“The Winter Rose”

April 23rd, 2011 Posted in Books I've Read | No Comments »

The Winter Rose

“The Winter Rose” by Jennifer Donnelly

I loved this book so much!  It is a tangent off of Jennifer Donnelly’s The Tea Rose (which is just as amazing).  She keeps the plot thick and your heart racing through the entire novel.  Each chapter is only a few pages, but you have to pause after every one to digest what just happened and brace yourself for what is to come.  This book, like The Tea Rose, is full of murder, corruption, triumph, love, compassion, and so much more.  There are an indescribable amount of emotions reached while reading.  Since this is a spin-off of the first book, you feel a greater connection with the characters because you have endured their history (it is not required to have read the first book to be able to follow what is going on in this one, but I highly recommend it because that one is so good too).  The setting is late 1800’s, early 1900’s, mostly in England, making their lingo so much fun to read.. which brings me to some of my favorite quotes:

“’Now get your things, old stick.’”

“’Birth pains are good for women.  They build character and inhibit indecent feeling.’”

“She wondered now if Joe had forgotten the lesson they’d both learned- that the past was a restless corpse that never stayed buried.  It crawled out of its grave again and again, trailing its bitter stench of sorrow and regret.”

“The sounds plucked at his nerves like fingers on a harp.”

“She had gray eyes.  As pale and soft as a gull’s wing.”

“’Can your spotless conscience endure the stain?’”

“The tension was growing.  It was a tangible thing now.  India could feel it moving invisibly through the crowd like a tiger in the tall grass.”

“Where the stiff salt breeze would blow away the stench of his sins and the sea would wash him clean.”

“She could feel the river’s damp breath on her skin, hear the mournful clanging of the buoys.”

“It was a real laugh – loud and genuine.  It made her cheeks flush and crinkled her eyes.  It made her beautiful.”

“And once, years after he’d arrived in Africa, he’d taken off his clothing in a storm and lain on the ground, weeping for her, wishing the hard rain would pound the flesh from his bones and dissolve him into the dirt.  But it didn’t.”

“India wiped tears from her daughter’s cheeks.  Each drop that fell felt like acid eating away at her heart.”

“’I think the most amazing thing of all is the freedom.  It’s not just a word here, is it?  It’s a concrete thing.  You can see it, same as you see the endless sky, or hear it, like the thundering of zebra.  And feel it, like you do the sun on your back.’”

“’You’re nothing but a speck on the face of a monolith, one that’s been where it is since the dawn of time.  But you don’t care about any of that.  If you did, you wouldn’t be there.  But you are there, daring disaster and death and all of it, a little flea climbing up a mountain.’”

“The smell and taste and feel of him felt to her like rains in a desert.  Her soul, dry and parched, nearly dead, came to life again.”

“Can you smell despair?  Joe wondered.  Can you see it?  Touch it?  He had always believed it to be an intangible thing, a state of mind.  Until he’d come to Wandsworth.  Here it was real.  It stalked the corridors, echoing in the hollow pok pok of the guard’s steps.  It dripped down the gray granite walls, festering in their cracks, filling the room with its moldering stink.  It seeped into flesh and bone, as chilling as the damp, creeping cold of a grave.”

“His blood splashed onto the golden grass; it pattered down onto the dark red earth.”


Busier Than The Busiest Of Bees

April 22nd, 2011 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 2 Comments »

Oh my goodness how time time flies when you fill it with things to do!  Working these 2 jobs (amounting to 60 hours a week, travel time not included), going to school, working out, sleeping, and eating, has left me about 30 minutes each day to sit and breathe.  Honestly,  I love it.. and I can’t wait for it to end.  I am moving into my new apartment Monday (with no packed boxes.. we will see how this works out) and I am so freaking excited!  I have loved living with my sister this last year.  It has been an experience that I would not trade for anything.  As sisters, we had our ups and downs (mostly my fault, I will amount to that), but I have so enjoyed living with her and getting to know her better.  I remember when she used to live in Chicago a few years back and I would go visit her and think about how cool it would be if we would live together one day.  We are so alike and yet so different.  The 10 years that separates our age is just that and nothing more.  I will honestly really miss living with someone whom I care for/respect/appreciate/love so deeply and receive the same feelings in return.  I am so proud of her and her success at 30 and all of the open doors of opportunity set before her.  I am so happy for her that she has such an amazing group of friends that are a second family.  I am so lucky to have an older sister to keep me grounded during tough times (and to share all the amazing times with as well).  She assures me that everyone goes through similar shit and it will all be ok.  This is constantly my inner mantra: “all I can do is keep doing what I am doing.. life is beautiful.. everything happens for a reason.. everything works out one way or another..”  I know that whatever decision DonNell makes next (going to California, staying in Austin, whatever) we will continue to have a close relationship.

Speaking of Austin.. my new apartment is on the East side of IH-35 off Riverside and Wickersham!  It is called “Village at Riverside” and I found them through Doug Lewis at Urban Austin Living/First Call Property Locators. They are the smallest of the university complexes in that area.  They only have 400 units instead of 1400.  Thank goodness!  I have heard that the larger university apartments can be overwhelming with students and parties.  Since I am not really into the college frat party scene, I think the smaller complex was the better choice.  I am in a 3bed/3bath.  We each have our own key to our room and a private bathroom.  The apartment it 1024 sq ft and fully furnished with washer, dryer, patio, big closets (with full-length mirrors), and updated kitchens.  The furniture is nice (think IKEA) and there are wood floors throughout, except for the bedrooms, which have built-in corner secretary desks.  The community has gated parking that is covered with reserved spots, wi-fi, a clubhouse, nice pool, volleyball court, basketball court, 24 hour fitness center, game room (with a pool table and the like), they are pet-friendly with a gated dog park, and have 24 hour maintenance service.  The rent is super cheap with all bills included.  It is the best deal that I could find and it was such a relief to find something after months of searching.  I really wanted to live on my own again, but I don’t think I would be able to afford it in the long run with my tastes (yes, I am a bit materialistic) and unsecured jobs/income.  Either way,  I signed a year lease and this is going to be such a fun and interesting chapter in my book of life. :)

On May 10th DonNell and I are going to visit family (our Aunt Carrol) on Anguilla island for 10 days.  This is going to be the best vacation in the world.  I haven’t seen her since my early teens.  The island is small and extremely beautiful.  It is located near St. Bart, St. John’s, and the Virgin Islands; east of Puerto Rico.  This vacation/ family reunion is coming at the end of this crazy work schedule and school semester.  When I get back, I will no longer be working my 60 hours a week (it will be down to 24 hours a week) and will be out of school for the summer.  I will be settled into my new apartment and ready for adventures in the hot Texas sun to commence.  Oh!  Before I go though, my friend Kerri (who stayed with DonNell and I during the holiday season) is coming back to Austin to visit from Berlin!  I am so excited to see her and meet her boyfriend James!  I might take a trip to Berlin this Summer, but that is still on the fence.  I will have to talk to her about it when she is here.  Another vacation I am thinking about is taking a second road trip to Florida to visit my Aunt Jan, Uncle Ricky, and cousin Tyler, like I did last summer.  I am probably speaking too soon because I haven’t talked to them about it yet, but I would love to do that again.  Last time it rained quite a bit and it was right after the BP oil spill.  The beaches then were still beautiful and I loved being near the ocean, but I bet the beaches now look so different compared to when I was there last.  Plus, the road trip is long and peaceful when you are traveling on your own.  While in Austin this summer, I plan to finally enjoy this amazing city for all that it is and all that it has to offer.  It will be my first summer where I am of age to go to any show at any bar.  I plan to spend so much time with friends having fun at all the water areas available (Twin Falls, Sculpture Falls, Campbell’s Hole, Barton Creek, just to name a few) during the day and take advantage of the largest music capital of the world during the night.  Oh the possibilities of what is to come…  I want to do so many things and thinking about all the endless possibilities is getting me so pumped for what is to come in the future!  This life is amazing!  Thank you universe for constantly expanding into vast, vibrational levels of awesomeness!  <3 <3