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Monthly Archives: May 2012

The things we say

“We say to the confused, Know thyself, as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations, we say to the apathetic, Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head, we say to the indecisive, Begin at the beginning, as if beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.”

José Saramago (The Cave)

 

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Live life to the fullest.

“Eat the damn chocolate cake, get your hair wet, love someone, dance in those muddy puddles, tell someone off, draw a picture with crayons like you’re still 6 years old and then give it to someone who is very important to you. Take a nap, go on vacation, do a cartwheel, make your own recipe, dance like no one sees you, paint each nail a different color, take a bubble bath, laugh at a corny joke. Get on that table and dance, pick strawberries, take a jog, plant a garden, make an ugly shirt and wear it all day, learn a new language, write a song, date someone you wouldn’t usually go for, make a scrap book, go on a picnic, relax in the sun, make your own home video, kiss the un-kissed, hug the un-hugged, love the unloved, and live your life to the fullest. So at the end of the day, you’ll have no regrets, no sorrows, no disappointments.” (Author Unknown)

 

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Meet the author

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

I’ve recently found out one of my online friends is an author.

First time I met her was when I read one of the many Dear Roger letters. Those are letters she writes to her dead uncle telling him about her life. I like the idea because then you can actually picture someone when you’re writing something. So I read some of her letters but since I saw them on tumblr and it was always hard to find anything there (too many updates all the time) I kind of lost track of her.

Time passed and I found her on twitter through a common friend and we started talking. I always love when we have a chance to chat over there. Hilarious conversations. She’s an odd one, which is one of the reasons why I always love talking to her.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer D. Scroggins

And just a few days ago I found out she’s an author. I finally found her blog A Modern Calamity and saw the video she made about herself and her books. She published two books already: Drifts and The Face In The Rear View Mirror. First I saw they were kindle editions and since I’m not a fan of them (I like holding the book in my hands), I started searching and found paperbacks. When you search for them on Amazon you see the kindle ones first, and it’s not that easy to find the paperbacks. Shut up, it’s not! But I found them. And bought them (finally!). And now I can’t wait to read them.

Since I can’t tell you anything about the books (since I haven’t read them yet) I’ll leave you with a video of the author talking them. And about herself and where she finds inspiration for her writing. Watch the video and then go buy a copy of her books.

P.S.: If you’re still not convinced, you can go on Amazon and can click on the book to take a look inside. Or read the reviews from people who actually read them.

Update: You can check her author’s page on Facebook.

 

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The Doo Wop Shop – for Disney fans of all ages.

About a year ago (almost to the day, it was May 25, 2011) I saw a video of The Doo Wop Shop singing a Disney medley. The video I saw was their 2010 performance and it made me smile. Now, while looking for the video I found out they recorded a studio version and then the 2011 Holiday Concert version (which is the one in this post).

 

P.S.: The Doo Wop Shop  (a.k.a. “The Shop”) is UMASS’ only all male A Capella group.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Music Time

 

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Life is an adventure.

When I sat down to watch Up I was certainly not expecting to cry. Come on, it’s an animated movie. Animated movies are for children, therefore they have to be fun and pretty. Right? Now thinking back I can see how naïve it was to think animated movies don’t have their moments to make you cry. Bambi’s mom? Simba’s dad? The ending of Toy Story 3? Okay, more often than not they do try to make you cry.

But then the movie started and the story of Carl and Ellie was just so sweet. How can anyone not be touched by their story? It’s life with its ups and downs, and it’s beautiful. All the way to the very end.

 

Life is an adventure. We dream, we make plans, and then we change them over and over again. The best thing is not to make a list of things to do, but to recognize on the things that did happen which were the moments that add to the great adventure that is our own life. So, what are the moments that make up your adventure book?


P.S.: Every time I think of Bambi’s mom I remember this scene from Friends (The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry):

Joey: You didn’t cry when Bambi’s mother died?
Chandler: Yes, it was very sad when the guy stopped drawing the deer!

 

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Date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Date a Girl Who Reads was written by Rosemarie Urquico in response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date an Illiterate GirlI actually found this essay a while ago but only now for some strange reason I started thinking about it again. So here it is. Hope you enjoy it.

Photo courtesy of Портрет

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. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. 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.

Photo courtesy of Dave Makes

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.

 

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I Shall Not Live In Vain

by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

 
 

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A little sunshine to brighten Rhea’s day

Reading a friend’s post I got to know Rhea’s story. Rhea Swearingen was born with Glycogen Storage Disease type Ia (GSD Ia), which means her liver can’t produce free glucose. It’s the most common of the glycogen storage diseases, but it’s still a rare condition, since it only affects one in every 80,000 children. The result of the lack of glucose is severe hypoglycemia, which can even be fatal. Reduced glycogen breakdown results in increased glycogen storage in liver and kidneys, causing enlargement of both.

Rhea was only diagnosed when she was 2 years old. Now she’s 17, she’ll be 18 this summer, although her body physically resembles that of someone much younger. Because of her enlarged liver her belly appears to be a bit large, and she has very fine and thin hair that doesn’t seem to grow much. But she’s a trooper, and she’s fighting the battle the best she can.

To keep her blood sugar level throughout the day and night and avoid hypoglycemia she takes cornstarch mixed with water 5 times a day (at 3am, 7am, 11am, 4pm and right before she goes to bed at night). Her diet is also very limited since her body does not metabolize sugars the same way most bodies do, she cannot have sugar, milk or fruit, nor anything made with those things.

Her and her family went through a lot over the years. As side effects of her disease Rhea developed gout due to high levels of uric acid in her blood. She also has extremely high levels of fat in her blood, both in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol. She is also in the beginning stages of osteoporosis.

Due to Rhea’s disease going for so many years without the proper treatment, she developed lesions on her liver that had a high likelihood of turning into cancer and she had to have several tests every 3 months, including an MRI to keep an eye on any growth or change in them. She entered a transplant list, first just for her liver and later for a kidney as well, and waited a long time for a suitable match.

On May 12th, Rhea’s family got a call from the hospital. There was a donor that matched Rhea. So they headed up to the Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. All was well and on May 14th the surgery was completed. She received both a kidney and a liver. This is exciting and at the same time very scary. Transplant is not a miracle cure, and it comes with its own risks and medications she will have to take for the rest of her life, but the quality of her life will be better. Now Rhea will finally be able to enjoy the simple things we take for granted. She will finally be able to have the chocolate cake and ice cream she so wanted and she won’t have to wake up 3am for cornstarch.

So here is what I’m proposing: take some time to write her a card. Not a get well soon, but a cheerful card. Maybe a thinking of you card. Just a card to help brighten her day. It will take you just a few minutes and it will cost you just a card (or piece of paper) and a stamp. You can even find nice cards at the dollar store, you don’t even need to spend much. Or if you feel crafty you can make your own. And if you can, spread the word. Let’s try to get her as many cards as we possibly can. Can you picture the smile on her face opening each card? I know I can.

Rhea Swearingen (inpatient)

c/o Primary Children’s Medical Center
100 Mario Capecci Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84113

Update: Rhea loves to sing. Here are two videos of her singing: Star Spangled Banner and You Raise Me Up.

 

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You wanna mess with me? You wanna mess with ME?

Today we had this group project to work on. We had to work on a problem and suggest solutions for it. So not as fun as it sounds. And before you tell me it doesn’t even sound like it would be fun, let me clarify that if doesn’t even sound like it would be fun, what do you think that means? Exactly.

So my group is trying to come up with problems and we keep going back and forth in a couple of ideas. And by a couple I mean ten. So this chick from another group asks us what our topic is and we tell her it’s going to be soap. You know, the differences between anti-bacterial and non-anti-bacterial soap, plus how had-sanitizer is not really that helpful. And she has the guts to look at us with that “I’m so much better than you and my group’s topic is so f***ing great” look on her face. I wanted to punch her. Especially because when we asked her about her topic she didn’t even answer us.

But then we talked some more and thought soap was really not that great, and kept changing our mind every two minutes. I wasn’t even keeping track of all the topics. From time to time I would agree with something, or say I thought soap was a good topic. After a while I think they started ignoring me. Or maybe it was just my imagination. But then Ms. Nosy came back, and I couldn’t contain myself. When she asked us about our topic, I said, without even blinking, “We’re going to discuss the importance of killing puppies in order to prevent rabbits from contracting rabies.”

Her eyes seemed to pop out of her head. Like she was a cartoon. Probably because she liked my idea and thought hers was crappy compared to mine.

At least she stopped bugging us.

P.S.: We’re totally against killing puppies here, and I only said that so she would leave us alone. It worked.

 

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Drained of all energy

Got home tonight and the thought of making something to eat was just too much, so I decided to just drink something. And by something I mean a non-alcoholic beverage.

I was going to grab a coke zero, but then thought “Nah, I’m gonna drink a tea. It’s too late for coke.”

Really? Really Carol? Too late for coke?? How old are you? When did you get to the point that 9pm became too late for caffeine? You, who are so used to drinking coffee til you’re too tired that you fall asleep. You, who can drink coke all day and not postpone going to bed because of it. You, who cannot spend not even a few days without caffeine that you go crazy. Where did the time go, because apparently I missed that memo.

The thing is that I’ve being digging through my body to find what little energy I have to deal with all I have to deal. I don’t go to bed before midnight and wake up around 3 or 4 in the morning to be able to handle all the assignments from my college classes. Then I go to work and have to find patience to deal with children all day long. Then I have classes. And all this finding-energy-where-there’s-no-more is getting to me. And I finally have no more energy left.

I’m tired. No, not just tired. I’m exhausted. Yes, that’s exactly how I feel right now; exhausted. Like all energy was drained out of my body and there’s finally nothing else left. I’m depleted of all my resources or reserves. I’m done.

 

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