Friday, September 30, 2011

The Seven Deadly Kitchen Sins

You may have noticed/known/heard that I am a bit OCD. {If you hadn't, you should make a note of my condition now to avoid later confusion.} In the kitchen, however, my obsessive pet peeves seem to be more prevalent, and they all deal with people leaving things the WRONG WAY.

Stephanie's Seven Deadly Kitchen Sins
1. Leaving the pantry light on. {Because it wastes power, looks stupid, and makes me think someone is hiding in there.}
2. Setting the sink on Spray and forgetting to switch it back. {Nothing like turning on the sink and having everything in a two-foot radius thoroughly spritzed.}
3. Leaving the trashcan drawer open. {Even the centimeter of a rebound is unacceptable.}
4. Leaving an empty box in the pantry. {Seriously? I WAS REALLY COUNTING ON HAVING A CHEEZ-IT.}
5. Failing to screw the orange juice cap on. {Have you ever gone to shake the orange juice only to have it explode in a geyser of pulpy yellowness? I have.}
6. Leaving time left on the microwave. {It just bothers me, okay?}
7. Putting on only enough hot water to make yourself some tea. {Inconsiderate hoe! Didn't it occur to you that your having tea might make ME want some?!}

What are some of your household pet peeves?


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stephanie's Europe Journal Day 9

Day 9


"Dude! We were just in a castle! Like a legitimate castle where 700 years ago soldiers were marching around protecting people. It looked exactly like it should. Stone and sturdy. Our tourguide was pretty cool :) Small and French. She was funny. The castle was built around the 13th century. The French ppl over-took the heretics and built it onto the existing Roman wall. You can still see it in places. The French tried to level it out by digging under it. Inside was a door where the defenders could get out easily and attack, but the entry, an "elbow" entry, was harder for the enemy to come through quickly. Smaller stones on the old Roman pieces btw.

So, about the little village around the outside. It was originally built against the castle, but the king feared his son would take over the kingdom so he called all the people into the castle and made them swear allegiance, which they did. But when the son came, the people betrayed the king and helped the son. Unfortunately the attack failed, and the king had the houses burned to the ground. He allowed the ppl to rebuild, but not against the castle, down a ways.

After that story we went to see the basilica, which is inside the walls too. Part of it was rounded and Roman, and part of it was angular and gothic. It was stone and beautiful :) The closer you get to the front, to God and the alter, the lighter and bigger and more colorful it is, just like when you personally get closer to God.

I just never realize that I never finished journaling about sight-seeing with Rosa! We saw the most beautiful churches. The first church took my breath away. I felt God. It was so beautiful. Stone, with arching dome ceilings and criss-crossing bubbles... It's too hard to explain. It was simple, yet captivating; gray, yet cheerful. The stone blocks were so neat. ?I can't describe it right, and the saddest part is that the church was in session and I couldn't take pictures. Another church we went to had a model that blind could touch and know what it looked like. The rained while we were sight-seeing. The rain in Spain! And as we ran for cover, the huge church bells started ringing! It was like something out of a movie.

Okay,French castle. Now there are a bunch of shops. In there too. We got 20 minutes of free time to shop. I got Sooey {my sister, Sarah} a scarf and some earrings. I REALLY wish I hadn't been so rushed though. 1) I'm not sure if I made good purchasing decisions and 2) I want to get stuff for Momma! I see so much I want to get her, but I don't and... I'm so afraid I'll end up with nothing or it'll suck and she'll think I didn't care or think of her. I'm only going to buy stuff for other people now. I don't need anything; this trip itself is a present!

After the castle, we had an "adventure lunch." Sabine gave us 35 euros per group of 5 people and let us loose in a horribly busy marketplace/festival. IMO, a stupid place to shove us and tell us to figure out lunch in French and meet back somewhere in only 45 minutes. BUT, whatever.

My group was me, Haley, Jackie, Michael and Alicia. Being thrown into a situation like that made my stomach quite unhappy for a bit, but it was okay. We walked up and down the street, even though we'd already seen a good sandwich shop because Michael was being picky. He kept wanting to stop at slow, sketchy, expensive places and was very inflexible.

With 25 minutes left, we 4 overruled him and went back to the Picnic Cafe. Sorry, but we didn't want to select an expensive random dish and hope for the best. He ended up walking off and saying he'd just use his own money. We girls, with 12 minutes to go, finally got to order. We got 2 "toaste poulet"s because we recognized "poulet" as chicken. And we each got a smooth.

Although we had to eat on the run, the sandwiches were AMAZING. round bread toasted to perfection with just the right amount of fillings: warm chicken, cream chees, lettuce, tomatoe and a little bit of some sauce. It was SO delicious! Honestly one of if not the best things we've eaten yet. I wish I'd gotten a whole sandwich. I'm gonna have to try to recreate it back home.

Today I missed Aaron [a cute French guy in a car waved and it made me think of his warning: "Don't get into a car with a hot French guy. He'll kidnap you and turn you into a crack whore."] and then Sam [because he remembered for me that that senario is from "Taken"] and Jordan because I dreamed something a little like "Tattered Flesh" {his book}.

Something else that happened two days ago: City Quest. Assigned groups, a map, and some questions. I had me, Alexis, Jonathan, Matt, Lacie, Haley, Ryan and New York/Bryan. Sabine said sometimes determining a clear winner is difficult, so each group could/should write a poem to be judged too.

Well, City Quest was not my thing right away. Maps, directions, and Matt {the Ken of the Barbies} as a leader. Ugh. No. So, I wasn't that much help, except that I knew the language question [Besides Spanish, what other language is mostly spoken in Spain? Catalan.].

We had a limited amount of time [not enough, of course], so as we started to get close, Haley asked if I would write the poem. I said I'd try. Honestly I sort of assumed they'd ask me to, but under pressure? With about 15 minutes? It was sure to suck. But I tried, and got something cranked out. I handed it in with our incomplete quest answers and forgot about it.

Today they told us the winner: Jessica's group! :) Yay! They had Dena go up and read the poem. It wasn't that great, but her group was the only one to complete the quest questions. After Dena read it, Sabine said, "There was one other group that did not finish the quest, but had a really wonderful poem, Myself and all the leaders really enjoyed it. The team of Matt, Alexis, Lacie, Ryan, Bryan, Jonathan and Stephanie?"

O_O OMG! My body tingled with that tight, hot energy of happy tension. I went up because Sabine asked if someone from that team would please come read it, and no one else moved. So I did :) After, Cindy whispered "Did you write it?" I just nodded.

Then I tried to get the poem back from Sabine, but she wanted to keep it. And Cindy asked if she could sent it in to People to People! I was like, "Sure...but can I copy it into my notebook first?" Sabine said she'd make a copy at the hotel :) So Yeah. Wow :) It really wasn't great. It was quick and shallow and not personal or deep at all. But oh well :)


We've been on the bus for 3 hours, but it feels like 6. I am cramped and bored and there is a frigid gust of air blowing on my head. Traffic is terrible.

I'm starting to get nervous about going home. I have so much to say that I won't know where to begin, and for some reason I'm having trouble being excited today. It's like peoples' bad attitudes are catching. I need something do, like write, but I don't wanna use up room...


Okay, hey. We went and saw another castle! It was cool, and I took pictures, but we didn't learn anything about it -_- So I'm gonna Google it later. After that we had some free time in, like, the castle courtyard or something. There are tons of streets and alleys and shops and performers. Mimes and traveling performers and musicians... It was one of the coolest parts of this trip actually 'cause it was just me and Alicia and I felt like I could BREATHE and walk and STOPE and actually look and enjoy stuff. Freedom is great.

To be honest, I really think I'd rather have come with my family. Well, I dunno. We do get to do things I probably wouldn't with just my family. But we're always late, people don't take this seriously, the leaders don't know what's going on... I kinda feel like I'd have more fun with my family. But this has been a good experience so far as getting out of my comfort zone and living. I just really hope I can put a good face on this so that Momma and Daddy won't be upset or disappointed. I've gotta muster up some excitement for my arrival back home.

So, tomorrow I think I'm gonna do some sink laundry. I need socks and undies XD

Most people are at the pool. Alicia and I are in her room, listening to my iPod on her teddy bear. He has speakers in his feet."


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Linkin Park

**This post is personal and gritty, but turned into one of my favorites actually.**

Linkin Park is one of my top three favorite bands of all time. I love their sound, versatility and lyrics. Their sound is really my style, the mix of screaming and clean vocals sprinkled with plenty of minor keys. The lead singer, Chester Bennington, has a good singing and screaming voice. The band's lyrics are kind of angsty and angry, but not all of them, and at least their entire repertoire isn't centered around lust.

I was first introduced to them at age twelve when my nonbiological older brother was into them. Back then I was extremely sheltered and assumed anything not played on K-LOVE was trash from hell. The first song I ever heard was Papercut {which is now one of my very favorite songs} and I thought it was pretttty hard core.

After that fleeting introduction to the world of nu metal, I forgot about Linkin Park for years until...*winces*...the "Twilight" soundtrack came out. Leave Out All the Rest is on the soundtrack. On my first listen-through, I saw the Linkin Park number coming up and my eyes widened.

See, the nonbiological brother was a huge part of my childhood, and he'd cut himself out of the picture a year or so before. Just seeing the band name "Linkin Park" was a bit of salt in my heart wound. I didn't even think I'd like the band, but in a fit of masochistic honor for my brother, I decided to listen to the song anyway.

I loved it. I LOVED it. In a way that I'd never loved a song before. It was one of the first songs that really spoke to me. It was one of the first songs I hadn't listened to just for the beat. Because I was listening to it for my brother, it felt like he was singing the song to me, and the lyrics actually kind of fit. I think I even cried a little.

The song became my favorite for weeks. I did some exploring into the music of LP and the band never left my top three.

A few years ago when I started struggling with internet porn/erotica, Linkin Park grabbed onto my heart in a new way. Their songs expressed what I was feeling perfectly. I didn't have to try to figure myself out, they had already given my soul words.

It was like one day I woke up and realized that I really, truly, seriously had a problem. I'm not sure how I didn't see it before, but it took me a ridiculously long time to figure out that I was actually battling masochism and addiction. I realized that I had to Break the Habit or I was going to lose myself.

"I don't know how I got this way
I know it's not alright
So I'm breaking the habit tonight."

This song perfectly expressed how I felt in the middle of it all. Like, Linkin Park literally took the words out of my mouth, heart, head. I actually wonder if the lyrics were written specifically about what I was going through. The song covers it all: the shame, the desperation, the loneliness, the helplessness, the hopelessness, the way it felt like my addiction was invading my mind. The way I would do ANYTHING to make it go away.

"If I change--I would
Take up the pain--I would.
Retrace every wrong move that I made--I would.
If I could stand up and the blame--I would.
If I could take all the shame to the grave--I would."

From the Inside was the song that spoke to me as I started to get angry and fed up with myself. I could no longer trust myself to do the right thing. The slightest thing would send my mind into the dark place where the dirty secrets grew. Something innocent would turn sexual in minutes. Just going online at all became dangerous. I hear the song sung from the good me to the dark me.

"Take everything from the inside
and throw it all away
'Cause I swear for the last time
I won't trust myself with you."

This song expressed how I felt coming out of the darkness: hesitantly hopeful. Can I do this? Will everything be okay? Does my mom still love me? I CAN do this. Everything WILL be okay. My mom DOES still love me.

"So let mercy come
and wash away
what I've done.
I'll face myself
To cross out what I've become.
Erase myself.
And let go of what I've done.

For what I've done
I start again.
And whatever pain may come,
today this ends
I'm forgiving what I've done."

And that's where I am today. It's still an every day struggle, some days are harder than others, but I'm getting through this. One day maybe I'll have the final breakthrough and really become the person I was meant to be, without all this despicable baggage. But until then,

I know it's not alright, so I'm going to take up the pain and throw it all away because I'm forgiving what I've done.

And so is God.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stephanie's Europe Journal Day 8

Day 8

***WARNING: This post has a ridiculous amount of foul language due to one of the conversation topics. Proceed with curiosity and caution.***


"We're on the way to pick up trash, then to France. The mountains are beautiful and there are huge fields of sunflowers.


Well, we didn't pick up trash. We sanded some shutters and walked around a wildlife reserve. It really was not interesting to me at all, but one thing was cool: there are these birds that pass through the reserve while migrating every spring, and the wind from over the mountain is so strong for 15 days that the birds have to wait on the reserve til it's over.

We're about to cross over into France...well, soon XD

The thought of being in France makes me miss Alexei {the French boy} even more :( I really didn't think I was gonna care about him at all, but I do!! I really miss him in an intense, heartbreaking way! I thought Alicia would really miss him, but not me. Well, I do. Random things remind me of him and I just want to run back to Valencia ASAP. And I still have to tell you about our last night when we talked to him a lot. But later. Later.

So, we're listening to French music now. The first few songs I HATED, but this one and the one before are okay. I kinda like it. It's gonna be so weird not being in Spain... I was really starting to feel happy and comfortable there. And not being able to understand anyone will be really strange. SPanish caught on with me really fast, but I have so much trouble with French. Even with Alexei teaching me, all I remember is "cold," because he had me say it SO many times, making me say it just right. I also remember 3 other words, but I'll get to those later.

Sabine said we're really close to the border! Aah, I don't wanna leave Spain! My stomach is doing flip-flops... I wish we had Alexei :(

FRANCE! :) So fair it looks just like Spain except confusing because of the signs D: Now I know how all the non-Spanish-speaking people have felt all week.

I'm really afraid I'm gonna run out of room in you {my journal}. That's why I'm using paragraph marks instead of wasting line space. {I'm not doing that with Blogger XD}

So, France looks like Spain so far XD I'm really not sure what I was expecting. For it to be immediately clean and chic and proper and polished...unrealistic of me I realize now XD

I'm staaarving... It's 1:05 and we have an hour of driving left--at least.

The glares on the bus windows keep confusing me. I think something is on the left, but it's on the right...sometimes I can't even see out my side of the window.

I just at a totally pulverized Rice Krispy. And we're all singing "Burnin' Up." Lols XD

We're, like, going up a mountain... The roads and view are the prettiest yet! But the bus takes up like 75% of the road width XD

I miss Cassidy.


Okay, it's 5:07. We ate a picnic-ish lunch of a rock-hard sub with tomato, lettuce, mayo and eggs. It was pretty good. Then we kind of attempted to go to the bathroom, but we did not. The bathroom was a small house. You walk in and the first word that comes to mind is "grime." Tile with grime, sink with grime, mirror with grime. It looked abandoned and filthy. So we peeked into stall #1. There was a toilet. It was probably dirty but I didn't notice because of the black liquid in the bowl. Never flushed. Ever. Blackness different from anything else. Stall #2 was tile. Just tile. And a hole. And grime. People miss. Especially with it being unisex btw. So, needless to say, we didn't go.

After that we literally hiked up a mountain! At first it was awful: hot, trudging, sticky and wavery. I was a little afraid I'd be the one to stop us. But nope. After a few minutes of trudging on red gravel, it changed to rocks! Smooth, gray boulders that you had to find foot and hand holes in :) Daddy would've loved it.

The hike ended ina cave where they're digging up "cavemen from 600 million years ago!" The whole thing was bull, but a couple of things were cool again. Girls could give birth at 8 YEARS OLD she said, and 45 was OLD for them. And yet in the middle of all that crud, I noticed trees growing straight from the cave sides. And for some reason that felt like God. Like he can make beautiful things grow from rocks. Good from difficult :)

The view from the cave balcony was breathtaking. The mountains today in general were breathtaking.

THey looked so big, so mighty, but still and graceful and calm. I feel tiny next to them. They're beautiful and so flat-looking, although you can see every crevice. It's like at any minute someone could pull on the backdrop and make it come swirling down as a sheet. I know all these descriptions sound contradictory, but they're all true. You just have to see them. I'll never say the mountains in Narnia look fake ever again.

After the hike, we threw spears, which was kinda cool, and listened to a lady talk about Evolution and show us skulls. Then we got to go swimming! Right next to where we ate, at the base of the quiet mountain, was a long lake with gorgeous green-clear water and more climbable boulders in difficult and beautiful shapes. I put on my suit but I only went in up to my above-knees because it was COLD, and I felt like climbing the rocks and exploring anyway. It was really cool :D Then it was time to go.

On the way back to the bus, Michael asked me what I thought of the skull lady. I was like, "What, the monkey skulls?" and he made this taken aback face and was like, "Those were human skulls." I said, "Yeah, some were monkeys and some were humans." He looked at me funny and that was the end of our conversation. I think we are two totally different belief pages.

So, the bus ride was too short. I was exhausted for some reason. Anyway, we got to the hotel, and the Barbies {a clique of unbelievably shallow and slutty girls and guys} immediately started flirting with some older guy in the pool. Whatever. I got roommated with Kaitlin {one of the Barbies}, who's actually really sweet. [Side note: The skull Lady talked about digging up rhinocerous skulls. rie-noe-SAHR-us. Leron was like, "Oh, rie-NOHS-ah-rus?" And she was like, "No. rie-noe-SAHR-us."]

Then we went to dinner in the hotel. Our first legit French meal. It was not good. Salad with vomitrocious dressing, and this really good actually cressant thing with cheese inside. For the main corse, pasta with no sauce and a nasty hamburger. Mine was undercooked -_- Dessert was okay. I mean, it was good, but I didn't feel like eating at all. Someone said it was like a Zebra cake.

So, the hotel rooms are no better here. There was pee in the tiolet when we arrived. Like, WTF? If they don't even flush, what DO they do?!

I feel like God is working in my finally :) I talked to him this morning and thanked him for things specifically. I also asked him to please give me an opportunity to share him, and to please help me recognize it. Not 30 minutes later, Alicia and I were talking "religion," which she normally hates. For some reason she opened up and I think I may have helped her sort some things out.

I also saw God in the mountains. Seeing them in all their quiet glory gave a totally new meaning to the verse about faith moving mountains. Like, wow :) God is so cool! I cannot IMAGINE anything moving those massive blocks of stone. How great is our God??

Random thing: yesterday it rained. And thanks to Momma and Mrs. Martha, I had the perfect jacket! :D

So, you know how I missed my family one day, then Cass and Daniel and Sam? Well, today I missed people a little farther our, like Kirsten and Jesse and...someone else. Daddy. Kirsten during the skull talk, Jesse during the lake exploration and Daddy during the rock-climbing.

To be honest, so far I don't like Franc,e BUT I know we haven't been here long. Apparently we're only staying like 4 days or something. Hm. Okay by me so far. I really kinda just wanna go back to Spain. And get Alexei XD

Okay, now that I'm not on a bus, I can talk about him. So, night #2 we went into his room and played more cards and got comfortable with each other. We teased and he even winked at me once when we were messing with Alicia because I had winked at him and he was halfway mocking me XD But after a while, we started taking pictures. He HATES having his picture taken btw, so they're all either blurry or he's making a horrible face XD After we finished pictures, we all sat on his bed, leaning against the wall with our feet stretched out, laughing.

Somehow we started talking, just about everything... Facebook and Spain and family and travel and languages... We started trading languages, and since Alicia and Alexei speak Russian, they went with that. Alicia goes "I know hot to say horse! 'Lo shatz.'" Alexei kind of laughed and covered his face a little.

"What?" we said. He shook his head.

"In French iss mean...iss mean your..." He pointed at us...and down.

"Boobs?" Alicia said.

"No," I said, blushing. I got it. Alexei grinned.

"Yes, down."

"Oh." Alicia got it too XD "Iss also mean cat in French."

alicia and I cracked up.

"In English too," we told him. And the next thing I know, we're trading cuss words. It was actually one of the funniest, funnest, easiest, least awkward conversations I've ever had. He was so funny!! He taught us shit, fuck, dick, pussy...yeah. And we helped him with his English ones where he needed it, but he mostly did not XD At first it also started when we accidentally said fuck in French. Then we asked him to teach us, so he did. We repeated it over and over, trying to get it right to write down. He just laughed hard and we were like, "What?"

He said through his snickers, "You ahr saying 'fuck, fuck, fuck.'" XD We asked him if he even knew what it meant and he was like, "Yah *makes 'getting it' action*" And we diiiied laughing XD "Yep, he gets it." FUnnest hour of my life :) Alexei is the most adorable guy I've ever ever met.

So yeah. I have more to say, but I'm like really stressed out right now because the leaders are gonna read over our journals. It's for a school credit, and I don't need it! I HATE people reading my stuff, no matter what it is.

So. Urgh. I just have two more things to say: 1) Karson reminds me of Bekah VE. ANd Lydia reminds me of Cecily. And: [Alicia and I are hanging out the window waving at French boys] While at the lake, I saw some guy bawling. His gf was holding him and he was absolutely wailing wit ha despair so deep it went straight through me. WTH? At first I thought he was being a wuss and had stubbed his toe or something, but then Lydia said, "His mom died." She'd overheard the phone call.

I've never felt the way I did before. A feeling so painful, so tangible, so heartbroken. It was physical. I gasped without meaning to and my eyes flew wide and my hand flew to my mouth. His mom died. He got down on his knees and held his head and cried. I felt stricken. He was showing despair in a realer way than I'd ever been exposed to. Wracking. I felt the emptiness. I couldn't imagine what it would feel like to lose your mom. I suddenly feared for mine. A world without my momma in it is an empty, alien place. I never want to know it.

Wake up called at 6:30 again tomorrow :-\ So I'll ttyl!"


Monday, September 26, 2011

Government Theologies Explain with a Moo

NOTE: My senior pictures were rescheduled due to bad weather :-/ We're shooting for Wednesday, although that doesn't look any better. I'm betting on Friday.

* Feudalism:
You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

* Pure Socialism:
You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you all the milk you need.

* Bureaucratic Socialism: Your cows are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs the regulations say you should need.

* Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

* Pure Communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

* Real World Communism: You share two cows with your neighbors. You and your neighbors bicker about who has the most “ability” and who has the most “need”. Meanwhile, no one works, no one gets any milk, and the cows drop dead of starvation.

* Russian Communism: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the black market.

* Perestroika:
You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the Mafia takes all the milk. You steal back as much milk as you can and sell it on the “free” market.

* Cambodian Communism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

* Militarianism:
You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

* Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

* Pure Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

* Representative Democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

* British Democracy:
You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything.

* Bureaucracy: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

* Pure Anarchy: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

* Enviromentalism:
You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

* Political Correctness:
You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is a symbol of the phallo-centric, war mongering, intolerant past) two differently – aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of non-specified gender.

* Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Senior Pictures

Today, I am having senior pictures made.


I'm quite excited, but also stressed out. This happens once. ONCE. Today is the day that I must dress PERFECTlY, in a way that is flattering, self-expressive, and unembarrassing to my future self. I must be creative, yet tasteful. Unique, yet mature. Today, everything must go right because it is going to be a representation of me that will live on forever.

{And we should all know how much the concept of "forever" scares the piss out of me.}

And then there is the list of

Things I Cannot Do Today:

Have a pimple.

Allow myself to get pale.

Have a bad hair day.

Forget to brush my teeth.

Have dark circles from staying up too late.

Look fat.

Have allergies.

Happy seniors pictures day, yayyy...



Friday, September 23, 2011

~{Wake Forest}~

Yesterday I met with the provost emeritus, Ed Wilson, of Wake Forest, which is the one and only college I have ever wanted to attend.

Basically, Dr. Wilson is one of the most important guys there, and if he likes me...well, that definitely won't HURT my chances of getting in. He's also my first cousin three times removed {which means he's three generations older than I am}, and I had met him with my family last year when I was junior. He seemed to think I was a good fit for the school :D

Last week my dad called him to say that we'd like to see him again, and Dr. Wilson seemed very happy and willing to meet with us. He also offered to PERSONALLY set up an interview with admissions for me {which actually didn't happen because all the admissions officers were at a conference XD} and he arranged for me to meet the dance director! :O

Basically, this guy is the absolute top dog of my #1 college, and he seems genuinely interested in me.

So yesterday, I got dressed in what seemed like appropriate attire for meeting the man who could single-handedly make or break my future, got in the van with my parents {we got to leave Sarah at home, hallelujah} and drove to Wake Forest.

I tried to memorize the way, but I royally suck at directions. As in, Cassidy and I get lost going to the movies on a routine basis.

As we approached, I started to get kind of fluttery and nervous. This was the first time I'd been to the campus while school was actually taking place. There were people, ACTUAL STUDENTS and POTENTIAL FUTURE CLASSMATES {not to mention hopefully a future significant other}, milling around.

I got the strangest feeling that I was NOT old enough to be there. You know? I mean, I'm seventeen, it's about time for me to get into college, but I feel so...young. I always thought I'd feel older than this when the time came, but I don't. I still feel like a wide-eyed seventh grader on occasion.

So anyway, we made our way to Dr. Wilson's office with no trouble and went in to see him.

Gosh, I just love this guy. I really do. He's the warmest, friendliest, most genuine and personable guy I have ever met. He just gives off this aura of being honestly interested in you as a person, and he makes a conscious effort to remember you. He always asks my dad about his job, and how the family is doing, and traces back our family history to remember exactly how we're related. He's just the most wonderful person I know.

And guess what?

I think he likes me. A lot.

I told him Wake Forest is my number one choice and why I want to go there:

"The educational philosophy matches mine exactly. I believe so much in getting a broad base of education so that you can do whatever you want in life! I think learning for the sake of learning is wonderful because it not only makes you a better person, but it better equips you to make the world a better place."

At least that's more or less what I said.

I also got to tell him about People to People {traveling this summer}. I told him about the purpose of the trip, and what it meant to me, and how my education had prepared me to fully embrace it, and how the trip itself was an education, and how the countries were different and what the people were like, and that I LOVED Italy the best, especially Assisi.


He's been to Italy.

And Assisi is his favorite too.


So after that amazing conversation, he told me that he had arranged for me to meet the dance director, and actually sit in on a rehearsal!

The director was a really nice lady, and she and a student told me lots about the dance program, and even about some scholarships associated with it. Then I got to watch the rehearsal, which was really fun. I think I can do what they do.

I left the campus feeling empowered. I no longer felt like a wide-eyed eight grader playing Going to College. I felt like an actual seventeen-year-old girl ready to embrace the next chapter of her life. Leaving Wake Forest felt like leaving home and I cannot wait to go back.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stephanie's Europe Journal Day 7

Day 7


"Today we saw the Sagrada Familia! And I realized that I had somehow miscounted the days til we go home! It's not 15, it's 12!! :O Somehow that made all the difference. I was walking on sunshine all day. When I wake up, it'll be 11 days, which is not that long!

So, last night I called home and cried :-\ Last time I didn't really, but I did last night >.< I was super homesick. For family today I was mildly homesick for other things. I missed Cass and Daniel and Bonanza and Sam. Cassidy a lot :(

The Sagrada Familia was AMAZING!!! I've never seen anything that beautiful or amazing in my whole life. It's so detailed and ornate...impossible to describe. It actually looks a lot like a dink castle, but obviously planned... The inside is even more incredible cool and clean and calm. And HUGELY tall. Jaw-dropping. It made me feel small.

Our guide did a good job of being unbiased about the Xianity. I honestly couldn't tell if he was a Xian or not. But he did say that Spain isn't very religious anymore, tho it used to be. And when the SF is finished, it won't really be used as a church. For some reason, that really felt heartbreaking to me. I almost cried. Gaudi {the architect} would be rolling over in his grave. Something so BEAUTIFUL, so purposeful can only be meant for God.

We also saw Flamenco dancing! It started out lame and I was like -__- but it got great!! I was impressed. And I got a picture with the attractive singer :D

So, I know this isn't important, but the hotels here are NASTY. They don't give us fresh towels or change the beds and to be honest I don't think they cleaned the bathroom between us and whoever came before, because there was a clump of hair on the wall when I took the first shower. I'm trying HARD not to think about it.

I am so happy that when I wake up, there will only be 11 days left :) My brain has never been so full! Tomorrow we're going to France! I'll be getting Sarah's, Katie's, and probably Momma's presents soon.

I miss them. I do NOT like one of my roommates. And the hotels are making my skin crawl. I gotta ttyl."


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stuff They Don't Teach You in Latin Class

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes
If you can read this you're over-educated

Vidi Vici Veni
I saw, I conquered, I came

Vacca foeda
Stupid cow

Mihi ignosce. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi.
Excuse me. I've got to see a man about a dog.

Raptus regaliter
Royally screwed

Gramen artificiosum odi.
I hate Astroturf.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.
Don't call me, I'll call you.

Nullo metro compositum est.
It doesn't rhyme.

Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
I don't care. If it doesn't rhyme, it isn't a poem.

Fac ut gaudeam.
Make my day.

Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!
May barbarians invade your personal space!

Utinam coniurati te in foro interficiant!
May conspirators assassinate you in the mall!

Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy!

Radix lecti
Couch potato

Tam exanimis quam tunica nehru fio.
I am as dead as the nehru jacket.

Ventis secundis, tene cursum.
Go with the flow.

Totum dependeat.
Let it all hang out.

Fac me cocleario vomere!
Gag me with a spoon!

Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Sic faciunt omnes.
Everyone is doing it.

Fac ut vivas.
Get a life.

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.

Ohh, haha, the hidden joys of a dead language XD


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stephanie's Europe Journal Day 6

Day 6


"Right now, I am on the Mediteranean coast :) Homesickness has been stronger today. I think David bet on Day 6? Or maybe 7. Anyway, 4 and 5 I didn't get homesick at all. 3 was bad, today is like a 5 or 6 on the scale. Anyway, back to the Med.

I decided this might be a good place to look for Mrs. Marcia's <3-shaped rock. I was right! Haley and Jackie helped me and we found several to choose from. I'll look again on the Riviera.

The wind here is crazy! And the sand isn't sand tho. It's tiny rocks. And when the wind blows, it's a tiny-rock storm. The water is cold and SO BLUE. Teal, really, but a blue teal. I'm not swimming though. I haven't been about to shave in days, and I can't anyway.

I really want the trip to be over D: Like, I'm so glad to be here...but I really want to go home. I have so much to tell everyone...I haven't even been gone a WEEK yet though. I have like...16 more days honestly.

I gtg, but I'll tell you Alexei later ;)


We're on the bus to Barcelona! Sabine {our guide} just finished telling us about the pick-pockets XD And about Franco. We're going to do a "city quest" once we get tehre, ever man for himself but in "teams" of 6.

The air conditioner in our bus broke, so we have the sun roof thing open. Michael, Alicia, Geno, Jackie, Haley and I are playing monopoly {on Michael's iPod}. He and I are also listening to his iPod. The earbud keeps falling out of my ear and he puts it back all gentle-like. Whatever. If he starts to like me, I swear..."


Monday, September 19, 2011


More than any other concept, that one scares me.

Now, I'm not talking about the "forever" in "I'll love you forever!" That pretty much means "I'll love you until we die!" I also don't mean the kind of forever that's behind you. {"I've been waiting for this moment for forever!"}

I mean forever as in Death.

Death itself does not scare me. I also have confidence of where I am going after I die {Heaven}. It's just the amount of time that completely terrifies me. Have you ever thought about it? Do it. Right now. Take a moment and THINK as you read this. Let your mind roll through the mental meltdowns and explosions. Let yourself go crazy trying to make sense of it all, just for a few minutes.

Think about dying.

Think about being in Heaven for the first time. {*gasp* It's amazing!}

Think about being in Heaven for a century. "Okay, it's been a very long time..." {A century ago, neither of the World Wars had happened.}

Think about being in Heaven for twice that long. "Um..." {Two hundred years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte was born.}

Think about being in Heaven for three hundred years. "''s still going..." {America was still over sixty years away from declaring her Independence.}

Think about being in Heave for four hundred years. "I'm losing it. I'm losing it." {Tobacco was just beginning to make it big in the New World.}

Think about being in Heaven for five hundred years. "Holy shiitake mushrooms, what am I supposed to do now??" {Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther had not yet began the Protestant Reformation.}

Now, consider the fact that even though you have been in Heaven for about six lifetimes, you still have forever to go.


You will be in Heaven forever. There is nothing else coming. In six million years, you will still have seven million years to go. And after that, fifteen million. And after that, and after that, and after that. Without end. Your future is completely linear. Nothing new under the sun for infinity. Ever. Your life is like the Penrose staircase. As far as you can conceive, your life will be this. There is no escape. You are already dead.

There is no escape. You are already dead.

Does that scare the poop out of anyone else?

It's even worse if you're an atheist, in my opinion. Imagine ceasing to exist. Your life is snuffed out and--


You don't exist. You will never be again. You won't see; you won't feel; you won't touch; you won't speak; you won't think. Your mind is gone, obliterated. There is nothing for you, but that's because you do not exist. You've run your course and you are gone. You will never be again.

And you won't even care, because there won't be a you to care.

Reincarnation is the least terrifying afterlife in my opinion. You get to keep coming back, with manageable, comprehensible amounts of time ahead of you. {Who gives a damn if I'm a fly? At least I know there are only an average of 7 more days before I get to come back as a sheep or something.}

Does anyone else find this terrifying? Because it scares the bejezzus out of me. I would love to go to Heaven, yes, but maybe for a vacation, or an extended trip...

but FOREVER? :-|

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dear Sarah...

I can't believe you're fifteen! Like, seriously. I feel like I'M still fifteen, so how can you be??

Fifteen was the best year of my life, definitely. Fourteen starts to sound young, but sixteen is still a long way off. You're old enough to do cool things, but young enough not to stress too much. You're old enough to be looked up to, but young enough to look up to other people. You basically get all the fun with little responsibility.

This is a transition year, only it's a fun one. {Not like going from twelve to thirteen, which sucks.}

Fifteen is a fabulous, free, fun year. It's cozy and crazy and creative. It's loving and laughing, growing and grinning. It has the potential to be the best year of your life. But--I just realized--doesn't every year? Tomorrow is not only the first day of your fifteenth year, it's also the first day of the rest of your life.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, enjoy fifteen. You'll never get it back, and if you let go and have fun, you'll enjoy it enough for a lifetime. If you carpe each and every diem, you won't need to go back. You'll have had the best year ever, with no regrets.

Here's to being fifteen, lil' sister. You deserve a great year.


Saturday, September 17, 2011


Thanks for following, Riah and the late phoenix! I had a character named Ria once. No H. She was cool. Kind of annoying though. Anyway.

I have a surprise for you guys: I'm not really a nice person.

I mean, sometimes I am, and maybe deep down I REALLY AM, but there's a very big part of me that isn't. First of all, I have a low "idiot tolerance." In my book, "idiots" include the following:

People who take too long to get a joke.
People who giggle too much.
People with no backbone.
People without opinions.
People who spell badly.
People who do not take hints.
People who ruin jokes by doing the above.

Note: If someone does any of those things occasionally, I will occasionally view them as an Idiot. The label isn't necessarily a permanent fixture, although it can become one rather quickly.

If I classify you as an idiot, I will do one of three things:

Stare at you with an expression of poorly concealed distaste {if you're my sister}.
Rant about you to my Functioning Best Friend, Cassidy {if you're a mutual friend}.
Immortalize your moronism in a story {if you're anyone else}.

Or blog about you.

You see today the person that is setting my teeth on edge is a fellow blogger. Actually no, just a blogger. I am not associating this person in the same circle of the blogosphere as myself.

{Also, be at peace; if you are reading this, you're not the person I'm talking about.}

This person, for whatever reason, has been a virtual thorn in my mental flesh for a couple of years now, and to be honest I'm not even sure why. Some people just rub me the wrong way, and I guess it's not really fair to them. However, this person makes me want to leave very hurtful, very truthful, very rude, very accurate comments on his/her {not saying which gender} blog.

If I'm being honest, the only reason I don't leave such comments is because I don't want to look bad. It has nothing with me actually being the better person, it's about me wanting you to THINK I am.

This person is everything I despise in a blogger:

Unrealistically perky and cutesy.
Obsessed with getting followers.
Terrible at grammar and spelling.
Conceited as piss, although masquerades as the most humble flit on earth.
And {this is the real kicker} soaked in followers.

The specifics are what really pushes me over the edge, but I'm trying to be discrete for the despicable reason I mentioned above {not wanting to look bad}. If I knew you'd agree with me, I'd tell you who it is and maybe we could start some kind of group work-over on the blogger.

Haha, nah, that'd be mean... >.<

Oh, and this blogger made it big by taking my ideas from my previous blog {directly and without asking or giving credit}, begging people to come to his/her blog in comments to my posts, and sweetly asking me to promote his/her blog, which I did because I actually used to be nice, not knowing I would create this horrible monster.

Why, you might wonder, do I visit this person's blog then if it makes me so angry? The answer:

I don't even know. I guess maybe I get some sick satisfaction out of the blogger getting depressed every few months because only 6 jillion comments were left on the last post, not 7.

Next you might be wondering what I want to come out of all this. The answer:

In a perfect world, everyone would suddenly get sick and frickin' tired of the blogger whining and begging and guilt-tripping and click "unfollow." The blogger would then realize that oh, hey, maybe I shouldn't have ripped people off and manipulated everyone and swore not to care about followers but then turned around and had beg-a-thons for more. Maybe that's not a good way to run a blog.

You think?

*sigh* I may regret this post later. It's really very possible. And you might think really badly of me now. You might be staring at the screen going, Wow, who have I been following? And if you are, you're probably right. But it's all truly how I feel, and that's all Pandora has ever promised to be:

The honest-to-gosh truth, whether it be good, or bad, or ugly.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Date a Girl Who Reads

By Rosemarie Urquico, actually found on Sam's blog.

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

I find this beautiful and fascinating.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Thanks for following, Sam!

*dreamy sigh* It's been too long since I did one of these posts.

First of all, is that name not ridiculously fun to say? Joseph Gordon-Levitt. JOseph Gordon-Levitt. Joseph Gordon-LEVitt. Joseph GORDon-Levitt. {My personal favorite pronunciation is the third.}

I posted about this guy a while back, just commenting on his resemblance to the lovely late Heath Ledger {may he rest in peace and fill my dreams}. I had never actually heard of Joseph Gordon-Levitt {hehe, that is just so fun to say...} doing anything, I just found him in leu of Heath.

But then I saw "Inception."

{INSANELY good movie, but THAT, my friends, is another story completely. The point is:}

Joseph Gordon-Levitt {*giggle*} co-stars in the movie as an astonishingly attractive sidekick-esque guy named Arthur. He's so attractive that it doesn't matter that he's named for a cartoon aardvark. {You know who I mean.}

Anyway, the 30-year old actor was born to a Jewish family in California. His parents met while his mother was working for radio station, his grandfather apparently directed the Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie "Pillow Talk," and his older brother {:D} Dan was a fire juggler or something until he died in 2010 {:(}. Joseph's career began at four when he starred as the Scarecrow in a community theater's "Wizard of Oz." From there he acted in commercials, and eventually movies.

BIG NEWS: Apparently he's going to have a part in the next Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises!" {Or is it "Rising"? I've heard both.} *SHIEKKKKKKK* I FREAKING LOVE BATMAN, I FREAKING LOVE CHRISTIAN BALE {Batman}, AND I FREAKING FREAKING LOVE JOSPEH GORDON-LEVITT. Oh yes. Oh heck yes.

Until "Inception" I had no clue that Joseph was as blindingly handsome as he is. I think he must just not be photogenic, for one thing {although his pictures are still pretty damn hott}. For another, I'm in love with his voice, and that obviously can't come through a picture. His character is also just hott, though I'm not sure why. He's not badass; he's very together, but in a suave, sardonic way. It's hott.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

You're welcome.

He's also the feature on my {CurrentObsessions} page, and there are more pictures there. A lot more. {Hey, I don't call it an Obsession page for nothing.}


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Post Tag

I don't actually know what the name of this tag is, but Psycho Babbling Basher just tagged me with this! I was reading her response to this tag feeling a bit sullen and annoyed because it looked really fun.

Then she tagged me and I felt a sheepish surge of shame.

{Try saying THAT five times fast.}

The point of this tag is to "to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again."

I so agree with this.

The rules are:
You must be nominated. Then...
Publish a link to a post for each of the following categories.

1. Your most beautiful post.
2. Your most popular post.
3. Your most controversial post.
4. Your most helpful post.
5. A post whose success surprised you.
6. A post you feel didn't get the attention it deserved
7 The post you are most proud of.

Then you nominate up to 5 more bloggers and pass the buck to them. WooT WooT.

SO. Without further ado, I give you seven of my most spotlight-worthy rants posts.

Most Underappreciated ~ Southern Honor, August 31, 2011 and its follow-up How Far is Too Far? September 3, 2011
Most Proud Of ~ {truth is} {Proud of in that I can't believe I finally had the guts to put it all out there.} On a lighter note, though, I love this post: Being a Writer

I hope you enjoy some of those :D I am now passing the buck to...

Luna at The Heartbeat Symphony {Isn't that the greatest blog name? I just love it.}

Also, here's a picture of Hunter Parish. Wowza.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Check the Label

I was looking at the labels to my posts the other day, analyzing the trends. Here is what I have discovered:

I am not Sick much.
I talk about God twice as much as I am sick.
There have been three Holidays since I started blogging, and three holiday posts. Right on.
Although Writing is my life, I post about Pictures exactly four times more often than about Characters.
The label "Hott Guys" appears slightly more often than the label "Thinking." Hmm.
I have posted six times more about someone else's book than about my own.
But I was relieved to see that there are more Book posts than Movie posts.
The number of posts on Friends is nearly double the number on Family.
I have managed to refrain thus far from creating a "Brothers" label.
There is only one post concerning Work, School, or Shopping. Lawl. I'm lazy.
I talk about Books twice as often as I talk about Reading. How does that work exactly?
The second largest label is "Random."
And I talk about myself more than anything.

Sometimes, I wonder...

Yep. I just wonder. I guess I should slap this post with a Thinking label. Or a Label label.

You know what, I'm gonna label this post with everything >:D


Monday, September 12, 2011

My Blog Has Been Dug

So, Jay awarded me, like an embarrassingly long time ago >.< And I'm just now officially accepting it. *sigh* Sometimes I'm not that great. But anyway, Jay Digs My Blog.

So he gave me that ^

Now all I have to do to be officially Dug is thank Jay {...thanks, Jay XD} and tell you three random facts about myself, which shouldn't be hard because most facts I would share with you would be pretty random anyway.

1. I cannot stand spit.
2. I leave the blinds on my middle window open all the time. {Even when I'm changing, which is really bad discretion when I think about it.}
3. I used to be terrified of becoming autistic.

Now, I must pass on this award to three blogs that I Dig.

Beauty Like a Kaleidoscope
A Collection of Reflections
Almost by Not Quite

The end :D Thanks, Jay!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

What can happen in ten years?

You can get your ears pierced.
You can move.
You can invent 3D movies.
You can make 10 new friends.
You can outgrow a passport.
You can learn to cook.
You can invent Facebook.
You can forget your kindergarten enemy.
You can forget how mad you were that one time.
You can forget what that shirt looked like.
You can forget the disagreement with your sister.

But there are some things you cannot forget.

September 11, 2001.


Great, loud, looming, shocked silence.



Grandmas calling.
Mommas crying.
Children wondering.

What happened? What was so great? So terrible? What had happened that was so big the whole world stopped to watch?

There are lots of ways to say it; each one makes your stomach clench, your mind flinch, your heart squeeze.

Nine-eleven. 9-11. September 11. The World Trade Center. The Twin Towers.

It's funny trying to remember a time before it happened. It's funny because we will never forget what happened, but we've already forgotten what it was like before.

Remember when middle-eastern people didn't look scary?
Remember when you could walk right onto an airplane without checking bags?
Remember when the word "terrorism" was foreign?
Remember when America felt like the safest place in the world?

I was seven when it happened; I barely remember those things. But I do remember. What's sad is the kids I know who don't.

The nine-year-old girl I babysit can’t remember a time before Nine-Eleven. She doesn't remember when middle-eastern people were just people. She doesn't remember not having extensive airplane security. She doesn't remember not knowing what "terrorism" is. She doesn't remember thinking that America was invincible.

It's been ten years. America is growing again, in some good directions, and in some bad, but she is growing. That's the only thing she can do. People may try to strike her down, but the values she stands for--Freedom, Equality, Bravery, Honor, Justice--will endure forever, as long as the people defend them.

And that's what we will do. No matter what happens, no matter who tries to derail us, we will stand strong for our God-given rights and for WHAT is right. We will remember not only Nine-Eleven, but everything before that, everything our founding fathers stood for.

On this anniversary of the great American tragedy, don't just remember the Twin Towers. Remember why they were destroyed, and uphold those values all the stronger.

In ten years, a lot can happen, but some things you never forget.

And some of those things you never should.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Review: City of Bones

Title: The City of Bones {The Mortal Instruments Trilogy}
Author: Cassandra Clare
Stars: 4.5
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: In this dark, modern fantasy, Clare brings together love, excitement, magic, sarcasm and even some fascinating Biblical aspects.
Back-of-the-Book: “When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in NYC, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons—and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within 24 hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”

I Say: Bleck; the back of the book is so misleadingly generic. The Mortal Instruments trilogy is in my top three all-time favorites, and you guys KNOW how picky I am.

Basically, the story is about demon hunters, who are descendents of the antediluvian {look it up} Nephilim. They get their power from Marks {semi-permanent Shadowhunter tattoos}, which are like the Mark that protected Cain in the Bible. However, although there are Biblical aspects sprinkled in, the books are by no means “Christian.”

In this expertly-crafted trilogy, Cassandra Clare weaves together humor, adventure, love, magic, and did I mention HUMOR? Clare is a GENIUS with humor. I laughed out loud more often than when reading any other series.

Her characters are—for the most part—great, especially Jace, the dark hero, and Simon, the sarcastic best friend. Their lines and personalities are all their own; they’re one-of-a-kind and wonderful.

I do have problems with Clary, the main character, and Isabelle, another featured individual because of my issues with overly badass girls.

I really love the unpredictability of this series. I’m good at seeing what’s coming, but never in a million years did I see the twists and turns Clare put in.

I Liked:
- The hilarity
- The unpredictability
- The lack of loose ends {I hate it when things don’t add up.}
- It realistically references the Bible a ton, which adds a whole new dimension to the story.

I Didn’t Like:
- Sometimes it feels a bit disorganized, but Clare always brings it back in, so rest assured.
- NOTE: While I think Clare should have stopped after completing this trilogy, she’s writing a second trilogy about the same characters. So far, I do not like it. So my review here goes for the original three books, not the new set of Mortal Instruments.

Audience: There’s sensuality, and one character is gay, so if that bothers you…heads up. Clare keeps it interesting while keeping it balanced nicely between PG and PG-13 XD

I think everyone should read The Mortal Instruments. Chances are you’ll love it, and if you don’t, at least you’ll know what hit you when the epic movie comes out.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Books To Read/Actually Finish

Taken straight out of my Omni Liber 5.

1. "A Tale of Two Castles" - Gail Carson Levine
I love Levine. She wrote "Ella Enchanted," "The Two Princesses of Bamarre," and hilariously redid a bunch of classic fairy tales. I started "A Tale of Two Castles" while in Europe, and to be honest it's a little young for me, so I haven't gotten into it enough to finish it yet.

2. "The Magicians" - Lev Grossman
This is basically a grown-up version of "Harry Potter," but so far it's pretty good. I like Grossman's writing style and it's definitely entertaining. However, his world of magic isn't actually appealing to me, although it's DEFINITElY more believable and realistic.

3. "The Shadow of the Wind" - Carlos Zafon
This is a fascinating, sort of dark book I started last spring. I kept getting bogged down and still haven't finished it though.

4. "Wither" - Lauren DeStefano
I read Sam's pre-release description of this book last winter and fell in love with the idea of this book. I've seen it several times, but somehow it hasn't yet made it home with me.

5. "Retribution" - Sherrilyn Kenyon
I saw it at the bookstore and it sounded interesting. That's pretty much all it takes for me.

6. "Catch 22" - Joseph Heller
It's a classic. And it's supposed to be good. Ergo, it's on the list.

7. "A Brave New World"
My friend had to read this for school and she brought it to church one week. I read the back aaaand it sounded interesting XD

8. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" {etc.}
I saw this book three years ago at a bookstore in Asheville, NC. It's stuck with me all this time, and now it's suddenly really popular with the movies and everything. But I still have not actually read it.

9. "Marks of Cain" - Tom Knox
I saw this at the bookstore and the back was fascinating. I wanna read it.

10. "Comedy in a Minor Key" - Hans Keilson
The title alone is pretty awesome, right? XD {I love minor keys.} Apparently it sounded good, but reading the description on Amazon is like "What..." So. Whatever. It's on the list.

11. "I Am Number Four" - Pittacus Lore
Saw the movie. {And Pettyfer is hottt stuffff.} But it always pisses me off when people ooh and aah over a movie that they haven't read the original BOOK to. I do not want to be "that person," so I'm trying to read the original book.

12. "Imaginary Girls" - Nova Ren Suma
It just...sounds really intriguing.

13. "Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover" - Ally Carter
This is the third book in the Gallagher Girl series. I read the first two when I was like 13 and loved them, now I feel obligated to finish the series. {Not that the books aren't good. They are. I'm just kind of over the whole thing at this point.}

14. "Only the Good Spy Young" - Ally Carter
See above.

15. "Sapphique" - Catherine Fisher
This is the sequel to "Incarceron," which I read earlier this year. Again, I didn't super enjoy "Incarceron," but I believe in finishing a series once I start it.

16. "Cleopatra's Moon" - Vicky Alvear Shecter
One thing you for sure need to know about me: I have an obsession with Cleopatra. Sure, it comes and goes, but constantly lurking in the back of my mind is this fascination with the clever Egyptian queen who gave birth to Greek-Roman-Egyptian children. Anything about her FASCINATES me. I can never read enough about her. So, I wanna read this book. {The book "Cleopatra's Daughter" is really good if you also like this sort of thing. Just btw.}

17 "The Sweet Far Thing" - Libba Bray
I thought this was called "That Sweet Fair Thing" for like two years. Anyway, Bray wrote these two books called "A Great and Terrible Beauty" and "Rebel Angels," both of which I have read, neither of which I enjoyed. I think I was too young for them. The sensuality creeped me the heck out. But, AGAIN, I am now bound by the Law of Series to read this book.

18. The "Pendragon" books 8, 9 and 10 -D.J. MacHale
It's a series thing. Although this books are pretty a'ight. I think I'd like them more if I'd started them younger.

19. "Cascade" - Lisa T. Bergren
The back of the book sounded cool.

20. "The Forgotten Locket" - Lisa Mangum
I don't remember why I want to read this. But, hey, it's on the list. So there ya go.

21. "Steel" - Carrie Vaugn
The cover on Amazon looks terrible, kind of reminds me of a cheesy, badly-written, trashy, medieval sex flick, so I'm wondering what drew me to this. And honestly, the description sounds generic as heck. But we'll see. Eventually.

22. "HIVE" -
My friend is letting me borrow this book. So I kind of, like, HAVE to read it or I'm a bad friend.

23. "Daddy" -
It's on our bookshelf {we have like 2000 books, and that's not an exaggeration} and my dad says it's good. So I'll prolly read it sometime maybe.

24. "Paradise Lost" by John Milton
I love this book a lot. It just takes time to read, which I don't always have. But I LOVE "Paradise Lost" and one of these days I'm actually going to finish it.

25. "Clockwork Prince" by Cassandra Clare
It comes out on December 6 of this year, and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED. {If you plan to read this book, email me first so I can tell you to read these other books first or it will RUIN EVERYTHING.}


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Tex

Title: “Tex”
Author: S.E. Hinton
Stars: 5
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: “Tex” is a heartwarming story with a tight, yet extremely unpredictable plot line; absolutely phenomenal characters; humor; and great insight into peoples’ lives.

Back-of-the-Book: “Easygoing and reckless Tex likes everyone and everything, especially his horse, Negrito, and Johnny Collins’s blue-eyed sister, Jamie. Life with his older brother, Mason, would be just about perfect if only Mace would stop complaining about Pop, who hasn’t been home in five months. While Mason worries about paying the bills and getting a basketball scholarship—his ticker out of Oklahoma—Tex just seems to attract trouble. Can he find a way to keep things together when everything seems to be falling apart?”

I Say: As with most books, this back-of-the-book description hardly does the story justice. I’ve read all of S.E. Hinton’s books except for “Star Runner”, and this one is my very favorite. S.E. Hinton always has the kind of characters that MUST exist out there somewhere and her plots are gripping. However, sometimes she lets her characters play a bigger role than the actual story, which can make for a loosey-goosey plotline.

In “Tex,” she finally found the secret combination of incredible characters AND a tight storyline.

You know how…

…with some books, you can read the whole thing and not “feel” the characters? By page 14 of “Tex,” I felt I’d known him since kindergarten.

…some books are good, but it’s not a big deal when you have to put it down? I left dinner to finish “Tex.”

…when authors try to do “heartwarming,” it’s cheesy? With “Tex,” some things were so sweet that I actually aww’d out loud, and yet it wasn’t forced or cheesy at all. It was like Hinton didn’t want to draw your attention to the aww-aspect. To be honest, you don’t even think about the fact that Hinton wrote the book. It’s written from Tex’s point of view, and you really believe it’s him telling the story.

…some book plots are more or less original, but you can still see everything coming? “Tex” is so realistic, yet so personal, that I felt I was watching real life, where absolutely anything goes. “Tex” is one of the most unpredictable book I’ve ever read, but the plot was still well-planned. Sometimes when authors go for “unpredictable,” the story ends up ridiculous, filled with SHOCKING CLIMAX after SHOCKING CLIMAX. “Tex” wasn’t like that.

I Liked:
- Tex has an older brother
- Deep characters
- Unpredictable
- Realistic situations

I Didn’t Like:
- I’m normally very critical, but I can’t think of anything I just “didn’t like” about “Tex.” I can’t even pull the “I-Didn’t-Like-That-It-Had-To-End” card because I thought Hinton ended it at a perfect place.

Audience: I think anyone could love this book. Just about any stereotype I can think of has a good chance of getting into it. (If you read it and hate it, lemme know.) I wouldn’t recommend it for kids under 12 or 13 (depending on the kid), just for the drug references and some situations.

Read "Tex." I give you a 99.9% guarantee you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Books I've Read This Year

1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
1 star
I had heard of it and decided to give it a shot. There went 4 hours of my life I'll never get back. This book majorly sucked.

2. Tex by S. E. Hinton
5 stars
I love S.E. Hinton and decided to check out Tex. Best book decision ever. This book is absolute gold. It's definitely one of the best things I've ever read. {I'm reviewing it tomorrow, so stick around.}

3. Incarceron by
3 stars
Pretty interesting read. The concept of a mechanical prison with artificial intelligence is fascinating, but it's not 100% well-executed IMO. It's sometimes difficult for the reader to catch on.

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
3 and a half stars
I liked this book a lot, but nothing about it stands out. It's a good, well-told story, but a little forgettable and I didn't quite "get" the ending.

5. No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt
3 and a half stars
This Great Depression-themed book had been sitting on my shelf for years, and I'd just never gotten around to it. I ended up liking it more than I thought {probably because there's a lot of older-brother-little-brother stuff}, but I probably won't read it again.

6. Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
3 stars
The beginning of this book left me in awe; the style was absolutely beautiful; I would read sentences over again just because I liked them. But then the story got too long, and really strange, and the "big secret" it promises isn't really as exciting as I expected. It's interesting though.

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4 stars
Everyone is reading this books nowadays, and they deserve the publicity. Collins created a gripping and unique story line with leap-off-the-page-real characters. The trilogy is for SURE worth reading, so it's weird that they aren't some of my favorite books. I really can't put my finger on why.

8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4 stars
This is the sequel to Hunger Games, and it's basically just as good. In the beginning I feared it would just be a nitty-grittier repeat of the first book, but Collins saved it. It's quite good.

9. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
3 stars
This is the beginning to the second trilogy of "Mortal Instruments" books. If you think that sounds confusing, it's because it is. I wish Cassandra Clare had just stopped with the original trilogy, because they were absolutely FANTASTICALLY AWESOME and I hate it when writers take things too far. In City of Fallen Angels, I feel like Clare has lost touch with her characters {especially my beloved Jace!}, so the book is just eh. But read them anyway. 'Cause deep down I think they still rock.

10. Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti by
This book is kinda cool. It's just informational basically, about how girls and guys think differently. I just skimmed the book and got what I want out of it. You should too.

11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
4 stars
This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I sobbed, which is pretty much rare for me. Actually, I'm pretty sure this book made me cry harder than any other book ever. It was great. Just GREAT.

12. Fortune by Erica Spindler
2 stars
I was bored at our beach house, it was on the shelf. It's a pretty strange, sensual, sadistic story. I really liked pieces of it because the main character has an older brother-like figure, but mostly it just made me feel dirty and the writing wasn't even good.

13. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3 stars
This was a pretty cool book. Good ideas, pretty well-done. For some reason I didn't really "connect" to the story, but it might just be me. Maybe if I read it again I'd like it more.

14. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
4 stars
I seriously liked this book a lot. It's engaging, extremely well-written, thought-provoking and real. I liked the characters and the setting and the whole thing was just super well-done. Definitely recommend it.

15 Theogony by Hesiod
4 stars
A really fascinating read XD Nothing like ancient literature to spice up your bookshelf. I actually love Greek literature, and this was no different. Hesiod has a way with words, and learning where all the gods came from is just really cool to me.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: Fall of a Kingdom

Thanks for following, Lex and Luna! Hope you enjoy Book Week :D

Title: Fall of a Kingdom {The Farsala Trilogy}
Author: Hilari Bell
Stars: 4.5
Less-Than-500-Word Review in Short: This Arabian-style story of war goes deeper than just battle strategy as you explore character, morality, and what really separates you from your enemy.
Back-of-the-Book: “Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala’s aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both feared and respected.

“Now a new enemy approaches Farsala’s boarders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legend. But the rulers of Farsala still believe that they can beat any opponent.

“Three young people are less sure of Farsala’s invincibility. Jiaan, Soraya and Kavi see Time’s Wheel turning, with Farsala headed towards the Flames of Destruction. What they cannot see is how inextricably their lives are linked to Farsala’s fate—until it’s too late.”

I Say: Judging by the back of the book, I expected the story to be a pretty generic tale of politics, “unlikely” friends and magic riddled with odd superstition.

I was wrong.

“Fall of a Kingdom” is the beginning of possibly the most beautifully crafted story I have ever read. Hilari Bell presents an organized but natural plot woven with characters that immediately settle into your soul. She manages the perfect balance between personal conflict and war, being brilliant at both character development and battle strategy.

As a writer I aspire to be just like her: skilled at both incredible characters and realistic situations. I don’t mean to be sexist, but Hilari Bell describes war and constructs believable tactics amazingly well for a girl. Maybe it’s just her secret area of interest, but I can only HOPE to be able to do what she does.

“Fall of a Kingdom” is thought-provoking, engaging, inspiring, unique, believable, and—of course—impeccably well-written.

I also love Kavi. Like, a lot.

I Liked:
- Arabian-esque setting
- Well-developed characters
- Thought-provoking moral and political struggles
- Tight plotline

I Didn’t Like:
- You all should know by now that I am one critical chica, but the only thing I can say I didn’t like about the trilogy is that it had to end. The Farsala books are some of the few that I feel I NEED to read periodically just because I miss the characters.

Audience: Nothing in “Fall of a Kingdom” is really inappropriate, although there’s some extremely mild language and occasional sexual insinuations. However, while this book is extremely well-done and I love it, if it’s not your thing, it’s just not. Don’t expect to love it if your idea of reading is “Gossip Girl,” or even “The Mortal Instruments,” which are great. “Fall of a Kingdom” is geared toward readers who like this sort of ancient kingdom setting.