31 December 2010

Gifts

After spending approximately 11 hours cleaning my room, I finally have a chance to upload some photos of Christmastime and some of the gifts I gave and received. Last year I blogged about making gifts for loved ones, and I've done that again this year. Now that they've finally received them, I can show you what I've made. I hope you enjoy this photo post and I hope everyone has a happy New Year's Eve. Remember, take with you only happiness into the new year.



Here's  a photo of my Christmas tree at 7 a.m. Christmas morning, after I woke up my brother and my parents with my Linus plush that talks when you squeeze him.

"For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. And on earth, peace, and good will towards men. That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."


Above is the frame I created for Todd. Supplies: a plain undecorated frame, card-stock paper for the background, stickers, glue, a photograph. Also woodcut letters help, which is what I wrote our names with, and the top heart is also made of wood and painted. Below is the box I created for my parents. Supplies: a plain box, stickers for the lettering and top designs, ribbon for the center, and card-stock paper for the bottom. I put little envelopes on the inside with Christmas messages inside of them for both of my parents.


 

My dad is a master at decorating gifts. Using wrapped books and ribbon (and empty gold wrapping paper tubes), he created a Chococat sleigh out of all of my gifts. Isn't it awesome?




Todd got me a few awesome gifts; one of them was these custom Converse that he had designed to say "The Weakerthans" on them, the name of my favorite band, which I sort of introduced to him when we first started hanging out. I'm really excited to get a chance to wear them! 



The best gift of all:

30 December 2010

Christmas!

For me, the end of the year is a time of self-evaluation, a time when I reconsider everything in my life and hold on to the things that are worth it and get rid of the things that aren't. I love spending time with my family at Christmas, and this year it was extra special and great because Todd got to share in the celebrations with us.

(And I didn't get broken up with, like last Christmas. Not that I thought it would happen, but it's always a bonus either way!)

Now that I've got a ton of new things -- I'll have some pictures later -- it's time for stage two: cleaning. I plan to go through pretty much every single thing I own and decide to either get rid of it or find its proper place in my room. 

But it's not just my room that I have to clean. I think it's important to sort through feelings and character traits, too, and decide which are worth keeping (happiness, love, open-mindedness) and which can be tossed aside (doubt, fear, worry). With the new year quickly approaching, it's important to decide just who we want to be and how we want to live. The most important part of any endeavor, relationship or life circumstance is how we let it change us and how we learn and grow from it.

 I want to start 2011 at my maximum potential, with all of my energy correctly aligned. And from there, who knows where I can go.
"I don't need what I cannot carry on me or inside. And I don't want it. I don't want what I cannot carry with me or beside." - TreeUnion, Kiss the Moon.


13 December 2010

What An Adventure!

I love Christmas. And I especially love Christmas in New York - the tall skyscrapers (some of which are decorated with lights), the bustle of Macy's in Herald Square, and most importantly the chance to spend some quality time with my mom shopping for Christmas gifts. Here's some photos from our spree:


 


Here's mom in Macy's, where we looked around a lot at all of the nice decorations, but didn't really buy anything. I wanted to take a picture of the giant Smurf balloon outside, but didn't get a chance to.





In the Manhattan Mall, they had these weird reindeer made out of what seemed to be fake grass. They were really creepy, so I made my mom take a picture with one of them. Of course, then I had to take a picture too.
  




After shopping, we met up with my brother and my dad down at the South Street Seaport, where we saw the decorated Christmas tree (which had actually fallen a few days before). It was nice to hang out as a family, even though my brother said I was annoying because I kept trying to talk to him!
  

Here he is, in close up. I was sad because he didn't want to smile in his picture with me.








And lastly, the best close to the day --- tangerine glazed salmon over a bed of coconut rice with bits of pineapple and melon. As we know, I am such a foodie, so this was nearly heaven for me.

09 December 2010

My Poetry Book

I finally finished the long process of self-publishing a poetry book, and am only just starting the even longer process of trying to market it myself and get the word out there. Filled with 64 poems divided into five different sections, the book strives to tell a narrative story about the human experience. It is called "An Unfamiliar Ache."

It's only $8 on Amazon, so if you could check it out (click HERE), I would really appreciate it. And even if you can't buy a copy, please please please just tell everyone you know about it and tell them to tell everyone they know about it, and this way we can work together to make people aware of it. 


Thanks so much!

07 December 2010

04 December 2010

"Tangled" Up Together

 Yesterday, before the monthly poetry reading at Barnes & Noble, Todd and I decided to go to the movies; we'd both been anticipating the release of Disney's latest princess flick, "Tangled." The movie, an animated version of the classic Rapunzel Tale, didn't disappoint.

Although the film showed in 3D, we opted for the old-school version, and it was more than satisfactory. The plot was solid, with catchy songs. The animation resembled the classic Disney style we grew up with. The characters were funny and interesting. Todd especially liked the little green chameleon; I preferred Eugene, the sexy bad-boy-turned-hero.


My favorite scene: when Rapunzel and Eugene sit together in a boat, the water rocking softly below them, and they watch glowing lanterns fill the entire night sky. And when the movie ended, Todd and I decided to add "sit in a boat and watch floating lanterns in the sky" to our list of things to do.
 

 Of course, that might never actually happen. But we've decided that we're stuck with each other until we finish the list, so I'm fine with never finishing at all.

Prose Poem #2

At the top of the broken escalator, we stop to catch our breaths. While we remind our lungs how to expand and contract at a not-frenzied pace, we watch the people coming up after us. A teenage girl with long brown hair has her tongue in her boyfriend’s ear like she’s digging the last bits of ice cream out of a cone. A group of children rush up shouting, pretending the climb is a boot camp drill and their fingers are bent to form the shapes of guns. A woman follows them and her eyes dart from one scampering body to the next, never letting them out of her sight, and in the shape of her smile we could find all of the words for all of the poems we can never write. An elderly couple reaches the top; they stand just beyond the escalator mouth. Quietly, they hold each other. We look away.

02 December 2010

Prose Poem #1

after taking the subway to meet you

We have to walk up the broken escalator in Bloomingdale’s, each step taller than that of an average staircase. Our thighs ache with the effort of stretching our legs too far and our fingers cramp from gripping onto the rail. We worry about falling. We worry about slicing open the skin of our knees on the jagged metal edges of every step. We worry that it’ll start moving again while we’re still on it. If the escalator suddenly resumes its upward trek and we start tumbling downwards at the same rate of its ascent, we will be suspended in a state of perpetual motion. We will be falling and not falling at exactly the same time. I feel the warmth of your palm on my back as we approach the second floor and I think, isn’t that exactly what we’re doing now?


01 December 2010

Visual Arts Aren't Just Digital

Considering I was just posting about reading and writing and about Jonathan Safran Foer, check out this video about his newest book, "Tree of Codes," which is actually a story literally formed by cutting out sections from Bruno Shulz' "Street of Crocodiles."

Active Reading

I interviewed Tim O'Brien for an article I wrote sometime earlier this year. Most famously, he wrote "The Things they Carried," the story of a group of army grunts in Vietnam. I've read every single book he's ever written, and he's always been my favorite writer. So of course, when I interviewed him, I had to ask him about writing, and he told me to always "read like a writer," asking myself why I liked something, and how it moved me.

I just finished reading "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. What started as an affinity for the movie "Everything is Illuminated" (mostly because Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz had a leading role), has developed into a deep respect and admiration for Safran Foer, both as a writer and as a reader. 

As a writer, I've been paying attention to the way he manipulates style to get across the voice and tone of his character. I want to try and develop my own style and voice in my own works. It makes me want to write more. As a reader, I appreciate the always-moving, ever-developing story and the way it drew me in and didn't let me go until I had finished the entire novel, almost without realizing it.

Tim O'Brien will always be my favorite author, but Jonathan Safran Foer definitely comes close, and I highly recommend reading his books. Find your own way to read it, whether it's as a reader, as a writer, or as something else, something that only you can define. 

"What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls?" 

- Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close", page 1.