Month: March 2013

Mar 30

Here Comes The Bride (Through an Archway of Machetes)

Blogging, Fairy Tales, Humor, Personal, Psychological 19

Dearly Beloved,

We are gathered here today so I can make my case for being the Florist/Flower Girl for the online wedding of Lyssa of Psychobabble and Shirtless Ryan Gosling. I used to work in a flower shop, and while they only let me wash buckets and answer phones, I’m TOTALLY QUALIFIED to be an online wedding florist.

People always assume that all little girls get the opportunity to be a flower girl at some point in their lives. I’m here to tell you that THEY ARE WRONG. I was never a flower girl. It’s a travesty. Feast your eyes on 5-year-old me:

I was effing ADORABLE!

I was effing ADORABLE!

Obviously I’m not over this slight. I need this for my mental health and well being, damnit! Let’s begin. Lyssa and Ryan have chosen to have a jungle theme for their botanical elements. This is incredibly lucky, because what I really want to portray in this wedding is RAMPANT FECUNDITY. When couples marry, they are encouraged by society to, in the immortal words of Ross from Friends, “consummate like bunnies.” With this in mind, I have chosen antherium for Lyssa’s bouquet with an orchid boutonierre for Ryan.

Antherium are exceptionally phallic.

Antherium are exceptionally phallic. Oh, yes, Emily? Maid of Honor? You’ll be required to fan Lyssa with the bouquet once she passes it off to you.

And. Well. Orchids are pretty darn suggestive.

And. Well. Orchids are pretty darn suggestive.

In addition to the pornographic florals, I’ve decided to create an extra feature that will not only compliment the theme, but also protect the wedding party from Zombie attack. That’s right. The perimeter of the venue will be surrounded by tiger pits! I will have trenches dug, much in the way one would dig a moat. However, a moat would be USELESS because Zombies DON’T BREATHE and are therefore impervious to water barriers. The pits will be filled with bamboo spikes! Bamboo is the epitome of jungle-ness, and it’s also really sharp. Those spears will impale any marauding herds of the undead while allowing the guests to party unscathed. (There will be retractable walkways so no guests are accidentally impaled… Unless you get REALLY mad at your drunk uncle…)

Instead of tossing rice or blowing bubbles for Lyssa and Ryan’s grand exit, the guests will instead line up and create an archway for the couple to walk through with their party favors. You guessed it! The party favors are MACHETES! A necessity in both the jungle and the Zombie Apocalypse. I can guarantee there’s not a mason jar project on Pinterest that can compete with a freaking machete.

I’m not JUST the florist, remember? I’m also the flower girl, because the universe conspired against me and WASTED my childhood cuteness on ballet lessons. Ugh. Anyway. I’ve chosen the most SPECTACULAR dress, that fits the jungle theme perfectly:

The word you're looking for is "glorious."

The word you’re looking for is “glorious.” You’re also REALLY impressed with my sexy photoshop skills.

I implore you, dear readers, please leave a comment to let Lyssa know that I’m the right choice for all her flower needs! I’m a whirling dervish of flowers, tulle, and general bad-assery. Help me achieve my dreams!

This needs to happen. NEEDS TO!

This needs to happen. NEEDS TO!

Now, Shirtless Ryan Gosling, you may kiss the Flower Girl. Wait, I mean… No. I meant that. I really did.

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Mar 29

So Far? 30 Is AWESOME!

Blogging, Personal 49

Welcome Bookworms, Old and New!

Remember last week how I was freaking out about turning 30? So far, 30 has been kind of awesome. But. First things first. We have a WINNER of the $30 Amazon gift card. Thanks to EVERYONE for your tweets and likes and whatnot. I tallied up the entries and plugged them into a random number generator. The WINNER is… Jen Hartling! Jen is not only a dedicated bookworm, she also writes her own CERTIFIED AWESOME book blog, The Relentless Reader. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Why is 30 rocking my world? LET ME TELL YOU! I took my birthday off of work and my husband took me to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. He earned himself INFINITY brownie points by taking me to MEET A PENGUIN. Not only did he set me up with a penguin encounter (which is a thing they offer… Click HERE if you’re interested) but he arranged it so that we were the only two people in the penguin encounter. They’re typically done in groups of ten, but Jim in all his weasel-y wisdom managed to get us a private meet and greet with penguin #413. (I am certain he spent too much money doing this, but I had THE BEST TIME so I can’t be upset.)

Can you tell I was REALLY excited?!

Can you tell I was REALLY excited?!

The penguins at the Shedd are identified by number, they don’t have individual names (I KNOW!) In my head, Penguin #413 was Josie. Josie was super friendly and curious. She pooped twice, she pecked at my jeans, and she stepped on my galoshes several times. Sometimes she would take a deep breath and puff herself up like a penguin balloon. The trainer claimed Josie was re-setting her feathers, but I think she was just showing off her deep breathing abilities. Also, did you know penguins can sneeze? Yeah. They totally can. She has little nostril thingies on her beak that get clogged with salt from the water and the fishes, so she “sneezes” to clear them. AND! They don’t even have to monitor what they feed the penguins. Josie and her Magellenic counterparts are perfect self regulators. They fatten up temporarily during molting season, but that’s it. When the trainer offered her fish she didn’t want, she just shook her little head. Amazing.

I got to pet Josie!!!!

I got to pet Josie!!!!

I got to pet Josie on her back (which felt a lot like beagle fur- soft yet oily) AND her flipper (which felt very rubbery.) Jim got to pet Josie on the foot (which was speckled and thus impossibly adorable) and the belly.

So fun!!!

So fun!!!

Yeah, so my decade is really starting on an upswing. But that isn’t all. I was FRESHLY PRESSED this week. It’s an enormous honor and I can hardly believe the powers that be at WordPress noticed my little corner of weird, but I’m beyond thrilled by it. THRILLED, I tell you! I think 30 and I are going to get along just fine. (As long as I keep getting carded at the liquor store.)

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Mar 28

And Now I Want To Ride A Bear: Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Uncategorized 36

Splendid Thursday, Bookworms.

Remember back when I read American Gods and I was all “I need more Neil Gaiman in my life?” Well. I made good on my promise to myself. During a Kindle sale I noticed another Gaiman title and snapped it up at a bargain price. This novel? Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman writes for a variety of age groups. Me being me, I paid absolutely no attention to whether or not this was an adult book or a children’s book. Luckily, Gaiman’s whimsy is so delightful it really doesn’t matter.

odd-and-the-frost-giants

Odd and the Frost Giants centers on a young Viking boy named Odd. Odd is aptly named (although in Viking lore the name is meant to be lucky) because he’s the “odd” man out. His father died and his mother remarried a major tool. Also, Odd managed to chop a tree down which landed on his leg and thus needs to use a crutch to get around. I really can’t discuss this book much further without getting spoiler-happy. It’s really short, y’all. So. If you want to avoid spoilers, you can stop reading now.

Is it safe? Good. Okay. So. Odd has had quite enough of his crappy stepfather’s antics and decides to run away. He makes it out to his old hut (because they’re Vikings and they live in huts surrounding the Mead Hall, yo) only to meet up with a weird trio of animals. A bear, a fox, and an eagle follow him home. Odd lets them in, gives them some salmon, and goes to sleep. (I guess Odd figured if the bear had just eaten he wouldn’t be interested in devouring him? I realize I shouldn’t question the judgement of children’s characters, but really, Odd. What would your mother say?)

As it turns out, the animals aren’t REALLY animals. They’re Odin, Thor, and Loki who are trapped in animal form. Which explains why the bear didn’t eat him. They figure all of this out and Odd decides to join them on their quest to get back into their normal bodies.

How is Odin supposed to get his swagger on when he's stuck in the body of a bird, for heaven's sake?

How is Odin supposed to get his swagger on when he’s stuck in the body of a bird, for heaven’s sake?

Oh yeah. And because of Odd’s busted leg slowing down the trio, Thor (who is stuck in the form of a bear) totally lets him ride on his back. I wonder if God-Bears are stinky. Would immortality keep you from smelling like a gross bear? Let’s say that this is the case. Because I would totally ride a bear, if it smelled decent. Who am I kidding? I’d ride a stinky bear too. I’d get a fancy bear saddle and a Viking helmet. Glorious. (I realize this paragraph is probably going to lead to me getting a LOT of hits from people looking for animal porn. Sigh.)

This book was totally entertaining. Norse mythology and all that. It’s for kids, so maybe it’d make for a good chapter book bedtime story for those of you with youngins at home? A nice change of pace from Captain Underpants or what-have-you. So, Bookworms. The question I pose to you is this: if you could ride any wild animal, what would you choose, and why? Bonus points for creativity and stench reduction implements.

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Mar 26

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Recommended Books

Frightening, Historical Fiction, Romance, Tear Jerkers, Top Ten Tuesday 72

Greetings, Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday, and you know what THAT means. No, no, it is not time for tacos. (But dangit, now I want tacos!) It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and The Bookish! Today they’ve asked me to list out the ten books I recommend most often. So. Without further ado…

toptentuesday

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have foisted this series upon countless friends. I love to recommend it because it’s got a little bit of something for everyone. It’s one of those rare finds where I’m confident most of my pals will enjoy it. There are few things as awkward as giving someone a book and hearing they hated it, you know? Outlander has a little sci fi, some historical fiction, a touch of steamy romance novel, and, well, Jamie Fraser. (Siiiigh)

2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling. This is kind of a throwaway answer because it’s not like it’s possible for someone to have never heard of Harry Potter. However. Anyone who seems skeptical about the series? I implore them to read it. Like… I’m sincerely concerned about people who don’t enjoy HP. How can you not like MAGIC and WHIMSY and AWESOMENESS?!

My patronus is a penguin. Demetors don't stand a CHANCE against the impossible cutness... And pecking.

My patronus is a penguin. Demetors don’t stand a CHANCE against the impossible cutness… And pecking.

3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book is amazing and I think everyone should read it. Everyone. I’ve loaned out my copy on multiple occasions. It’s a cautionary tale for the ages, my friends.

4. Pope Joan by Diana Woolfolk Cross. Some of the best historical fiction I’ve ever read. It’s about an accidental lady Pope. Timely, what with a new Pope being elected and all.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Occasionally, people will ask me for recommendations on classics I really enjoyed. I won’t lie, it’s a long ass book, but it’s totally worth the read. If you’re familiar with the musical already, it gives you a great back story on Fantine, which is fabulous. Oh and did you know that Gavroche and Eponine are siblings? I know. I. KNOW! Crazy right? You need to read this.

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Cosette is still little more than a plot catalyst, though.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I try to get people to read this all the time. It’s another one of those that I’ve found is almost universally appealing. This one, of course, requires you to have an entire box of tissues on hand as you engage in the catharsis of bawling your eyes out. Worth it.

7. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This book tells the most incredible love story. Miller did such a great job of drawing her characters’ personalities that you get completely engrossed in their love story. You follow Achilles and Patroclus from childhood and watch their relationship grow and mature. Just beautiful. And yeah. It’s about two dudes. Which is a nice change of pace from what I normally read, you know? (You probably need tissues for this one too.)

8. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It’s just really well drawn historical fiction. I love it to pieces. It’s another chunkster, but it moves fast. Don’t be intimidated by its length, you’ll enjoy yourself! (And then you’ll be really grateful that you have indoor plumbing and floors that aren’t dirt and stuff, because the Middle Ages were DIRTY, y’all.)

Starz did a mini series based on the book. Eddie Redmayne played Jack. You're welcome. (Image from Oprah.com)

Starz did a mini series based on the book. Eddie Redmayne played Jack. You’re welcome. (Image from Oprah.com)

9. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. No, having seen the movie is NOT the same thing. Not at all. It leaves out Scarlett’s first two children, for heaven’s sake! (That’s really not a spoiler, they aren’t major plot points, and the fact that they aren’t makes Scarlett all the more Scarlett-y.)

10. World War Z by Max Brooks. I don’t read a whole lot of zombie literature, but I thought this book rocked in a big way. I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead (TV series, I haven’t read the comics) so the zombie lore intrigues me. I thought this book gave an awesome and realistic account of how a zombie apocalypse might go down. You’ll probably have nightmares. Fair warning.

There we are- ten books I recommend to people on the regular. What are some of your favorite titles to pass around?

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Mar 25

Road Tripping with Swamplandia!

Art, Audio Books 21

Hello my Beautiful Bookworms!

Thank you ALL for the fabulous birthday wishes and making me want to eat ALL THE CAKE. You’ve still got a few days to enter the giveaway, so be sure to enter for $30 Amazon bucks- international entries welcome! Also, I’ve guest posted today on my friend Chrissy’s site. If you’re so inclined, I encourage you to check it out.

Last weekend, I took a trip to attend my “nephew’s” birthday party. When I take a long drive, I like to listen to books on tape. They keep me alert better than listening to music, plus, I mean, BOOKS. I took this trip with a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!

swamplandia

Are you aware that Florida boasts the most oddball theme parks per capita in the world? I may have made up that statistic, but I think I could be right. Swamplandia! is the account of a fictional family owned theme park on an island off the coast of Florida, known as (appropriately) Swamplandia. The Bigtree family is a “tribe” of alligator wrestlers. They renamed themselves “Bigtree” to sound more native, but their clan originated in Ohio. As PT Barnum would tell you, there’s a sucker born every minute. People believe what they want to believe, so if they prefer to think of alligator wrestlers as endowed with magical Native American gator charming talents, the Bigtrees are happy to oblige their delusions.

The family alligator wrestling matches are only one of the attractions. The main event is watching the family matriarch, Hilola Bigtree, dive into the gator pit and swim through unscathed. It’s a fantastic spectacle and crowd favorite. The gators are all referred to as “Seth,” I’m assuming, because “Sawtooth” was already taken. (No, they never really explained why they chose Seth. But yes, Grandpa was named Sawtooth.) Sadly, as we learn about Swamplandia’s glory days, we also learn of its demise.

Hilola Bigtree, headliner and matriarch, falls victim to cancer. Grandpa Sawtooth falls victim to Alzheimer’s. Chief Bigtree falls victim to his pride. Young Osceola falls victim to obsession. Kiwi falls victim to his limited home-school education. Ava, our 14 year old protagonist, falls victim to everyone else’s bad decisions.

Image courtesy of genius book blogger and generous soul Andi of Estella's Revenge.

Image courtesy of genius book blogger and generous soul Andi of Estella’s Revenge.

So. What did I think? I’ve got mixed feelings on this novel. On the one hand, I LOVED the language. The writing was gorgeous, and the actors reading the audio book were fantastic. That said, I think sometimes the story fell by the wayside so the language could shine. Some people wouldn’t be bothered by this, but as you know, I’m a story girl. I felt parts of the novel were more drawn out than necessary (particularly Louis Thanksgiving’s extremely detailed back story…) On the upside, I now have a fantastically vivid mental image of Florida’s swamplands. Overall, the prose reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism, only set in North America. With alligators and stuff. Also a theme park based on Hell. Complete with saltwater drinking fountains. (Kudos for imagination!)

For reasons I will not disclose to you, as they might be considered “spoilers,” a red gator makes an appearance in this novel. I really wanted to know if such a thing existed in nature. As it turns out, they’re not really a thing. Which means, of course, that there aren’t a whole lot of readily available images (unless you happen to email a cool blogger like Andi and she lets you borrow her stuff.) I actually thought it might be a good idea to try and make my own art! I convinced Lauren of Filing Jointly…Finally to help me with the project and… well… This happened:

I drew a really horrible alligator.

I drew a really horrible alligator and embellished it with a voice bubble for extreme fierceness.

And then Lauren drew an alligator who thinks he's a stegosaurus.

And then Lauren drew an alligator who thinks he’s a stegosaurus. (Which, in spite of its dino-ness is infinitely better executed than my doodle…)

And now we know why Katie and Lauren don’t have promising futures in the lucrative world of alligator caricatures. Luckily, there’s not much of a market for that sort of thing in Illinois. It’s really the deer and skunk caricature niche that’s our bread and butter, so. You know. It’s cool.

Have any of you read Swamplandia!? What did you think? Did it spur you to do anything unusual, say, sketch a species-confused alligator? Tell me about it!

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Mar 22

My Birthday, Your Presents

Personal 84

Hey There Bookworms,

Today I turn 30 years old. I say “today” even though technically I’m writing this in the evening on March 21st. By the time this posts, I will already be 30. Though I made my entrance into this world at 4:02 am, I don’t make it a habit to either a. get up that early or b. stay up that late. So. I’m 30. More or less.

How do I feel about this? Not great. I really didn’t think turning 30 would be a big deal to me, but I’m kind of freaking out. I STILL don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. As you can see, my initial career ambition didn’t exactly work out…

But you know. Life happens. Thighs happen. You improvise. So. I am 30. And I have a choice. I can continue to wallow and mourn my lost youth, OR I can CELEBRATE! Guess who’s celebrating and looked freaking adorable in a tutu at 5? THIS GIRL!

There will be cake. Oh yes, there will be cake.

There will be cake. Oh yes, there will be cake.

I may not be able to send cake to each and every one of you GORGEOUS bookworms, but I can sponsor a giveaway. This giveaway is open to EVERYONE (except people from North Dakota. Just kidding. I love you, North Dakota.) I am giving away an Amazon gift card in the amount of… THIRTY DOLLARS! (Because I’m 30, see?) Anyway, since it’s an Amazon gift card, anybody with an email address is eligible to win. International entries are totally welcome (just like I promised, Rhian. Tell your Aussie pals.)

You can enter by:

1. Leaving a comment on this blog telling me what your favorite kind of cake is (anyone who says they don’t like cake is disqualified. Lie to me y’all. It’s my birthday!)

2. “Like” my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WordsForWorms

3. Follow me on Twitter: @KatieBelle1121

4. Share this blog post with your Facebook Friends

5. Tweet this post

That’s five potential entries! I’ll choose a winner one week from today. Wahoo 30!

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Mar 19

Top Ten Tuesday: The Shelf of Shame

Classics, Historical Fiction, Top Ten Tuesday 295

Greetings, Bookworms!

You know when you’re in a bookstore, browsing, and you get sucked in by picking up a title in the bargain bin? How about when you have grand intentions of bettering yourself and pick up a pile o’ classics only to watch them collect dust on your shelves? We’ve all got the shelf of shame. And the ladies at the Broke and the Bookish? They want us to own up to it. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday: Stuff I Bought But Never Read.

toptentuesday1. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I get self important and think that I will be able to appreciate even the most highbrow of classics. That’s when I buy things like Madame Bovary and then watch them moulder on my shelves for an eternity. I mean, I SHOULD like this. A doctor’s wife has adulterous affairs? I mean, hello Anna Karenina. How’s it going, Lady Chatterley? Why did I never get down with Madame Bovary? No idea.

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This is always on smart people’s lists of favorite books. I’m highly susceptible to peer pressure whilst making decisions inside the Barnes and Noble… Amazon doesn’t judge me the way a hipster cashier would!

3. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I bought this because Tess of the d’Urbervilles was so fantastic. However… The lack of female main character and/or the really unappealing portrait of what I assume to be the “mayor” on the cover has kept me from actually bending the spine of this one.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I really do want to read this… It’s just so THICK. I’m not easily intimidated by big books, but this sucker is the size of Les Miserables, but lacks a magnificent soundtrack to play in my head… And no Gavroche.

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The Classics… Of Shame.

5. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig. It’s historical fiction with a pretty cover. I couldn’t be expected to resist the purchase, and yet… Still unread.

6. Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer. It’s historical fiction about, uh, Shakespeare’s wife. You know. Anne Hathaway. The one that didn’t win an Oscar. I found it in a bargain bin. I really loved the movie Shakespeare in Love, so perhaps I just don’t want to hear the sad tale of the wife who was left behind when the dashing Joseph Fiennes fell for a not-yet-openly-pretentious Gwyneth Paltrow. Siiigh.

7. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. I bought this because it’s historical fiction. I’ve been putting off reading it because it’s about a Victorian era murderer. I’m not big on crime novels, even historical ones. I frequently question my bargain bin judgement.

You can see the bargain stickers!

You can see the bargain stickers!

8. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. I bought this with Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant because I thought they sounded smart and fabulous. I read Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant and didn’t love it, so I didn’t bother with the other one on the shelf.

9. A Taxonomy of Barnacles by Galt Niederhoffer. Yeah. I bought this solely for the AWESOME title. I didn’t even read the abstract. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Who knows?

10. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. There was an Oprah sticker, and I am not immune to the influence of The Oprah. I don’t know why I haven’t read it. STOP JUDGING ME, OPRAH!

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Haven’t read these. Scandalous.

Alright, Bookworms. You know you’ve got some of these bad boys on your shelves. I want to hear about them so I don’t feel so alone. Spill it!

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Mar 18

Emotions: This Book Will Make You Feel Every Last One (by Anna Quindlen)

Family, Psychological, Tear Jerkers 48

Hey Bookworms,

It’s Monday, so let’s wallow in our collective case of the Mondays, shall we? I’ve got the perfect book to put you in the appropriate mood. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen will make you feel ALL THE FEELINGS.

Mary Beth Latham is a landscape designer and mother of three. She and her husband live an upper middle class life in an upper middle class suburb and have upper middle class problems. Their beautiful teenage daughter Ruby had a bout with an eating disorder, but seems to be recovering well. Though Mary Beth worries about Ruby leaving for college in a year, she’s proud of her remarkable girl. The twin boys pose a bit of a challenge, but they’re at an age when you’d expect them to be complicated. Alex is a soccer star and popular in school. His fraternal twin brother Max, on the other hand, is withdrawn and depressed. But, you know. What’s a little teen angst between twins? Nothing a little cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication can’t help with. After their experience with Ruby, the Lathams take Max’s suffering seriously.

everylastone

To add to this little dramatic suburban slurry, Ruby has recently dumped her boyfriend Kiernan, which has been tough on the whole family. He’s been a fixture in their lives since he was a small child. Kiernan’s family makes the Lathams look like the Waltons, so he was extraordinary attached their “happy” family. Kiernan is heartbroken. Ruby feels guilty. Everyone is hurting. It’s a recipe for a highly rated TV drama, don’t you think?

 

And then… Tragedy strikes. Serious horrible nightmarish tragedy. Your heart will break. You will cry. A lot, probably. I did. Telling you what happens would ruin the book for you, and I gave up massive spoilers for Lent. I will tell you that I didn’t see it coming, and that it hit me like a punch in the gut.

This is going to sound a little masochistic, but the way this book bites into the reader… It’s a good pain. Even if it scars your psyche, a book that can make you FEEL this much is worth the read. It reminds you of how trivial every day annoyances in life can seem when you’re confronted with true unimaginable horror. I definitely recommend this book, but with the caveat that it WILL be a difficult read, emotionally. If you’re in a vulnerable place, it might be a good idea to pass on this one. At least for the time being.

traumapaperback

In solidarity, let us all lament this Monday with our own tales of traumatic reads. What are some of your favorites, bookworms?

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Mar 15

Beware the Ides of March: A Letter to My "Nephew" on his Fifth Birthday

Children's Fiction, Family, Personal 10

Dear Jack,

The first letter I ever wrote to you, I addressed to “Fetus.” You see, you were just a little ball of cells multiplying in your mommy’s tummy. Like most of the very best presents, you came as a surprise, but it didn’t take long for the excitement to set in. I started buying you penguin pajamas before you were even born!

See those books? You won't be able to escape them. Muahahahaha!

See those books? You won’t be able to escape them. Muahahahaha!

I talked to your mom a few hours after you were born. The first sound I ever heard you make was a hiccup! It was the most adorable hiccup I’ve ever heard in my life. When you were a few weeks old, I drove to Cincinnati to meet you.

"Hello, sir. I'm your Aunt Katie. I love you already!"

“Hello, sir. I’m your Aunt Katie. I love you already!”

I wouldn’t have minded if you stayed that small forever. You were so tiny and perfect. But, as you know, the thing kids do best is GROW.

And so you grew…

And grew...

You don’t typically find me this dull…

AND GREW….

Your mommy probably doesn't want you to know this, but she TOTALLY cried when she lit the candle on your cake.

Your mommy probably doesn’t want you to know this, but she TOTALLY cried when she lit the candle on your cake.

AND GREW…

You walked down the aisle in my wedding like such a grown up little man.

You walked down the aisle in my wedding like such a grown up little man.

BUT YOU JUST KEPT GROWING!

I wish I could say that I taught you how to bowl, but Carter beat me that day...

I wish I could say that I taught you how to bowl, but Carter (who was three) beat me that day…

AND GROWING…

And now you're GIGANTIC!

And now you’re GIGANTIC!

When your mommy was waiting around for you to be born, I remember telling her that it would be fabulous if you were born on March 15th because every year I’d get to make a Julius Caesar joke on your birthday. You must have known how much I love literary jokes, because sure enough, you made your appearance on March 15th. Beware the Ides of March, indeed. The world will never be the same. Love you, Bubby.

XOXO,

Aunt Katie

P.S. I’ll be there soon! With presents!

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Mar 14

The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened To Me… While I Wasn't There

Blogging, Friendship, Humor, Memoirs, Personal 39

How are all the Bookworms out there doing today?

Not so great? Well. I have something wonderful that will be sure to cheer you up. You’ve met my friend Chrissy before, haven’t you? In my more philosophical moments, I like to think that there’s a grand plan behind the way things work. There are people that are meant to be in your life, and it’s weird, because once you meet them, it feels like you’re already acquainted. I like to refer to Chrissy as my “butter churning sister from a past life,” because, you know, if we DID live lives before this one, we probably would have had to churn our own butter. I tell you this so you understand that she’s got a special place in my heart, and she had that WAY PRIOR to this story. (“Can’t Buy Me Love” and all that. The Beatles are always right.)

Remember once upon a time when I reviewed Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, otherwise known as The Great and Powerful Bloggess? If you need to take a break and catch up, I’ll wait. You’re back? Wonderful. Suffice it to say that I’m a fan. I mean, Beyonce the giant metal chicken? The traveling red dress? She is a thousand kinds of awesome plus whipped cream plus a wine slushie and an order of fried pickles on the side.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was released in paperback recently (I own a Kindle copy of the original release) and to celebrate, The Great and Powerful Bloggess went on a book tour. One of the stops on the tour was in Chicagoland, which was fantastic news for Chrissy. It would have been great news for me too, but the event was on a Thursday. I had to work the following Friday, so making a 4 hour round trip journey wasn’t in the cards for me. Chrissy, of course, decided to go, and I was super excited for her and more than a tiny bit jealous. In fact, while she was waiting for the event to start, I did what anyone would do… I took a pathetic selfie and texted it to her so she’d feel guilty that I was missing out on the fun. Oh yeah. I’m THAT friend.

That's my best puppy dog face. I only bust it out for serious guilt trips... And the occasional foot massage.

That’s my best puppy dog face. I only bust it out for serious guilt trips… And the occasional foot massage.

I got home from a ho-hum day to find a surprise package on my doorstep. I was most pleased to see that the return address was from Chrissy. I assumed she’d located a package of deeply discounted penguin greeting cards, or perhaps a thrift store Harlequin romance novel. I was FLABBERGASTED and DELIGHTED and OVERJOYED to find an autographed copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (with bonus chapter!) Chrissy used a few moments of her precious Bloggess face time to get ME a birthday gift! (I’m about to turn 30. It’s… Well. It is what it is. Presents take the edge off.)

Now, Chrissy can tell you her version of this story (I highly recommend you click HERE to read it), but the gist of it is this: Chrissy showed the Bloggess my selfie. The Bloggess KNOWS I EXIST! AND! She thinks I’m cute! Just read the inscription!

Can you hear me squealing through the computer?! It's so LOUD!

Can you hear me squealing through the computer?! It’s so LOUD!

Chrissy also inscribed her own message, of course. She likes to prove me wrong, see? I don’t like to write in books I give as gifts just in case the recipient decides to pass it on to someone else one day. (I’m not saying this happened, but MAYBE, just MAYBE at some point in my life I was the owner of a pocket sized illustrated version of the Kama Sutra… And said pocket sized edition would have made an excellent saucy bachelorette party gift, but my re-gifting attempt was THWARTED by a personalized inscription…That COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL situation would be totally frustrating, right?) Chrissy’s inscription basically told me that I’d probably hang on to this book. She always has to win, you know?!

Isn’t that the sweetest?! Couldn’t this story have ended RIGHT THERE and been the best thing ever? It could have, but it DIDN’T! Because Jenny Lawson is so super fantastic, she posed for a picture with Chrissy, putting her arm around an invisible ME. And Chrissy, having somehow learned how to photoshop things in a surprisingly respectable manner made me THIS:

Just let the awesomeness sink in for a minute...

Just let the awesomeness sink in for a minute… And do not question why I’m wearing a bridesmaid dress to a book signing.

It’s like I was actually there, only better. It’s better because my friend cared enough about me to blather incoherently to a famous person on my behalf. It’s better because Jenny has an incredible sense of humor and went along with the shenanigans. It’s the BEST because now I have my favorite thing in the world (a book) written by one of the people I admire most (The Bloggess) from one of my favorite people in the universe (including, but not limited to, all potential past lives.) And that, Bookworms, is how a book can be more than just a book.

Anybody out there have a story about a book inscription they’d like to share? I know not everyone’s story will be so full of superlatives and SHOUTY CAPITALS, but I’d love to hear them. Tell me something good, Worms.

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