Thursday, November 24, 2011

my book obsession: mrs. dalloway

I'm sure you may have gleaned this from past posts, but I really am a book addict.  I've always said that if anything were to bankrupt me, it wouldn't be clothes, or shoes, or purses, or whatever.  It would be books.  Books are generally the only thing that I don't feel guilty about buying, when really I should.  I mean, I'm not rolling in gold over here.  Really I should be saving up all of my money, but frankly, I can't resist a good book. Or even a book that has the potential to be terrible, but has a really great cover.

But what makes this addiction even worse, is that I buy multiple copies of my favourite books.  Yes. If I'm perusing a used book store (or a non-used bookstore, actually), and I come across a beautiful copy of a book that I already own, I'll buy it.

Case in point: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

These are actually not all of my copies.  One or two of them have disappeared into the abyss of our basement, which is unfortunate, because my favourite copy is missing. It was tiny, and red, with gold-edged pages.  I also included my e-reader version of it, just for fun.  I'll never give up my paper books, but the convenience of my Kobo is awesome.  I don't know about you guys, but I'm really indecisive when it comes to choosing books to bring with me on trips and whatnot, so having hundreds at my disposal wherever I go is pretty cool.  But I digress.

This copy is the oldest one I have.  I think it was printed around 1954.  The cover is unlike any I've ever come across before, so obviously I had to have it.  I love the bright, graphic aspects of it.  All the other covers I've seen are muted in their tones.  So it's cool to have a nice contrast between my versions.  There was a first edition on Ebay for quite some time (it may still be there, for all I know), which I mooned over for a long time.  Unfortunately, $900 for a single book was where I had to draw the line.  I would definitely feel guilty for emptying my bank account for a book I probably could never open for fear of pages tearing or being stained.  A girl can dream though.

I stumbled onto Mrs. Dalloway in high school.  I'm sure I saw it referenced somewhere (it might have been the movie "The Hours"), and thought I'd give it a read.  I immediately fell in love with it -- but that doesn't mean it was easy to get through. There were a lot of times where I'd have to stop, go back, and re-read a passage in order to really understand what was happening.  But there was something about the language of this book that I loved; it had such an incredible flow, even though punctuation was scarce sometimes.  The characters were beautiful and poetic.  Septimus Warren Smith, the Great War veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most inspirational characters for me.  I won't spoil it for you if you haven't read it, but there is some really incredible writing connected with Septimus in particular, and it really sticks with you.

In case any of you are 20th century literature skeptics, just let me tell you that I am too.  There are very few books written after 1900 and before 1970 that I care for particularly.  For me though, Virginia Woolf is one of the major exceptions.  There is something about her writing that is both definitive of the time she is writing in, and transcendent through the decades that followed.  She isn't writing about flappers smoking cigarettes and being overbearingly pretentious (read: the precursor to the hipster).  She's writing about real people and real issues. 

That said, I totally get it if you hate Virginia Woolf too. To each their own.

Monday, November 21, 2011

neither here nor there

Okay. So I will admit I expected November to be a bit crazy.  I did not expect myself to go crazy in November, however.  But I feel like I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and if I'm not behaving like a headless fowl, then I'm dragging myself from one room of the house to the other, knowing full well that I'm being passive aggressive to my very own self.  The production of Christmas Carol that I'm stage managing is drawing dangerously close to show week, the production of James and the Giant Peach that I'm directing (pretty much simultaneously) is off to a booming start, my dog had surgery (to remove that nasty tumor...gross), NaNoWriMo is turning out to be a major fail this year, and on top of that I'm trying to book venues for mine and Luke's wedding next fall, not to mention making appointments for (weeeeee!) gown shopping.  I feel like there was something else that was supposed to be on that list, but I can't remember it right now.

Anyway, I'd like to put up a couple photo posts this week. This post is not really one of them.  I thought, for fun, I'd share some of the inspiration photos that Luke and I have been looking at for wedding-y things.  I promise this isn't going to turn into a wedding blog though.  Although I do love wedding blogs...

You can click to enlarge most of these pictures!

(I would like to point out that while I love craspedia, and also daisies, seeing as they are my favourite flowers, I hate that bouquet on the top right.  But I like the other ones. Especially the last two.)

This my dream bouquet. So pretty. 

I know I should be  crediting these pictures, but frankly...I don't even know where a lot of these came from anymore. And I am too tired to go a-google hunting.

Have a good one guys!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

days six to twelve

I am pleased to report that I only forgot to take a picture for one day -- and really, I didn't forget, I just felt like procrastinating.  You know how it is.  Not to mention I'm desperately trying to get my word count up (I am dismally behind at this point).  

Day Six: Pink
The same friend that bought me the tiny tea set from England, also brought me this adorable journal from Versailles in France.  It's officially become my wedding planning journal.  Yay!

Day Seven: Oversized
My dad's shoes are much too big for me.

Day Eight: Morning
The indistinct gray light of morning.  This picture isn't even something spectacular, but I love it.  I don't know why.

Day Nine: Upside Down
I waited all day for Pip to flip onto his back for this picture. Go figure, it was the one day he didn't do it.  So I ended up having to ask my dad to do downward facing dog, because that's all I could think of.

Day Ten: Reflection
The reflection of my living room in my T.V. A lot cooler than I had anticipated.

Day Eleven: Inside
I was so happy to get to spend the day inside yesterday.  It was cold enough to snow!  Luckily none of it stuck.

Day Twelve: Delicious

Mmmm...cookies and milk.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

a jane eyre proposal

I had every intention to be well on my way to a NaNoWriMo win this week.  I also had every intention to post pictures, wallpapers, and whatever else. And I really do give you my sincerest apologies for blogging my very serious blogging duties.  But you have to forgive me, really, because things have been whacko this week -- and I mean that in the very best way possible.  For, you see, my boyfriend (if you don't know of him, his name is Luke) proposed to me on Saturday.  So as you can imagine, it's gotten busy.  And I thought I'd share the experience with you because it's an exciting event in my life, and I've shared most of the other events that have occurred in the past few months; and I also think it was cute, and more than I could ever have imagined. So here it goes!

The day started with Luke bringing me my favourite Starbucks drink: a pumpkin spice frappuccino.  Actually, my favourite is a pumpkin spice blended creme, but I felt like I needed caffeine that day.  That in and of itself was a warning bell because Luke doesn't really do that.  If we want Starbucks, we go together, and usually it's as part of a trip to Chapters.  Anyway, when he arrived, he not only had my coffee in hand, he also had a bouquet of beautiful yellow mums.

We lingered around my house for a little while, biding some time, before we headed out into the chilly afternoon air for a "surprise".  A surprise that involved "an animal".  Usually I'm good at guessing where Luke is taking me on his surprises, but this time, I had no idea.  All I knew was that it was somewhere we had never been.  Only a short while later, I discovered that he had booked a trail ride -- on horses!  It had been so long since I'd last been on a horse, but it was kind of like riding a bike.  I felt really comfortable (except for the fact that I hadn't worn gloves and my hands were freezing, and also the cloth reins were digging into my fingers in a most unpleasant fashion), and it was really nice.  Although, the horse I rode was a major pest; his name was Bailey.  But he was cute, so I forgive him.

The trail ride was followed up by eating take-out sushi from one of  our favourite local sushi restaurants in the back of his car -- at the park where we had our first kiss.  Cute, right?  I was getting more and more excited, and also more and more nervous.  I was simultaneously sure that the proposal was coming soon (I mean, how was he going to top this amazing day?), but I was also working very hard to keep my head cool.  If he didn't propose, then I didn't want to be disappointed.

Once we had finished eating, Luke assured me that there was one more destination.  This is it, I thought, and I'm pretty sure my hands were getting sweaty with anxiety.  Ohhhh boy.  Don't be an idiot, I kept telling myself.  I had a feeling I knew where we were headed, and it turned out I was right.  We ended up at a golf course, which may seem strange because I don't like golf, and have never golfed in my life, and I don't think Luke is particularly fond of it either.  But it's a special place for us, because we had first decided to embark on this amazing relationship on the green of that golf course, in the dead of night, when a sky full of stars stretched out above us.  He said we were going there to eat dessert.

Instead, he called me out onto the green, pulled out a piece of paper, and read these words:


I have a strange feeling with regard to you, as if I had a string attached to me under my left rib, and you have a similar string attached to you.

Joy, you rare, unearthly thing!  I must have you as my own!  And so I offer you my hand, my heart, and I ask that you pass through life at my side.  You are my equal and my likeness.  Joy, will you marry me?"

I proceeded to cry like a fool, and say in a hoarse scratchy voice (for I was, and still am, slightly sick), "Of course!"

For those of you who may not be familiar, the words he proposed with were an abbreviated version of Mr. Rochester's proposal to Jane in Jane Eyre.  It happens to be my favourite book, and those words happen to make me swoon.  And to hear my own "Mr. Rochester" say those words to me with such feeling and love, was pretty much a dream come true.  No, it was better.  

And now we're starting out on a new journey, and this year is going to be crazy, and intense, and stressful, and wonderful, and full of excitement.  I can't wait for it.  

And it may just be the reason why I don't win NaNoWriMo this year.  But I think I might be okay with that.

Maybe. :)

(And if you want to know what the ring looks like, I've taken a picture.  I feel a little weird about it, but just in case anyone is curious.  You can click the picture to view it larger.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

first five

..Not to be confused with "Fast Five". Har har.  In any case, I've completed the first five days of the 365 day project.  It's still pretty early on (as in, very early on), but I'm enjoying it thus far.  I'm hoping I'm able to commit for an entire year, but if I make it even halfway through, I'll still be proud of myself.  

Day One: Old Faithful

This is a picture of my Bible.  It was my fourteenth birthday present.  It's been highlighted, underlined, doodled in, spilled on, and sprayed with paint.  But it still serves its purpose.

Day Two: Good Things Come in Small Packages

The subject of this picture was supposed to be the tea bag inside the tea cup.  But my mom and I got a little carried away setting up the vignette, and it turned into an entire still life.  Interestingly, until quite recently, I hated still life anything.

Day Three: Pet

He's more than just a pet, really.

Day Four: Portrait

This was supposed to be a serious portrait, but it never works out that way with my dad.  I still love it.

Day Five: Small

I take a lot of pictures of things in my hand, but I liked the way it showed the scale of this tiny tea cup.  My friend brought me back a whole miniature tea set, actually.

Well, there you have it, the first five days.  I'm happy with the results, especially the black and whites.  It's taking all my willpower not to convert everything into black and white, now that I have some really nice Photoshop actions.

NaNoWriMo Update:  I've officially crossed the 10 000 word mark.  It was my hope to get well ahead, since I know I won't be getting a lot of writing done this weekend.  However, I didn't take into account that by Monday, I won't have a buffer anymore.  Oh well...I guess Sunday night and Monday morning will be filled with the scurry of frantically typing fingers!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

happy hallowe'en II + first day of nano

I really love Hallowe'en.  Even after my mom decided she didn't want to decorate and hand out candy anymore, I would decorate the house by myself, and hand out all the candy -- always in costume.  One  year, I was a hideous hunch backed man (actually, it was my Riff Raff costume from a Rocky Horror party in high school, but I didn't expect any of the kids to get the reference).  But my street has grown up, and we pretty much don't get more than ten kids in the whole night, and usually it's less.  So that's why I went over to Luke's new place because their neighbourhood is FULL of kids.  Seventy-seven kids came by!  Yes, we tallied it. There were some real cuties...including a little Green Lantern.  Oh, be still my heart.  I did notice though, that the Hallowe'en spirit seems to be dying. I mean we had at least ten kids show up that weren't even in costume.  I mean, come on.  And there were a lot of kids just wearing cat ears.  It's pretty sad when the person handing out that candy is more dressed up than the kids taking the candy.  Oh well.

I didn't find my Star Trek dress, so I used an H&M dress intead.  I actually like it a lot better, so that worked out well.  Usually I do the beehive, but I branched, and I'm so glad I did.  I love, love, love the flipped out ends, and I think I'm going to have to do that to my hair more often.  It was funny though, as I was trying to tell my mom how to use the curling iron to do the ends, and she just gave me this Look and said, "I know how to do this.  I did this to my own hair every day."  It made me laugh like crazy.  Anyway, Luke didn't really have a costume, so we just made him into a sort of '60s-styled man.  I took the opportunity to test out my new Photoshop CS 5.1 and my new actions to vintage-fy our Hallowe'en shots just for some fun.

We watched Sleepy Hollow while we were handing out candy; I really love that movie. And you would never think it was a '90s movie either.  We also ate way too much chocolate, and also homemade date squares (the first time in my life that I've enjoyed date squares).

Once midnight hit, I was off and running with my NaNoWriMo novel.  It is so much fun not caring at all about what you're writing -- I know that must sound weird, but it's true.  In under an hour I had reached 1248 words, so I still have a bit of writing too, especially if I want to get ahead.  But it was nice to wake up this morning and know that really, I have just under 500 words to go before I hit the daily wordcount.

I'm starting the 365 Days: A Year of Prompts project today.  I've wanted to for months, so I figured November is the time; it's turned into my busiest month of the year.  Maybe that's not a bad thing.  Especially since Luke started working full time, I have a lot of hours to fill.  I'll be posting those pictures in batches of about five to ten.  Wish me luck!