Things I Loved / Hated This Week #52

I’ve been doing this series for over a year and I’ve realized that I love many more things than I hate — most of the time — and I suppose that’s a good thing, yes? I hope you’ve enjoyed it because I’m going to be doing this for decades, maybe for the next century. Science is fast advancing and I will happily sign myself up for immortality. Think of all the time I’ll have to accomplish my dreams! I’ll climb the pyramids and raft down the Mississippi and finally write the great American novel. Hooray for the future, but we’re not quite there, yet. Onto this week’s post:

LOVE:

The Bell Jar:

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I remember in American Literature we had to read a classic American novel and do a massive essay on it. The Bell Jar was one of the options, but I don’t recall being intrigued by it at all. Instead, I read The Fountainhead, which was massive, but I enjoyed it. I still think about it a lot. I don’t think Howard Roark and I would have gotten on well. I like things to always be grand and opulent in a way I think he would have found repulsive. Back to The Bell Jar, though. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the science and treatment of depression. Along the way, I read about Sylvia Plath shoving her head in an oven and it recalled The Bell Jar to me and a short discussion we’d had in that high school class. Intrigued, I downloaded the book to my iPad. From the moment I started to read the prose, I was blown away; I was astounded actually. I have rarely read something so well done. The novel is crafted beautifully, it’s not sparse, but it’s clear. The descriptors are profound. The pacing is great, the way the story is written is intriguing, and the sense of honesty is alarming. Add in an insane asylum and you have all the ingredients of something I’d love. When I finished the novel the other day, I knew it would forever remain amongst my favorite pieces of literature. (Others are:  Gone with the Wind, The Historian, and Blackwood Farm.)  As I’ve read, I’ve been highlighting various passages that stuck out to me and I worry that I might be a crazy person, too. I don’t want to be. I’ll share them with you.

  • “I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations. If there was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a laboratory jar for me to look at, I’d stop and look so hard I never forgot it.”
  • “Walking has never fazed me. I just set out in the right direction, counting the blocks under my breath.”
  • “I’m not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else.”
  • “I wondered why I couldn’t go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired. Then I wondered why I couldn’t go the whole way doing what I shouldn’t…and this made me even sadder and more tired.”
  • “Marks were really a bit silly anyway, weren’t they, when you knew you’d always get an A?”
  • “The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn’t thought about it.”
  • “If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I’m neurotic as hell.”
  • “I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.”
  • “I decided I would put off the novel until I had gone to Europe and had a lover.”
  • “The reason I hadn’t washed my clothes or my hair was because it seemed so silly.”
  • “I liked the smell of smoke.”
  • “Why did I attract these weird old women?”
  • “For the few little outward successes I may seem to have, there are acres of misgivings and self-doubt.”
  • Then a bit about Sylvia herself:  “It was as if Sylvia couldn’t wait for life to come to her.”
  • “Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing, which remark I guess shows I still don’t have a pure motive (O it’s-such-fun-I-just-can’t-stop-who-cares-if-it’s-published-or-read) about writing. . . I still want to see it finally ritualized in print.” –Sylvia Plath

It’s an astonishingly good novel and I can never recommend it enough.

Purple Hair:

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Ever since Kelly Osbourne dyed her hair lavender, I’ve been desperate to do it myself. I’ve only dyed my hair once, blonde, which everybody hated, but I rather liked. People are so judgemental. Who gives a crap what they think. As the very wise Ms. J. once said, “I don’t give one shake of an arm full of Cartier bracelets what people think of me.” I also wanted to go mint green when Lady Gaga did it; that was so beautiful. Pastels are such fun. I haven’t gotten around to dying my hair, though, since I’m growing it out and plan on donating it in a year or so. (OR SELLING IT ON THE INTERNET. That’s totally a thing, guys, I’m obsessed.) They don’t really like dyed hair, and I don’t much care for the maintenance. But today, I have purple hair. It’s only temporary, but I love it. I feel like the elegant and beautiful Lady Gaga. (Do you remember that episode of The Sarah Silverman Program where she was in blackface and said that she felt like Queen Latifah? It was so wrong, but I need a gif of that moment. Found one!)

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Today, at work, we’re taking the kids to see the new Hunger Games movie and several of us dressed as characters from the series. I chose Caesar Flickerman because he reminds me of Karl Lagerfeld and Graham Norton’s lovechild and because he had PURPLE HAIR. So, I assembled a purple suit out of some oxblood jeans and my custom-made blazer. I added my new sequined shirt and studded shoes and have never felt more gorgeous in my life. That is, until I temporarily dyed my hair purple! I’m beautiful! I’m stunning. I never want the purple to leave me. Seriously thinking of doing it permanently. I need to.

Tom Daley’s Announcement:

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I’m not going to go on and on saying, “I told you!” but, I TOLD YOU! I TOLD ALL YOU BITCHES! Oh, what a glorious day Monday was. Do you remember it? (I’ll never forget it.) Wasn’t it magnificent? Where were you when you watched Tom’s adorable video when he came out? I was in bed, which was proper in case I fainted. I came close, reader, but I was strong and I persevered all the way to the end without swooning. What a great thing to wake up to, and wasn’t he looking particularly dashing? I’m already jealous of whoever his boyfriend is. The Internet is saying it’s Dustin Lance Black, but I don’t know if that’s true. I always hoped that Tom would date older men (24 year olds, like me), but this seems a bit of a stretch as Dustin is 39. Tom’s 19. THE AGE GAP IS #CRAY. I don’t care, though, as long as Tom is happy, we should all be happy for him. It’s quite a relief that one of my three future husbands is at least gay (bi?) in real life. Now I just have to wait for Zac Efron and Zayn Malik. If it can happen once, why can’t the magic happen three times? I’m feeling lucky. I’m also feeling vindicated. I’ve been swooning over Tom since the London Olympics, like everybody else with eyes. I no longer have to feel any shame about my Tom Daley calendar or that wallpaper I had on my phone for the longest time. Hooray for Tom and hooray for the world!

Touch ID on My GOLDEN IPHONE:

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I still haven’t found time to write a loving post on my new GOLDEN IPHONE, but fret not, it’s only a matter of time until I do. I have one other article to do before I write it and I’m hoping to get to that tonight. (Probably not, lol, depression.) The iPhone is everything I thought it would be and it completes me, it’s my soulmate. If I could marry my iPhone, I’d consider it. Why not, though? It brings me such joy. Of all the things that I love about it, and that is an endless list, the thing that I adore the most is the fingerprint reader. I didn’t think an awful lot about this feature before I got the phone — I thought it was cool, but unnecessary. Guys, I can’t live without it now. Who has time to enter a four-digit passcode when the phone will just kiss my fingers and let me in? It’s amazing and works so well. It’s only let me down once. Yesterday, at the grocery store, my fingers were freezing, and it wouldn’t unlock, but I could still type in my password. I assume the temperature had something to do with it. Otherwise, it works flawlessly and I could not be more pleased. If you already have an iPhone, I think this feature alone is worth an upgrade — that and getting a gold one, because the gold is SEXY. Do you have a golden iPhone with fingerprint scanner? No? Sad.

Ghirardelli Brownie Mix:

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I am not the kind of person to ever be enamored by an edible that comes from a box. No thank you! Why would anybody want to eat something that is full of chemicals and horrible things that any normal person can’t pronounce? I certainly don’t. But, the other day at the grocery store, I saw a brownie mix by Ghirardelli and since I love them tremendously, I decided to give it a go. I was dubious when I made them. There was no need to chop chocolate, prepare a double boiler, to line the pan with parchment paper, to brew an espresso, or to sift any cocoa powder. You just mixed the powdery mix together with some oil, water, and an egg and plunked it into the pan. I watched them bake with disdain, sure that they’d be vile and taste like the horrible baked goods you get at most cafés. Well, imagine my alarm when I cut into them and they tasted like the brownies I slave over to make from scratch. (Not quite so good, but perfectly edible.) I’m kind of wounded in my soul that it could be so easy. I’m going to eat a massive amount of brownies when I get back home tonight.

HATE:

Cabaret:

 

I have meant to watch Cabaret for ages and years. The other night, I was in no mood to go to bed, which is terribly unlike me — but I haven’t been myself for awhile now — so I decided to stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching things on my DVR. I even went into the living room that I hate and generally avoid. I was really in a strange mindset! I knew that Cabaret had been a stage play, and that Liza Minelli sang songs in it. Good enough for me. I rarely meet a musical I dislike and anything that the offspring of Judy Garland does is fine by me. So, I popped some popcorn, hopped on the couch, and started the film. After hearing my friend, Robert Osborne (not #jk, TCM follows me on the Twitter), rhapsodize about it for a long spell, I was sure I was in for a good time. Two hours later and I shook my head in wonder that such a film was ever made. It’s a classic, I guess, but one of those classics that don’t merit the designation in my opinion. The story was intriguing, the casting was fine, it was shot beautifully, it had all the right elements of something I’d love, and yet, there was something wrong with the plotting, the film felt endless and lost. If the story had been tightened and really focused more on the characters instead of them just wandering listlessly about, it would have been so much better. All the actors were great, even the creepy emcee, but when the whole thing was brought together, it just crumbled, like cookie dough without egg. Disappointing. I had such high hopes, but I did enjoy the music.

Frugality:

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It has finally come to my attention that it’s time to start pulling back on my shopping and start saving for Europe, which is still a way off, but getting closer each day. (HOORAY FOR EUROPE!) There is so much that I want to see and do this time that I’m there, which sadly can’t be done for nothing. You have to have money in this cruel world.  I don’t mind saving really, it’s kind of fun to see how many thousands of dollars you have in the bank and the feeling of wealth is rather intoxicating. But, if you don’t have a new pair of shoes every week, how are people to know how wealthy you are? I have tried to stop for the past week and I’m doing much better. I’ve only made three spontaneous purchases! (A gorgeous pocket square, an out-0f-print autobiography of Elsa Lanchester, and some temporary hair dye. All of them were necessary!) I’m sure the pain of not buying gorgeous little things will lessen in time, but right now, being frugal hurts. I WANT, NAY, I NEED ALL OF THE THINGS.

Buzzfeed App:

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Buzzfeed is ruining my life. Mind you, I don’t hate the Buzzfeed app at all, I adore it, I just hate that it eats away at all my time. Each night before I go to sleep, I lie to myself and say, “Oh, I’ll just skim through the headlines, maybe read an article or two.” THREE HOURS LATER, I’m squinting at the tiny screen, maniacally giggling over a post about the most important chinchilla on Instagram. I won’t deny being glad that I stayed up to read these irreverent articles, they’re very important, like the Thanksgiving post about why we’re thankful for Zac Efron, yesterday’s genius posts about Tom Daley, the constant posts about kittens, the articles on recipes, the travel ideas, so much wonder and so many gifs! I love gifs. (I DON’T LOVE FLIXELS, because they aren’t a real thing.) Buzzfeed is the best place on the entire Internet and I highly recommend you download the app. Just know that your life won’t ever be the same. It’ll be better, but you’ll be tired.

Winter Blues:

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I’ve written about this before and am sure that I will write about this curse many more times in the future. Human beings were not meant to live in the cold. The fact that we do is ridiculous. Birds fly south; why can’t I? I know that I can pack up and move if I choose, but if I do that, I’ll be even poorer than ever. It’s going to have to happen soon, though, within the next couple of years. I am such a different person in warm weather climates. I feel like my true self. This year’s winter depression is the worst I’ve ever experienced. Every day this week, I have crashed immediately into a nap and don’t wake up until about nine. When I’m up, I don’t feel like doing anything. That’s not the proper verb, though. It’s hard to explain and I don’t think you can understand unless you suffer from it. It’s not that I don’t want to or am unwilling to accomplish things; there seems to be an actual block in my brain, something that refuses to let me accomplish anything at all besides doze and moan. It’s terrible. Of course, then I can’t sleep at night so I wake up late in the mornings and am even more rushed than usual. You can imagine the other effects of this plague. Because I don’t do anything but sleep, my exercise has gone down to nothing. When I weighed myself, I was alarmed to discover that I’ve gained seven pounds. I’m going to be morbidly obese. I’m miserable. Take me to Florida.

Not Growing Up in a City:

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I suppose nobody is ever happy with their lot in life for one reason or the other. Curly haired people wish theirs was straight. The poor wish they were rich. The rich wish they were richer. The fat wish they were thin. The unknown wish they were famed. An endless cycle. I of course wish for several of these things, but a major regret that I have (which I have no control of, mind you) is that I was born and raised in the countryside. It was certainly peaceful and I grew accustomed to having land stretch out for as far as the eye could see, to having quiet, to having a veritable nation of my own. I had a river and woods and fields and an old farmhouse and buildings full of a century’s worth of castoffs. It was absolutely fine, but as I get older I realize that surroundings are very important to who you become. Living in the country meant that I was distanced from people, from culture, from a certain freedom. I wish to Beysus that I had been raised in New York or San Francisco or some massive city. I’m sure I would have absolutely loathed it and longed for the bucolic life I do have, but, c’est la vie. In a city like New York, I could have grown up with the world. Incredible museums and restaurants and people litter the city. Major airports connect you with anyplace you can dream. Subways whisk you from one part of the city to another, each with its own culture and designs. I could have done so much if I’d been a city kid. I like to think that I’d be the more idealized version of myself that I am in my brain. When I lived in Paris, I discovered that person for the first time. This is the way life should be — every new day should be an opportunity to experience something vastly different, every day should be a little adventure. And so, I think I’ll need to move in the near future. Iowa is lovely, but it’s just not for me. It’s never felt like home anyway.

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