Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Lord of the Flies" Review

Lord of the Flies (50th Anniversary Edition)Lord of the Flies by William Golding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my gosh. I had never read this book in school growing up, so I wanted to read it now, since it's considered a classic. It gripped me until the end, which I wasn't expecting. I can't say I loved it, but it was a good social commentary for sure.

The first three quarters of the book were to be expected; a story about what a group of young boys would do if they were stranded on an island by themselves. The last quarter, however, shocked me. I anticipated something awful based on the title and what I've already heard about the book, but I don't think anybody can prepare themselves for this. Golding masterfully draws his readers in and forms relationships between the reader and the characters.

In the modern world of tragic events, I think we've numbed ourselves a bit to protect us from the horror, but you will still be horrified at the events that take place in this book when the rules of society fall apart.

If you didn't read this book in high school, I would recommend picking it up now -- just for the sake of reading it once.

View all my reviews on Goodreads!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love is... my definition

Remember what love meant to you when you were a child? How about when you were a moody teenager?

I do. And while it was certainly drama-filled and uncertain (Does he like me? Should I kiss him? Why is he hanging out with her? Does he like her more than me?), I remember one very important thing about that young love. It was all-encompassing, all giving, selfless. Sure, I may have lost myself once or twice. Yes, love even made me depressed. But, you know what? Love is all-encompassing, all giving, selfless -- regardless of the cost.

I've been thinking a lot about love recently. What it means, what it looks like, how it acts.

As we get older, a strange thing happens -- at least that I have noticed personally. Everyone says adolescents are selfish and self-absorbed, and they are to an extent. The really self-centered people though are post-graduates. People in their mid to late 20's who are pursuing their dreams. These people are driven to advance in their careers, travel the world and expand their social circles. Us 20-somethings want it all.

At the cost of forgetting how to love.

Ok, maybe I'm generalizing to shelter myself here. This isn't a study on 20-somethings; this is me. This is my personal story, my experience.

I have forgotten how to love. The cost has been the life of my relationship.

No, I'm not newly single. Nothing is earth-shatteringly wrong to the naked eye. Love just feels... different. More so than the honeymoon period ending and the "real love" beginning. Something changed, and that something is me.

I spent SO MUCH time -- when all of my peers were focusing on building their identities and passions -- outwardly focused. I thought I knew who I was and what I wanted, and I excelled in school and at work. So much of my time, though, was spent on others. Pleasing men I loved, helping friends, listening to everyone's problems. Giving, giving, giving... and I never took.

Then something hit the trigger and the tables turned. I'm not sure what it was, but all of a sudden I didn't want to listen. I was done giving. I shifted my focus to me. Me. Me. Me. My career. My situation. My passions. My goals. What I wanted. My needs. How I did things. My perspective. It happened without me even noticing.

It hit me like a Mack truck when I realized it was poisoning my relationship. The honeymoon period had ended, and so had my love.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my man. I do, but I've forgotten how to show it in meaningful, true ways. And it sucks. I miss the way it used to be; not necessarily the yucky, gooey, smoochy honeymoon period, but the JOY. I miss the connection. I miss the love.

I need to shift focus once again. I am going to start listening. Without any ulterior motive of picking an argument, proving myself right or stockpiling ammunition. I'm going to shake up the routine, the awful rut we've fallen into; bring back the spontaneity and having fun. I'm going back to little, thoughtful surprises, which actually requires a change in my mindset to think of those little, thoughtful surprises. My new focus is HIM. Not ME.

My way doesn't matter anymore. Our way does. I'm sure you've heard love is compromise, but I'm taking that to a whole new meaning because love doesn't mean keeping score. Love means "turning the other cheek" -- essentially giving, giving, giving. Doing something (or not doing something) just because it will make the other person's day... or not even... make their moment. Because it affects them, it means something to them.

And, yes, love means figuring out how to stop giving for that beautiful moment when your partner starts giving... and knowing how to receive, but always going back to giving.

Love doesn't cost a thing; it costs EVERYTHING.

"I'm going back to the start..." 
The Scientist, Coldplay

{Photo credit: weheartit}

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some wee bits with my afternoon tea

I liked Leigh Ashley's questions today, so I'm gonna go with it. I hope you have a minute to visit her blog and join in if you like them too. :)

{one} what is your favorite breakfast food?
Eggs, good French toast and pastry -- in that order. I hardly make any of them at home, but when I eat breakfast at a restaurant, that's always what I get.

{two} how many pairs of shoes do you currently own?
Uhhhh... about 30... maybe a few more pairs of flip flops.

{three} city or country?
Ah, the eternal debate. Both have their merits, but I think, deep down, I'm a city girl.

{four} what is your favorite part of your job?
Writing and editing -- those are the projects I never put off and truly enjoy.

{five} what is your favorite junk food to snack on?
Lately it's been Emerald's dark chocolate cocoa roasted almonds. Soooo surprisingly good!

{six} have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper?
Yes! Multiple times. I'm a freelance journalist, so I've had many bylines in various newspapers. :)

{seven} do you use Post-It notes?
Oh, I don't think I could live without them...

{eight} do you have freckles?
Yes I do, and like most  girls I used to hate them, but I am now learning to appreciate them.

{nine} is it okay for men to wear pink?
Certain men, not all can pull it off successfully.

{ten} when was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Do cover letters count? Honestly, it's been forever... and I used to be such a big letter writer.

Pretty fun, right? I just have one more thing for you all -- a favor if you will -- before I go. My coworker's son (who is only four) was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma almost two years ago. This little boy is my hero because he put on his brave face and charged into battle, beating his tumor last summer with no evidence of disease.

Well, today he went in for a routine scan, and, shockingly, the cancer is back. This is devastating to this wonderful family, who has been pushing through with nothing but faith, hope and love for the past two years. I know he will put on that brave face and fight again, but, if you could, please say a prayer for him -- to whatever higher power you believe in -- that he will stay strong and be healthy again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy... um, belated... Valentine's Day!

Whoa, it has been an entire week since my last post. I'm sorry... to you and to myself. So much for recording last week! Truthfully, not that much happened, but I hate that I left you all with my "I had a cold" post for an entire week. Yuck!

Catching up... how was your Valentine's Day? And while we're on the topic, what's your take on this "Hallmark holiday?" Do you roll with it and head out for a nice meal, exchange cards and gifts and eat chocolate while gazing at your dozen red roses? Or, do you have your own tradition you follow every year -- maybe making a special dinner for your loved one? Or... do you hate February 14 and do everything you can to treat it like just another day?

Honestly, I've fallen into every part of that spectrum: from going all out on V-Day to hating it to using it to love myself because I had no one else to love (romantically). This year, I fell somewhere in the middle. While I'm a girl who will always appreciate a nice dinner and flowers, I didn't really care about all that this year. Jed and I didn't discuss what we were going to do yesterday, so I wasn't expecting much.

I was going to cook a roast pork dinner for him last night, and I got him a card and some Reese's (which he loves), however, my roast didn't thaw in time for dinner! So, we ended up joining his parents (romantic, I know) for dinner at 99, which was pretty good.

I also got this when I woke up yesterday...
  • Chocolate truffles
  • Chocolate strawberries
  • 2 whoopie pies
  • Dark and milk chocolate truffle hearts
  • Cherry vanilla Moose Munch
  • 2 Royal Riviera pears
Can you say YUM??????? The boy did good, I'll give him that! I have tried anything yet, and the pears still need to ripen, but I can't wait to dive in! I've had their chocolate Moose Munch, and it is addictive. And whoopie pies are my favorite; I can never resist them in the ski lodge cafeteria when I go skiing. Oh, and the pears? Supermarket pears cannot stand up next to these pears, they are that good.

Jed and I spent a lot of the day finishing up a custom built-in armoire we built for our guest room (pictures to follow soon!). Then, while he actually worked (I had the day off), I rid our house of the sawdust that's been making itself at home for the past week. It feels so much better in here now! 

Other highlights from the weekend:
  • Girls' night out with my besties at a sketchy nightclub (where the band we love and went to see was a no-show).
  • Dinner and a movie at a friends' house, where I gave her darling baby boy a bath and got him ready for bed (love that kid, seriously). Side note: we watched Get Him to the Greek. Anyone else see it? What did you think? I wasn't a fan, but then again, I really don't like Russell Brandt.
  • Lots of work on that above-mentioned armoire.
  • Lunch with Jed's grandfather after Mass on Sunday.

{Image credit: Harry & David}

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How I Had a Successful Cold

My absence last week was due to a cold/flu that knocked me off my feet. I tend to get really sick when I get a cold -- a sinus infection is always guaranteed -- but this one was really different for a couple reasons.

I had felt a cold coming on for a week or two before I got really sick, and I tried to fight it by exercising, drinking lots of tea and orange juice (which I hate), eating clementines, resting and generally trying to take care of myself. 

Oh, and I used this new friend of mine: my NeilMed NasaFlo neti pot (no, this is not a paid advertisement for this product, just an account of my personal experience).
I used this thing daily to help keep my sinuses clear so an infection wouldn't develop, and to hopefully flush that oncoming cold away.

It didn't keep the cold away; I woke up last Monday morning with more aches than I could recount, a headache, a cough, nausea and a general sick feeling. I had a temperature of 99.5. I continued the "cold treatment" regiment and told myself I'd call my doctor if I didn't feel better the next day. I thought it might be the flu. Ugh.

Tuesday morning, I was glad to notice the aches were gone, but now I was coughing and congested. I upped the neti pot usage to twice that day, but I was getting afraid of an impending sinus infection and started taking decongestants. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much Tuesday night because I couldn't breathe.

The neti pot didn't even work Wednesday I was so congested. Uh oh. Thankfully I had Monday as a vacation day, and I took sick days Tuesday and Wednesday to rest. Thursday and Friday were also vacation days, but I was supposed to be going up to Bretton Woods, NH, for my annual ski trip with my sister and aunt. I called my aunt to tell her I didn't think I was going to make it. 

Miraculously, I felt better on Thursday -- still sick -- but I could breathe! I made the decision to drive up to NH Friday night and just make sure I got lots of rest after skiing.

Sorry for the TMI, but I don't want you to think I was slacking off here. :) I didn't even open my computer for the majority of last week, except to email my aunt.

I'm still recovering a bit, but I made it through a cold in ONE WEEK without getting a sinus infection! Folks, you have no idea what this means to me; I can't remember the last time I got sick and was able to recover so quickly without an infection. It has been at least 15 years. I owe it to the neti pot, which if you haven't tried, you should. Everyone told me how great it was for years before I tried it, and I was really skeptical, but it does work.

I had a decent weekend skiing. Unfortunately, I didn't feel much like myself, but I managed ok. My sister and I took a private lesson on Sunday, and the instructor (Leah -- who was awesome) took us out on a couple of black diamond trails, which we navigated quite well! She gave me three things to work on, and I will be quite busy mastering them for the rest of the season. I spent Sunday afternoon mostly tumbling down the slopes due to eight inches of fresh ungroomed powder, intense concentration on what I was doing and being tired.

Oh, and then I slipped and fell down the stairs in front of the ski resort hitting myself in the head with one ski and dropping the other down the stairs. OUCH! Still a little sore from that.

Tomorrow I am hoping to do a post on our stay at Bretton Woods. A little travel article for you guys.