Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book 19-One Hundred Years of Solitude

Meh...so here is my book review for One Hundred Years of Solitude. As you can tell by the start of this review this book did not inspire me. I liked it, I read it pretty quickly, but I have absolutely no passion for this book and therefore I have had little motivation to finish this review. I was also holding off on publishing it becuase I was slowing down the pace of the book reviews for my Goodreads book group The Novel 100. I was trying to keep it to a book a month although I am a super fast reader. Feel free to join my group and Goodreads if you love reading, in particular classic novels.....anyways, back to the book. One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the classic examples of magic realism a genre where fantastic events are described as a part of everyday life I LOVE that genre, but this book took it too far for me. The magical events in this book are not used for a a purpose to convey a meaning or express the authors thoughts on something they are just strange events captures as though they were real. This book is by a South American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez so maybe the book just didn't touch me because it was so far out of the realm of my everyday existence.Not sure what it was, but the talk of family relatives being taken up into the sky and never seen again, a beloved who is preceeded by butterflys whereever he went (actually that was pretty AWESOME actually) and a fantastic journey that a member of the family takes where every one gets shot and taken out of town by train but NOBODY in the entire town remembers it happening are a bit mcuh for me. That being said I read this book quite fast because it was an interesting story and an easy read. The book follows 100 years of the Buendia family with its various Aurelianos Arcadios. If there is a point to this story it is just that we are often alone in solitude, even when we are connected to family and friends. In that way this book is rather sad. As people married, had children and grew, a cycle in the family repeated itself and everyone essentially ended up alone (and some rather tragically). If there weren't a few times in the book where it specifically mentioned the connection to solitude and aloneness I might have missed that it was indeed the point of the book however. Here are a few of the quotes that I liked: "A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground" "Death really did not matter to him but life did" "The search for lost things is hindered by routine habits and that is why it is so difficult to find them" "Both actions had been a mortal struggle between a measureless love and an invincible cowardice and that the irrational fear Amaranta had always had of her own tormented heart trimphed in the end" "She became human in her solitude" Although the book primarily focuses on the various Arcadio's and Aurelianos that the Buendia family creates and passes down through the generations the females in the stories are possibly more tragic than the males. Amaranta mentioned in the quote above was a tragic female who had attracted the love of two men in her life time, but due to her fierce pride would not consent to marry them (one because he chose her sister first). So with all that I would simply say that this book is an engaging read, but not a life changing one for me. It is enjoyable, and I am glad that I now know what everyone is talking about, but beyond that I can't say I am a better person for having read it. I am not even sure I would recommend it to anyone. The next book on the list is The Great Gatsby which I have already read, but may check out again either by movie or audio book to remember what I thought of it before doing a review. The next book I am reading book 21 is To The Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"My love, my love I don't want to go home now" or The God of the Desert Places

So I arrived home, super late from Spokane and it has taken until today (four days later) to actually sit down and write about my crazy adventure home. There are several reasons for this, one being that I was too emotionally raw from some crazy processing that happened on the way home and two being that I spent a few days recovering from being SOOO tired. At any rate here it is, the tail end of my trip to Spokane.
So taking 11+ hours to drive home from Spokane I had to leave super early. I left the hotel by 6am and started my long trip home. I almost ran out of gas in my haste to make as few stops as possible. I calculate gas mileage to a town but failed to remember that miles were 2.4 kms each. Thankfully I discovered this in time and was able to make a quick stop in a town I didn't expect! I also decided no matter how long it set me back I needed to stop in the desert just outside of George, WA a place that has become a spiritual home for me.There is an awfully long story about this but since it is important to why I stopped I will try to be as brief as possible. 8 year ago when I went to visit Deanna I had a mini breakdown that resulted in me surroundering my all to God in frustration only to hear the beautiful comforting words which left me shaking with awe that God was good, and safe...when I had been so sure that he was not. What happened was this I had been to TWU for 4 years learned so much, was filled so much and grew so much that when I returned to my home town of Courtenay I didn't know how to fit the new me into an old environment. I started to get apathetic and tuned out my inner world and got really busy to drown out a part of me that was dying from lack of spiritual food. I was in a dream job as a residential youth outreach worker had money and time to go on a holiday, but right as it came down to crunch time my car broke. I fell into a fairly significant depression, but because I wasn't ready to face it I surrounded myself with people so I wouldn't have to face it. The first part of my epiphany happened when my roomate came home and said, "why is it that you are never alone when I come home?" or something to that affect. I burst into tears and cried for so long. Needless to say my roomate and the friend I had over at the time were a little confused. I tired to explain it as best I could, but in the end I am sure I did a poor job. The next day I stopped, stopped running from God, stopped running from the yucky emotions inside of me and just surrendered. I prayed and gave the trip I was supposed to take to God and finally told Him I would follow him even if it meant being alone and spending sometime at home. I also spent sometime reading the Bible. I turned to passage set out for my by a reading guide I was using at that time and the verse I read just snapped me. The verse is Hosea 2 and the part that leapt off the page for me was a verse about "Therefore I am not going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her" v.14. I had assumed that my shutting out God meant that I had to give up my trip to get back on track. When I read that verse I knew that God was giving it back to me as a gift. The remainder of the verse is about how Hosea's prostitute wife (which is an allegory for Israel) wold chase after her lovers thinking that they had given her food, clothing, shelter and love....God takes away all these things (not to punish her, but to show the depth of love for her and that He would do anything for her to get her back. This verse broke my heart: "I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but forgot me". I couldn't believe that God cared how I felt and wanted me so badly that he woudl literally chase me down. This sounds like a really negative story, but the good news come with the verse I quoted above. God allured me to the desert. He did speak tender words to me. I learned that he coudl be trusted and that even the un-fun stuff was done out of love. The further good news comes from verse 15 and on but for brevity sake I won't go into it. I will just quote the last bit which is "I will show my love to the one called 'not my loved one'. I will say to those called 'not my people' 'you are my people' and they will say, 'You are my God' "
I hit my favorite part of the desert about 7 or 8am. It was so beautiful. The sun was rising over the hills and the air was cool and fresh. i stopped at my favorite rest stop viewing area and walked out towards the river. I saw a little lizard but other than that it was perfectly still. I sat on a rock jutting out near the river and read my bible, and prayed. I was just so thankful that I was there and so thankful that I had that story to remind myself of the faithfulness of God. I was also thankful that God is a God of the present and that He continually speaks. As I left the view area I began to compose a "fairytale version my story in my head. I wanted a way to tell what had happened in a concise way. I seem to have lost the motivation to sit down and write it out like that though so this narrative version is what you get instead. Somehow I think telling it as a fairytale might make it clearer but I've lost the high I had on teh road. I was listening to a CD by Bebo Norman on the way home and was so crushed by the beauty of the words he sang. He has always been a singer who for me speaks so personally and deeply. A song called, "The Middle" came on and I was blown away. I had an epiphany (seems to be my word of the year...). I have been listening to this song, and feeling it resonate in my heart. I had felt I had felt the feeling the song talked about before but I couldn't think when, and I couldn't quite tell what Bebo was going through onlly that I loved it and that it was deep and important. After sitting in the desert I realized that it was EXACTLY the feeling I had felt pre-desert melt down the first time....I WAS running away and yet I wanted so badly to be set free. Here is a link to the song.... I played the CD on repeat belting it out all the way down the I-90...I was just so giddy, that the trip seemed to fly by. I made such good time (impossibly good time I turns out). I got to the border at noon and had a ton of time. I stopped for gas at TWU after crossing in Aldergrove to stop at the Coquitlam IKEA for a friend who needed a dresser. As I hit Trinity I was further overwhelmed by how far I had come since the day I had landed on campus at 18 a broken and significantly damaged girl looking for love, but unable to get it. So much garbage fell away during those years in the furnace of TWU. I was almost weeping as I ran around campus on an adrenaline high. I must have looked like an idiot as I grinned at all the students going to class, secretly yearning to be right back where they were. I posed at every meaningful place I coudl get and used my alumni discount to by stuff at the bookstore. I was just SOOOO high on life. I was mistaken for a student at one point which made me even happier!!!! I continued to listen to Bebo Norman all the way to IKEA singing it at the top of my lungs until I felt like my heart was going to burst from teh sheer joy of it all. I literally ran around IKEA looking for the dresser Esther needed and then got back in my car to go to the ferry. Sadly I had to wait for an additional ferry and completely lost my momentum as the tiredness hit and the adrenaline high crashed. I was still thankful for the day, but it was more of a contemplative high and less of a speedy high. I made it home quite late and then crashed....it has taken four days, but i was finally ready to talk about my experience in the desert. As personal as it was, it is so dear to me I wanted to share it. I hope you can all find some joy and some hope in it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spokane Day 3-The "Miranda" Tour of Spokane

Have I mentioned how much I love this city? I give a huge shout out to my good friend Deanna for playing such an excellent tour guide that I fell in love with this city. Today marks the day that every person I know in this city left town! Deanna and David are on the honeymoon and Scout and Meliss are heading home. I decided to stay an extra day to make it a true adventure. Sunday was the perfect day to spend in the beauitful parks that Spokane boasts. After breakfast I headed down to Waterfront park and wandered around for a bit. I saw the carousel, the garbage eating goat, the gondolas that take you out over the falls (though I never went on it), the clock tower and the crazy structure that looms out over the park (no idea what it is but its pretty). After checking out the clock tower I found a parapet that I could sit on over the river. It was in the shade of a beautiful willow tree and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. One of my relaxing mind images I use when trying to fall asleep is sitting under a willow tree with my feet dangling in a river. What I have relaxing mind images I use to fall asleep....uh yeah....I do!!!!!! I climbed on the parapet and started reading Labyrinth by Kate Mosse a book I had been wanting to buy for awhile but always felt it was too expensive. But apparently on this trip I don't care how much things cost!!! It is a historical mystery set in Carcassone France around the time of a crusade. I JUST love labyrinths and the fact that they were used as a spiritual tool in the early church. One day I will make it to the famous one in the Chartres catherdral.
After my legs started to fall asleep I wandered over to the giant radio flyer slide and headed out of the park. I was starting to get a bit queasy from the heat, even though I was in the shade so I downed a bottle of water on my way back to the hotel. I picked up my car and drove to Manito park which is on the south side of town. I found it fairly easy although I did make one small wrong turn. I found Rockwood Bakery on a small side street by the park. I had lunch and a latte there in the beautiful and cosy bakery. It was thankfully air conditioned so I started to feel better and made my way to the park. Manito pakr is kind of like Beacon hill park for those of you from the Island (although I am sorry to say it 10 times cooler). The park has a duck pond, a Lilac garden, a massive rose garden and a beautiful japanese garden with a koi pond. I drove through the park and just so happened to park by the Koi pond which I had forgotten was there. I was absolutely blown away but how beautiful it was. I stopped there for a bit, took some pictures and read on bench in a beautiful shady corner.
Fairly quickly after I made my way to the rose garden. Despite the extreme heat and lack of shade I looked at every frigging rose in that damn garden trying to find the Miranda rose. My grandma used to have a Miranda rose plant in her garden, and I always thought it was awesome that there was a rose named after me. I paid particular attention to the yellow roses because I seem to remember the flowers being yellow, but I just googled it and it turns out they are pink (so if there was a Miranda rose I may have missed it). I can't even fathom how many roses there are in that garden, but there is a ton. The smell was amazing and the flowers just so beautiful. I can't believe the incredible variety. God is an amazing artist!!!
I started to get queasy again so I laid down in shade next to some french rose bushes that hadn't bloomed yet. Eventually I decided it was time to carry on. I stopped by Ross Dress for less, becuase I can't be in the states without out that store. Unfortunately by this time I had a serious case of the "crankies" mostly due to the insane heat which I don't handle well (give me cold any day and I will be happy bundled under my blanket with tea and a book). I also stopped at Barnes and Noble where I picked up a book of 101 things to do before you die. It is completely ridiculous but I coudln't resist. I have developed a somewhat irrational penchant for lists...this being the third life list book that I bought (and will likely never complete). Finally I made my way back to the hotel to check in yet again to my third room of my stay. The boy from the front desk on my first day was back and we joked around a bit, laughing that I had done this three times. I relaxed for a bit before heading to the Catacombs pub which is my favorite food establishment in Spokane. Their speciality is woodstone fired roasted pizzas with an open fire in the middle of the pub. I sat at the bar so I could watch them cook my pizza (also because I was alone). Thought about ordering an ale to go with my food but realized I would be stuffed after I ate the pizza and s'mores I intended to order. I chose a cashew chicken pizza which was fricking delicious. It had pesto, chicken, feta and cashews on it. Soooo yummy. When I felt moderately full I ordered myself some s'mores which come on a little tray with a tiny little blue flame fire pit of yoru own to roast them. I ate two and roasted the rest of the marshmellows to take the s'mores home. I slowly walked home in the setting sun.
I am now in my hotel room after reading my ridiculous teddy bear mafia mystery novel in the bath. I have a VERY long drive home tomorrow which I am not looking forward to but this trip has definitely been worth it! If you are ever in Spokane feel free to take the Miranda tour of Spokane and tell me what you think. I garauntee you will not be disappointed!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Deanna's Wedding

I love the hotel I am staying in!! I slept much better last night, despite the fact it was loud until about midnight. I am in the arts and entertainment district after all so there was some loud music but I was still up so it didn't matter. I slept in a bit and had breakfast in the Sapphire lounge which is a club by night but a breakfast room by day. This hotel is very classy! Because of a huge wedding party that booked most of the hotel I had to move each night because there wasn't the same type of room available each day. I am in KING suite right now with a couch and love suite and a king size bed. For a girl who still sleeps on a twin I am not sure what I am going to do with all that extra space...but I will love I am sure!
I had a few hours to spare before the wedding so I walked down to my favorite book/ games store Aunties/Uncles. (The book store is Aunties and the games store is Uncles). I dropped a pretty penny in the bookstore and found a ridiculous book called Amberville which is about a teddy bear mafia....I couldn't resist the cheesiness of it all! I was going to head to the Riverfront Park and chill out down there but I saw Boo Radley's and their twin store Atticus and had to shop there too. OH MY WORD!!! I swear I've bought up half of Spokane! Boo Radleys is the great kitschy store that has the craziest things in it. Basically like an adult toy store with gag gifts and funny things. Atticus on the other hand is a pretty home decor store/ coffee and tea shop! I got a ton of stuff there and also coffee and a sandwich. By that time it was time to go to the wedding.
I arrive just on time and waited for the ceremony to start. It was so beautiful. David's pastor officiated the ceremony and it was one of the nicest messages that I have heard in a long time. He ended wiht charges for both of them and one of David's was "Don't geek out Deanna" or something like that and one of Deanna's was "Don't let David geek you out"! They are the cutest couple in the world. The reception was at a really nice school property that was formerly a fort. I decided to take some of the same pictures as the wedding photographer. David and all of his grooms men had on super hero shirts under there suits and they took a fantastic super hero pose that was EPIC!!! The reception was really good too. I got to sit with Deanna and Scout at the head table which was nice. David is a Doctor Who fan so his grooms cake was a Tardis. I LOVED it!!
The reception was an afternoon reception so there was appetizers and it was done in the early evening. Scout and I helped clean up and hung out for part of the night. I am now in my awesome suite, living it up!

Friday, September 9, 2011

My mini Spokane adventure.

AHHHH!!! So this trip has been so jam packed already that this post will probably be really long. For those of you newly joining my blog not only is it a book blog, but I also do a play by play of my various travels all over the world. My friend Deanna from TWU is getting married tomorrow and I managed to swing 4 days off from work to watch her walk down the aisle. Spokane is one of my favorite places in the world for several reasons (one being that Deanna is a very good hostess and showed me her favorite things here which have subsequently become mine). Another reason is that the first time I came to visit Deanna a had a fairly signifcant spiritual experience that has left me with a deep love of the desert (all of them, but particularly) the just outside of Spokane. I'll start with talking about the trip and fill you in a bit when I get to the part about the desert later. The journey to Spokane according to Mapquest takes 11 hours and 45 minutes. I was invited to attend Deanna's Bridal shower at 5PM on friday and was torn about leaving Thursday or trying to get up early and do the whole day on Friday. I waffled back and forth ultimately deciding to just get up uber early Friday. I chatted with my coworker about it on Thursday and they all told me I should leave on Thursday after work. I hadn't packed, hadn't found anyone to look after my fish, hadn't bought a gift for Deanna or something I needed for the shower. I went home deciding I would try to whip it all together and leave if it didn't take too long. I got everything packed and realized after chekcing the ferry schedule that if I left by 6:45 I could catch the 8:15 ferry out of Tswassen and probably get to Bellingham by midnight. This seemed like a good idea to me because it would mean no ferry waits, and most likely no border waits (whereas an early Friday morning departure woudl put me smack dab in the middle of rush hour). Thankfully I had been to Bellingham recently (when Esther and I went to the Tulip Festival) so I knew just where I wanted to stay and booked the room, deposited my fish with my mom and raced for the ferry. I made it with only 5 minutes to spare and got right on the ferry. It was a gorgeous night and I caught the sun setting over the water which was stunning. The border was a less than five minute wait and I made it to Spokane by midnight just like I thought I would. Sadly I was highly caffinated so sleep did not come easy. Also, I seem to have developed a paranoia about bedbugs and kept leaping of bed everytime I itched!!! I am bed bug free and laughing at myself at the moment. Unfortunately despite this hotel being very nice the walls are paper thin and my upstairs neighbours arrived home at 1am and decided to "enjoy each other company" LOL....you know what I mean. I fell asleep at 3:45. I was determined to make a stop in Leavenworth though so I got up ate, showered and hit the road by 9. This journey was also uneventful. I made good time and didn't hit a single traffic jam. I even managed to stop at Wayside church which is the wee-est little church I have ever seen just outside of a small town on highway 2. It is so fricking cute, but hard to spot and kind of scary pulling over on the small shoulder of the highway.
I made it to Leavenworth and figured I had enough time to stop for an hour. I immediately headed to my favorite coffee shop in Leavenworth The Ginger Bread Factory. I had lunch, and coffee. I wandered around downtown Leavenworth stopping at the Hat store....which is not nearly as fun on a solo trip. I felt like an idiot taking photos of myself so I tried on a few things but don't have any photo evidence of it. Sorry folks! I also stopped at the toy store and a really cool hippy clothing/home decor store. I didn't by anything though.
I composed a status about Leavenworth in German while trying to steal a wifi signal but sadly it didn't work. It went somehting like "Auf Weidersehen Leavenworth. Ich liebe dich!!!" I completed the rest of the journey slightly speeding and wound along the Columbia river gorge near my favorite part of the desert. ugh...decided it would take to long to explain my spiritual moment so you will have to ask me over coffee sometime. This part of Washington has little signs next to their crops and I smelled delicious patch of Spearmint, and have discovered that Alfalfa also smells delicious. I drove by some tumbleweeds but was going to fast, to stop and take a series of ridiculous pictures. One day old friend, one day!!!!!! I made it to Spokane around 4 but got lost in the maze of one way streets. I eventually found my hotel (I could tell I was near it but couldn't see it from the road...so I parked and walked until I saw the sign. It is in Downtown Spokane's art district and the majority of the hotel is painted read with nice modern looking lamps and a nice comforter. (I rate hotels on how ugly the comforter is and this one passes the test!!!). My room has art of a Sax player on the wall, and everything so far meets my standards! I am equal distance to all my favorite things in Spokane and within walking distance all my favorite stores. Sunday I will spend sometime doing all those things, but first the wedding.
I went to Deanna's bridal shower which had a fun game where we had to bring underwear and Deanna had to guess who brought what.It was actually really difficult! I stayed for the rehearsal dinner and then went out for coffee with Deanna, Scout and Deanna's sister Melissa who I have conneced with via the internet but never seen in real life until today!!! Tomorrow is the wedding, but I might take a quick walk around the city before heading there!