Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Aunt Jan

 My Aunt Jan, mom to Liz, and Mimi to my godson Wesley, had a brain aneurysm on Thursday. She is a travel writer and her and her husband were on a trip to the Great Lakes when it occurred. She was flown to a large hospital near by where she underwent brain surgery. She is still there, and will be for quite some time. She is fighting, but there are far more questions than answers.

Those are the facts.  That's what we know.  And yet those words alone do not even come close to carrying the weight of the heartache coming from all of this.  We are all so deeply devastated.

I know these things come out of the blue, but just never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this would happy to my beloved Aunt Jan. She is healthy and happy and just completely full of life. She travels and keeps her grand-babies, who are the absolutely light of her life. I don't have words for how this has rocked out family, a family that has been rocked enough already over the past few years.

I went on a hunt for pictures of me with Jan, but I can find very few. It's actually sort of crazy since we do so much together and have been close my entire life, but I am typically the photographer, so I have a ton of pictures I have taken of her and Liz or other family members. While looking through the pictures though, I was reminded of just how much I love her.  How much her family loves her; how she is my mom's best friend and the rock of her family; and just how funny and wonderful and loving she truly is.

If you have a moment, please keep my Aunt Jan and her family, our family, in your thoughts and prayers. She is a fighter, but we will take all the help we can get.
 A few more pictures, because I love her so, and think they are worth sharing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Living History

I wish I knew what to say.  I have a hard time going on with blogging as normal when so much of my heart is taken up with the world events.

My heart is broken for Paris and all those in the crossfire of so much violence and hate. 

My heart is broken for the Syrian refugees.

My heart is broken for my own country, who through fear and their own heartbreak, are fighting over what we should do or not do to help.

Do we take in more refugees or do we close our doors and lock them tight?

Do we put soldiers on the ground and enter this fight full force or do we step back and attempt to stand clear?

Is there even anywhere we can go that offers the option of standing clear?  And if so, how do we take that step, when so many others are losing their lives, their homes, their families, in this fight.

I don't know.  I shared this thought and image on Facebook yesterday, and as it does the best to sum up my current thoughts, I will share it here as well. 

For those of you who have never been to the Holocaust museum in DC, I hope you someday have the chance to go and become immersed in the heartbreaking history. There are moments when, as a nation, our willingness to show love and compassion define us. I strongly believe we are at another one of those moments in time.

I am at a loss over some of the hate fear I am seeing on Facebook and other social media outlets.  Usually we go day to day without thinking of where we fit in history, but in these moments, when the world feels on the brink of war, it is hard not to feel the future weight of our decisions, our action or inaction, on the course of history. I hope we can find a way to make the right decisions, to make future generations proud of where we made our stand.


Friday, November 13, 2015

My Newest Book Obsession: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Oh my holy geez.
I read Rainbow Rowell's newest book, Carry On, last week and I CANNOT. HANDLE. THE. LOVE.

Like, seriously.  I am borderline (over the line) obsessed. Do you want to know how bad it's gotten? I have started listening to book playlists. PLAYLISTS!  Of songs that remind people of the book! I am listening to one RIGHT NOW.  And grinning!  Because, I AM ALL IN.

Also, in full disclosure fashion, I am addicted to the random fan art and quotes people are posting on Tumblr. I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. 

So what is Carry On, you ask?  Why am I so obsessed?  WELL LET ME JUST TELL YOU.  Back in 2013 Rowell wrote the book Fangirl, which, for the record, I ALSO totally geeked out over and adored. (Rainbow Rowell holds keys to my heart). In that book, the main character was extremely active in the fandom (NOT OBSESSED) with a Harry Potter like book series about a boy wizard named Simon Snow.  The book Fangirl had excerpts from the "real" Simon Snow series, then also excerpts from the main character's fan fiction, in which she had the main character, Simon Snow, and his arch nemesis Baz (think Draco Malfoy), falling in love. (That's right) I enjoyed the parts of Fangirl when it went into the Simon Snow world, but they weren't my favorite parts. Sometimes I thought it interupted the flow of the main story because I LOVED THAT STORY SO MUCH TOO. I never had any thought of going into the world of Simon Snow, it was just a piece of Fangirl.

THEN I found out that Rainbow Rowell was writing her own take on the Simon Snow story.  This wasn't the original (fictional) eight book series, and it ALSO wasn't the fan fiction written by the main character of Fangirl. This was Rowell's own take on the story.  Her own fan fiction (or original fiction...) of her the made up world inside the world.

It's weird, I know.

Also, sorta confusing to explain.  And honestly I was not at all convinced I would like the story.  It's one thing to have the framework of a Harry Potter like story with two boy wizards falling in love as a backdrop for the Fangirl book, but I wasn't sure it would fly as it's own book. Could Rowell really wrap an entire magical world up in one book? Would it feel forced? Or cliche? How on EARTH could this actually be good?


I love these characters.  I love the world.  I love the flaws and the diversity and the LOVE.  I think of these characters, and an unpreventable grin spreads across my face.  I AM SO ADDICTED TO YOU, SIMON SNOW AND BAZ PITCH  (AND PENNY!  AND EVEN YOU, AGATHA!). 

There is something about this book... I think it may be the combination of the Harry Potter framework with Rowell's ability to write these characters that crawl into my heart... I don't even know.  But it's so so good.  And here is the thing, I don't think you don't need to read Fangirl* to read Carry On, because it is it's very own thing. And that thing is, for lack of a better word, sorta magical.

*Although reading Fangirl is also strongly recommended, if that hasn't already been implied