Monday, April 12, 2010


Eventually, when I am cooler, older, and tougher (and financially a little more stable, ha), I plan on not only learning to sail but I'd love to purchase a sailboat of sorts. Its always relaxing watching the sailboats from the top of Fort McHenry in Baltimore or from the public dock in Annapolis (Let's be real, I'll find any excuse to be on the water). In my recent foray to the Charlottesville market with Sarah, we stopped in a small boutique next to Feast (a delicious grocery store and lunch spot) that we had never seen before. When I was last in Annapolis, I had spotted some neat bags made out of recycled sails that were right up my alley. Lucky for me, this shop had several really cool Seabags, one of which I may have to purchase sometime soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preferred heroine.

In the recent flurry of young celebs, I feel the need to stand up for one in particular with which I grew up. As much as I can try and appreciate the pop music, glitter, and attitude that come with say, Miley Cyrus, I'm not sure 10-year-olds need to be carrying cell phones and sporting halter tops. Call me old fashioned on this one, but I didn't have my first cell phone until I was a freshman in high school. It was a Nokia, had a Hawaiian flower face plate and came fully equipped with snake and somewhere around 10 texts per month. Side note: It was also about the size of today's cordless household phones. Nevertheless, I recently stumbled across one of my favorite books, Little House on the Prairie, in the bookstore downtown. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my favorite. Having read every book in the series probably somewhere around 7 or 8 times, I couldn't get enough of Laura and her family's adventures. I believe my copy of Little House in the Big Woods was left outside on the porch one afternoon during a thunderstorm, but even the subsequently waterlogged pages couldn't stop me from rereading. It goes along with the aforementioned love of trains; I thought it would have been pretty cool to have been a pioneer. Aside from the life or death choices that came with deciding whether to "caulk the wagon and float" or "ford the river" (thank you, Oregon Trail for those many eventful mornings in homeroom), you could have given me a bonnet and signed me up. Laura Ingalls was a classic American heroine; very much a more modern take on Annie Oakley.

I am fortunate enough to have a house in Pennsylvania that has been in our family since the 1800s. About 30 minutes north of Lock Haven, Mohawk sits on a beautiful mountain along the Susquehanna River. Driving up through the winding roads leads you somewhere someone else could never find (unless of course they knew exactly where to look). Growing up spending Thanksgivings, Christmases, and fall weekends there afforded me many of my own Laura Ingalls Wilder moments, including the fort that my grandfather helped us construct. It was my very own log cabin, and I loved being able to pretend that I too was as adventurous as Laura. Some of my best memories include driving the car in from the gate at age 10 (Thanks, Dad), picking apples from the orchard, hiking and spending hours by the bonfire watching the black bears hang out at the feeder. The last time I was up at camp, I spent the vast majority of one afternoon looking through old scrapbooks from the 1930s-1950s that my great grandfather had put together. Already a sucker for black and white photography, these were absolutely unreal. It was all I could do not to hijack all of the albums and take them back home. So many of the pictures I found enlightened me that my Nana was, perhaps, a Laura Ingalls herself.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love.

As far as books go, I tend to gravitate toward those with intriguing characters. Non-fiction, fiction, either way, I've read both and that fact absolutely remains the same (Think Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Pat Peoples in The Silver Linings Playbook, or Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in All the President's Men). A couple summers ago, Elizabeth Gilbert published her autobiographical Eat, Pray, Love, which became quite literally an overnight phenomenon. I was hesitant to get on the bandwagon because I shy away from philosophical, life and self-analysis style literature. You'll never find me reading Chicken Soup for any kind of soul and the vast majority of poetry still escapes me a little (Aside from some T.S. Eliot, Tennyson, and more recently Mary Oliver). There's a fine line for me between "depth" and less concrete, spiritual self-pondering. Either way, it took me a couple months to cave and pick up Gilbert's book while at the beach. I could not be more thankful that I did. When Gilbert refers to herself as "the planet's most affectionate life-form, something like the cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle," I knew I'd found a good one. Though perhaps not that affectionate, a friend once said that I "haven't stopped laughing since 1997." This is pretty valid. Gilbert's path from her lonely apartment in New York through Italy, India, and Indonesia leaves her with a greater understanding of not only herself, but what it actually means to be happy. While reading, I was actually reminded of the line in Where the Wild Things Are, where Judith states that "Happiness isn't always the best way to be happy." Gilbert echoes this sentiment, not by underrating happiness in any way, but acknowledging that its so much more complex than that. The spectrum of emotions within that overarching category is pretty expansive; oversimplifying that concept is only doing yourself a major disservice. I recently began re-reading Eat, Pray, Love upon hearing the movie will be out in June, with Julia Roberts starring as Elizabeth Gilbert. The trailer had me sold with the Florence and the Machine song (Dog Days are Over) used to accompany the amazing cinematography, and I really hope they can convey the sincerity of Gilbert's writing on the big screen.