Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book Worm for Life

Y'ALL I have read the BEST books lately! On my flight back from Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon, I chatted about books with my seat mate for at least 30 minutes and I am pumped to have replenished my To-Read list.

In the notes on my fancy, fancy (read: crappy) iPhone I keep a list of books I want to read. Once every couple of weeks I reveal my true nerd self by scanning this list while walking the aisles at the library. The library still instills in me this feeling of excitement that began when I was a little kid. Going to the library with my mom in the summer was the best. In fact, my college library was the only building of which I took photos last weekend at my reunion.

Ramble over.

Some books have lived on this iPhone list for quite some time and I finally snagged one off the dregs at the bottom for my week in PA. 

And oh my goooosh, you need to read it! I have been telling everyone I know about this book, The Language of Flowers by Vannessa Diffenbaugh. My aunt mentioned it a few Christmases ago and I feel that it's very timely that I read it now.

The book takes place in San Francisco and since I was just there a couple of weeks ago, it was fun to imagine all the scenes with a sense of understanding. We all create imaginary scenes as we read, but the sense of fog and the neighborhood feel the author describes is something I personally felt while I was there.

Without giving too much away, the book tells the story of a girl, Victoria, who has spent her whole life in foster care. The woman with whom she lived the longest taught her the Victorian language of flowers, where each flower has a specific meaning. Victoria has always used the language of flowers to send messages, and once she ages out of group homes she begins to use her skills to earn a living and ends up meeting someone who can communicate back.

Of course, I am currently looking up flower dictionaries on Amazon... I totally love this kind of stuff! This book is so intriguing and the author really does a great job of painting the intensity of the scenes.  I highly, highly recommend it!

Tell me what you are reading this summer so I can beef up my list! I've got lots of porch time in my future this season.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sister Sister

Anyone who knows me, especially those who I knew growing up, know my sister and I have a rocky past. 

My mom says Amanda was pissed when they brought me home from the hospital, and it only went downhill from there. We were as different as can be, and a kid I both worshiped her and thought she was an alien. I was so impressed by her older friends, makeup skills and designer clothes. She was always smarter and faster, and never had to try at it. She was naturally graceful and accomplished.

She was the lean to my chunky, the brunette to my blonde and, as the older sister, she was always, always right. So, we fought like crazy, and it tortured my parents. To this day, she's the only person I have ever hit. I spent many nights sobbing in my room because of how much I thought I hated my sister. I would ask my parents, how they had created the two of us, these two very different creatures. For seven consecutive summers, we attended the same camp and no one would believe we were related. We were like oil and water.

She is the person in this world who has received my ugliest, most hurtful words. She is still the person who can make me the angriest. And, in all honestly, the one of whom I am the most critical and the most judgemental. 

I used to think it was so hard because we are so different. In truth, it's because she is a reflection of myself. We share the same parents, the same memories, the same places. It has taken me almost all of my short 27 years to figure out, even though we turned out so differently, we are most definitely sisters.

Now that we have outgrown our camp years, strangers can tell we are related. And so can I. I'm slowing admitting we are more similar than I once knew. Even though it makes me cringe when she wastes plastic bottles and road rages at the Main Line moms, I too can be flippant and quick to anger. While she's intense, I can be too blasé. Our weaknesses are also our strong points. She's intensely loyal, I'm quick to forgive. 

Acknowledging these differences and learning to value my sister and our shared sisterhood is new. I hate to say that, but it's true. I am not proud there have only been a few years of good, sisterly behavior from us. But, I have come to really value the parts of us that are so different. She lectures me on investments, I lecture her on meditation. She tells me I'm a bad driver, I tell her she is a hoarder. 

And I love it. There is no one else I can go to and ask the insane questions that she will answer for me. We can share the strangest moments and shared memories, and she is the only one who will get it.

Because we're sisters. And she is the only one I'll ever have.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Whirlwind in the Foggy City, 1.0

Somehow this little blog o' mine has recently morphed into a travel blog.  Please know, these are not my intentions, just the reality of life.  Not that I'm complaining, but I am not a pro traveler by any means.

True to form, I didn't research too much until the night before I left home. I just knew that no matter what, there was lots of see and I would indefinitely see some of it!

On my first morning, I grabbed some breakfast at the Ferry Building and rented a bike that was definitely not made for a person over four feet fall. (Don't worry, I adjusted it, thank goodness.) If you know me at all, you know I have zero sense of direction. It's truly pathetic.  So, I thoroughly grilled the bike rental man until I was convinced I could follow the almost straight line (The Embarcadero) marked on the map, mounted between my handlebars.  Still I panicked a bit once I hit the city.  Luckily I found some other glaringly obvious tourist types on bikes and sneakily followed them. Those helmeted folk led me to these sweet guys at Pier 39.

Sea lions are not a graceful animal.  But quite entertaining.  And loud.

From there I pedaled down to Fisherman's wharf where I watched triathletes swimming in the bay, with the Golden Gat Bridge in the distance on one side, and Alcatraz on the other.  This may have been my favorite scene of the whole trip. Sadly, I didn't get a good picture!

Ghiradelli Square was near, and it wasn't a long walk towards Lombard Street.  Those hills are no joke, I swear I pulled a muscle in my butt walking them all. I made the mistake of attempting to walk my bike up to the intersection of Lombard. No bueno. It lived for the next hour or so on an unsuspecting street sign.

After traipsing the city a bit, I made my way back to the beach and followed it all the way to the bridge.

Do all these photos look blurry? Well, that is real life people. It was cold and foggy (and rainy) the entire time I was there. The city was totally gorgeous though, all fog included.  I can only imagine how beautiful it would be with a little sun.

The moment I crossed the bridge into Sausalito, the sun showed its face to me! 

Even though I was tempted to hang in the Vitamin D, I took the ferry back to SF and went to see the painted ladies with my dear old friend from high school, Michael. Full House was the ultimate show when I was growing up, so this was a pretty important life moment.

After more wandering, and eating, my poor old body was totally beat. 

Day two is another post!