually quite polite and I only cried once before, out the half-rolled window, pleading for a warning (I was only 19) so I’m not sure what exactly happened here today.  They’re just doing their job pulling me over at the stop sign, at the end of my street, that I’ve driven up to and California-rolled past for the last eight years, but you didn’t hear it from me.

I guess I deserved it.

Quite something, I think. This probably makes you feel safer having me on the road, but I was in fact parked just outside of the RR when taking this last week.

What I’m trying to say is that since reading The Happiness Project (the whole day in a half since my finish line) I’ve been trying to appreciate things more, and act more patient with things that may not exactly be on the top of my “happy” list.  We can’t all go around like dancing penguins, but sometimes it’s important to show a little gratitude and give people the gold stars they deserve.  I’d been wanting to read this book for a while.  It’s even at Target, which you know makes it a super-best-seller because they only sell the really depressing teenage lit, and bestselling non-fiction.  You know, like Crazy Love (about Jesus).  It also claims on the front that she spent her mornings singing, which I always have full intention of doing with the classic of “Turn my Swag On” remix by Keri Hilson so I can feel hot & bothered in the car ride to work.  Picture to your left.  I just know, one day, I’m going to regret putting that up here.  At least it’s safe to say that I could never run for President.

The Happiness Project is a good, uplifting story.  Is it beautiful? Not really.  Is it thrilling? Not really.  Will it make you think? Yes.  Is it quotable? Yes.  I think I just did a whole review in two lines.  Honestly, it did make me think.  I happen to know a boy made from the cinema.  Literally, someone took pieces of black & white movies, projector screen, and romantic comedy scores and molded him into a hairy, good-smelling (most of the time) man.  He’s the kind of guy that gets out of a movie with his girl and picks her up in the middle of an evening parking lot to swing her around.  She happens to hope in these instances that she is wearing a “twirling dress” and most women will know what I’m talking about here, we were all six-year-old girls with ruffled socks at some point.  And sometimes, the girl who used to wear ruffled socks when she was six, doesn’t appreciate these parking lot happy endings, or longer than six-second hugs, because she’s on a schedule, or she has somewhere to go, or it’s cold outside and she has no earmuffs.  The Happiness Project made this girl realize that there is only a few times in your life, (unless you’re dating the boy from the Disney movies as stated above) when it is acceptable, and almost appropriate to be twirled in a movie theater parking lot.  And being twenty-three and almost care free is one of those times.  And so this averagely happy girl is going to make herself more happy by giving invading more-than-six-second-hugs and twirling this large man-boy around in the street so his boxers show just out of his sweatpants and his facial gruff rubs against her alabaster skin.

Does this all make sense?

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project is about appreciation.  Goals.  Clearing Clutter.  Remembering birthdays and memories.  And most importantly, “Being You.”  For instance, my best friend Sars has the most amazing New Zealand life.  I’m constantly jealous of her worldly travels, her camera eye, the fact that she sometimes bottle-feeds baby sheep (I mean seriously) and most of all, the fact that she lies naked in the middle of nowhere fields and glaciers of New Zealand, with the biggest wildlife that may come close, being a Hare.  It’s straight out of Alice really, except nude, and much more Lord of the Rings.  I’m jealous, a lot.  Sometimes to the point that I try to tear her down (I haven’t done this recently because I’m learning that I am a bookish girl, who likes to read, and not ski. I’d rather sit in the cabin with my book, cocoa and fuzzy socks than let my nose tingle red and my legs spread like a doe’s).  It seems sometimes our friends who have amazing lives are still not the lives that we, ourselves, should lead.  I’m proud to know Sars.  I’m proud to call her my best friend.  Does that mean I should be traipsing around hills and mountains in a toboggan and my bare ass – probably not.  (Well…maybe, I’m sure I’ll be visiting).

Be Cassie. That’s the goal here.  If I like to read Alice in Wonderland in every single version ever created and one day own the most extensive Alice library, then that’s what I should do.  If I want to eat mexican food; all day everyday, then I will be fat, but happy…about eating, and not about my body.  If I want to run the neighborhood in the mornings and work for low wage at a wonderful job where I tell teens, “I want to sledgehammer your face sometimes, but I love you…” then so be it.  I need to Be Cassie.  Embrace my bad music taste and my mispronunciation of Bon Iver every, single, time.  Embrace the yoga pant.  Embrace the hairs that sometimes appear on my chin even though I’m only twenty-three (for two more days) and I pluck them in broad daylight at stop lights.  Embrace the awkward headband, the highlighter colored make-up and the leggings.

If you take away anything from this blog, or if you even read this whole blog…Please, Please, Please write a comment below letting me know how you’re going to “Be _____.”  Maybe we’re really similar and we both just need to sit in a bed with a snuggie on and read, or maybe you’re like Sars who is somewhere zip-lining right now.  Or maybe you’re like the boy who wants to spin a girl around in the air, in traffic, like a maniac.  Whatever you are today, be you.  

Here is a link to Gretchen Rubin’s Blog and Website for The Happiness Project.

Here are a few photos of me … being me.  A twenty-four year old who most wants to celebrate her birthday with her family.  (No raves for me, although I do like glow sticks and hula-hoops).

My mother made me pretty in pink.

My nephew's "no-face"

Twenty-Four, officially can no longer claim it's closer to twenty-one than twenty-five

Candles

Sprinkle Puss

Three Men, One Boy, 3472384728374 Legos

Faj and Ma, plus the boy and his lego contraption.

Edible Legos

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." — E.E. Cummings

Sometimes, you have days when you need reasons to be happy, and you have to count each one on a finger.  When you run out, and can’t think of any other reasons maybe you’ll feel better.  Maybe your fingers will all be up in the air and you’ll start laughing at how silly you look in the middle of a bus filled with people, or a work cubicle, or in the silence of your own home while your cat stares with the face that is always saying, “you’re an idiot.”  This morning, my day started off with new Nikes.  My parents are getting into the newly formed tradition of BIRTHDAY WEEK and so they’ve been giving me presents when they see me during the day (which is rare).

After the Nikes, came a stop sign ticket that will most likely cost me $188 dollars and probably an Alive at 25 class.  Look at how the world  spins.  On most days this would have made me a sour puss, but the night before I had my family birthday celebration where my brother gave me a painting of “two chicks hangin’ out.”  Literally, with four perfectly dropped breasts.  My nephew got a whole plastic container of Legos, and my mom made everything delicious taste you can dream up from meatballs to Alfredo to steamed broccoli to mud pie (mmmmm….).  Let’s be serious though, the real reason I kept my normal flakey amount of composure and patience was that I just finished the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and because of this face:

I win for cutest nephew award.

As a side note; everyone I know thinks the cop was hitting on me.  He strode up to my car, stroking his leather pouch stocked full of metal gun (pun intended) and said, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere?” in a Russian accent (I made this up because his last name sounded straight off the vodka) before even taking a glance at my license or registration.  Try to keep in mind that I pulled over in my Catholic Church’s parking lot.  Also try to keep in mind that I have the lead foot of my grandmother and assumed that he was pulling me for going two over in my neighborhood, TWO OVER. What was I thinking, really?  Unlike some of my family, I don’t have a prideful disdain for the police, I’m actually quite polite and I only cried once before, out the half-rolled window, pleading for a warning (I was only 19) so I’m not sure what exactly happened here today.  They’re just doing their job pulling me over at the stop sign, at the end of my street, that I’ve driven up to and California-rolled past for the last eight years, but you didn’t hear it from me.

I guess I deserved it.

Quite something, I think. This probably makes you feel safer having me on the road, but I was in fact parked just outside of the RR when taking this last week.

What I’m trying to say is that since reading The Happiness Project (the whole day in a half since my finish line) I’ve been trying to appreciate things more, and act more patient with things that may not exactly be on the top of my “happy” list.  We can’t all go around like dancing penguins, but sometimes it’s important to show a little gratitude and give people the gold stars they deserve.  I’d been wanting to read this book for a while.  It’s even at Target, which you know makes it a super-best-seller because they only sell the really depressing teenage lit, and bestselling non-fiction.  You know, like Crazy Love (about Jesus).  It also claims on the front that she spent her mornings singing, which I always have full intention of doing with the classic of “Turn my Swag On” remix by Keri Hilson so I can feel hot & bothered in the car ride to work.  Picture to your left.  I just know, one day, I’m going to regret putting that up here.  At least it’s safe to say that I could never run for President.

The Happiness Project is a good, uplifting story.  Is it beautiful? Not really.  Is it thrilling? Not really.  Will it make you think? Yes.  Is it quotable? Yes.  I think I just did a whole review in two lines.  Honestly, it did make me think.  I happen to know a boy made from the cinema.  Literally, someone took pieces of black & white movies, projector screen, and romantic comedy scores and molded him into a hairy, good-smelling (most of the time) man.  He’s the kind of guy that gets out of a movie with his girl and picks her up in the middle of an evening parking lot to swing her around.  She happens to hope in these instances that she is wearing a “twirling dress” and most women will know what I’m talking about here, we were all six-year-old girls with ruffled socks at some point.  And sometimes, the girl who used to wear ruffled socks when she was six, doesn’t appreciate these parking lot happy endings, or longer than six-second hugs, because she’s on a schedule, or she has somewhere to go, or it’s cold outside and she has no earmuffs.  The Happiness Project made this girl realize that there is only a few times in your life, (unless you’re dating the boy from the Disney movies as stated above) when it is acceptable, and almost appropriate to be twirled in a movie theater parking lot.  And being twenty-three and almost care free is one of those times.  And so this averagely happy girl is going to make herself more happy by giving invading more-than-six-second-hugs and twirling this large man-boy around in the street so his boxers show just out of his sweatpants and his facial gruff rubs against her alabaster skin.

Does this all make sense?

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project is about appreciation.  Goals.  Clearing Clutter.  Remembering birthdays and memories.  And most importantly, “Being You.”  For instance, my best friend Sars has the most amazing New Zealand life.  I’m constantly jealous of her worldly travels, her camera eye, the fact that she sometimes bottle-feeds baby sheep (I mean seriously) and most of all, the fact that she lies naked in the middle of nowhere fields and glaciers of New Zealand, with the biggest wildlife that may come close, being a Hare.  It’s straight out of Alice really, except nude, and much more Lord of the Rings.  I’m jealous, a lot.  Sometimes to the point that I try to tear her down (I haven’t done this recently because I’m learning that I am a bookish girl, who likes to read, and not ski. I’d rather sit in the cabin with my book, cocoa and fuzzy socks than let my nose tingle red and my legs spread like a doe’s).  It seems sometimes our friends who have amazing lives are still not the lives that we, ourselves, should lead.  I’m proud to know Sars.  I’m proud to call her my best friend.  Does that mean I should be traipsing around hills and mountains in a toboggan and my bare ass – probably not.  (Well…maybe, I’m sure I’ll be visiting).

Be Cassie. That’s the goal here.  If I like to read Alice in Wonderland in every single version ever created and one day own the most extensive Alice library, then that’s what I should do.  If I want to eat mexican food; all day everyday, then I will be fat, but happy…about eating, and not about my body.  If I want to run the neighborhood in the mornings and work for low wage at a wonderful job where I tell teens, “I want to sledgehammer your face sometimes, but I love you…” then so be it.  I need to Be Cassie.  Embrace my bad music taste and my mispronunciation of Bon Iver every, single, time.  Embrace the yoga pant.  Embrace the hairs that sometimes appear on my chin even though I’m only twenty-three (for two more days) and I pluck them in broad daylight at stop lights.  Embrace the awkward headband, the highlighter colored make-up and the leggings.

If you take away anything from this blog, or if you even read this whole blog…Please, Please, Please write a comment below letting me know how you’re going to “Be _____.”  Maybe we’re really similar and we both just need to sit in a bed with a snuggie on and read, or maybe you’re like Sars who is somewhere zip-lining right now.  Or maybe you’re like the boy who wants to spin a girl around in the air, in traffic, like a maniac.  Whatever you are today, be you.  

Here is a link to Gretchen Rubin’s Blog and Website for The Happiness Project.

Here are a few photos of me … being me.  A twenty-four year old who most wants to celebrate her birthday with her family.  (No raves for me, although I do like glow sticks and hula-hoops).

My mother made me pretty in pink.

My nephew's "no-face"

Twenty-Four, officially can no longer claim it's closer to twenty-one than twenty-five

Candles

Sprinkle Puss

Three Men, One Boy, 3472384728374 Legos

Faj and Ma, plus the boy and his lego contraption.

Edible Legos

Bone People – Keri Hulme

Bone People - Keri Hulme

Good LORD, this book was a long time comin’. 545 pages of a language I didn’t know, 545 pages of a culture I didn’t know, and 545 pages of good story, without a real plot.   That pretty much sums it up if you want the point-blank view of this book.  However, and you all know that there is always a “however…” I really fell in love with these characters.

The three main characters (very main, as in, you hardly get to know anyone else outside of them) are Simon P (also known as Clare, Haimonia, and Himi),  his dad, Joe, and a lonely woman that Simon finds living in a tower named Kerwin Holmes.  I like to think the name Kerwin Holmes is a play on the authors name, Keri Hulme, but I haven’t figured out just why at this point.  I want to read Keri’s biography, I realize now that the character is based on herself, but if she knows Simon, I really want to know he was based on someone real as well.  He feels real to me anyhow.

Kerwin is a lovely character because she’s the listening character.  She’s the one who somehow understands, who is stunted creatively, who is estranged from her family, and yet she gives so much to Joe and Sim without even knowing she’s giving it.  She claims that she has refused to let her guard down, but it’s pretty clear she has already fallen in love with Sim and treats him as her own child.  Joe is not his real father either, just a pseudo-foster-dad who found him in a shipwreck.  Joe does love Sim endlessly, but he also has a dark history.

Sim, is Sim. He is mute, he steals, he throws bricks through windows and yet, he sings, he kisses, he creeps his tiny little hand into yours while you’re sleeping on the bunk below.  The introduction of a character with so many issues, who you have absolutely no real back-story on, because he is found in a ship-wreck filled with bundles of heroin (there may be a connection in there somewhere, but I can’t spoil it for the reader).  Sim may very well be one of my favorite literary characters of all time, and based just on him – I want everyone to read this book.

The only real issue I had are that I had to constantly read the glossary of New Zealand terms to figure out key points of the story.  Which, honestly, doesn’t bother me that much because I use the dictionary quite often, with normal, American novels.  Another issue though is that this book really had no plot and somehow, Hulme managed to throw a bit of magical realism in there just for the sake of it.  I’m sure I would understand better, if I understood the Maori culture, or their myth stories, but because I’m coming from a completely Western World perspective it was hard for me to pick up what I’m to gather from this book, and that section of magical realism.  Is it about the trinity of the three main characters?  Is it a Christian story of love and abandonment?  I’m just not sure.  I do understand that idea of Maori displacement, and the changing of Maori to European, but otherwise they myth-story, the true-to-heart tale of these three characters is lost on me.  (Not that it wasn’t beautiful, gut-wrenching, and pulled me through the entirety of the book).

So, in an effort to discover what I’m missing, I’ve been reading other blog reviews, e-reviews, even (dare I say it) spark notes.  (Don’t judge me).  The Guardian wrote a bit of a harsh review of Bone People, which can be found here.  It’s true that the language, grammar, and just writing in general at times is quite hard to follow.  I do highly respect Hulme for never giving in to any publishers who wanted to change her writing, although it is a struggle to get through in the prologue among other small pieces.  The character speaking, or point-of-view often changes abruptly as well which can be difficult when you’re unsure who is speaking since the characters have such a strong connection.

As Guardian says, she did finally get it picked up by a small NZ Press and it eventually won the Man Booker Prize.  This all says something about an author who wouldn’t let a big-name publisher change her words to anything less Maori, less her-characters, or lessen the story she is trying to tell, which if I haven’t said it already, is brilliant.

Can you tell I’m having a really hard time placing my thoughts with this review?

So, let me start from the beginning.

The opening prologue is a poem, with three short snip-its on each character.  You won’t exactly get any of it until you finish the book in its entirety, but it will displace you within the first five minutes.  I was sitting in my bed, socks off, each being eaten by monstrous flowery covers and waiting for anything to make sense.  I felt like I was sucked into a New Zealand twilight zone where I wasn’t invited into the culture because I’m a western gal.  (Just as a side note: my best friend married a Kiwi and is happily living on the cliff side with her new, and perfect family, and yet, still couldn’t get through the Maori puzzle even with any of her help).  I mean I got the gist, I got the amazing and terrifying, unusual love story unfolding through its 545 pages.  But, the Maori I was lost on.  I want so badly to know the Maori myths, to understand the entrance of the old man protecting the God, and the canoe towards the end, to understand Kerwin’s stabbing pain in her stomach when the others in her trinity were having equivalent pain.  Is it like twinness?  When one feels something, does another as well?  When Joe feels pain, or Sim, does Kerwin feel it wherever she is, alone, as well?

I don’t know.

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions.

I loved this book.  I love these characters.  I am in love with Simon P. Gillayley and would follow his mute and singing skinny legs anywhere around the globe.  I believe in the persistence of Keri Hulme and her knowledge of her own writing being something that people NEED to have in their hands.

I even believe in the parts that I didn’t understand.  It’s a mystery, and it’s evocative.

Here is my favorite quote:

“But there’s no compass for my disorientated soul, only ever-beckoning ghost lights.”  (307), Bone People by Keri Hulme

Here are other reviews that you may be interested in:

I also just want to say that if you experienced the earthquakes throughout New Zealand (Christchurch), I am deeply sorry for the loss of your city.  Earthquakes happen in Bone People and it really struck me as coinciding with today’s Christchurch (among others) city of ruins.  I just kept picturing their bell tower.  My best friend Sarah Dion (now Drummond) is selling prints for Christchurch on sarahdionphotography.com.  If you haven’t yet seen the devastation from the earthquakes in NZ, please watch this video: