Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"A Bend in the Road"

One of my favorite authors, Nicholas Sparks always keeps me wanting more. This book was a great read that I never wanted to put down.

Sparks, Nicholas. A Bend in the Road. Nicholas Sparks Enterprises. Warner Books, Inc. New York, NY.

(259/341 pages)

                This book was recommended to me by one of my best friends. I went through the process of watching her read it before I did. I knew it would be a great book, because I saw her fall in love with the characters, just as I have today. This book has very relatable characters. I enjoy reading books with these types of characters because it makes it more fun and easier (while still challenging) to read. This is the type of book that is like a movie in my head, and I never want to put it down. However, this book does have some challenging parts to it.

                Throughout the story the narrator and perspective changes. Unlike Things I Want My Daughters to Know by Elizabeth Noble, it gives you some warning before switching point of views. Because of this, I always have to be aware and ready for a change. This especially makes it hard because you have to adjust while reading to new characters and new ways of viewing certain events. With books like these, you can’t get hooked too much on reading about one character, because it has the tendency to switch when you are least expecting it. Yes it was challenging, but it was also fun because you never had any idea where the author was going to go with it next.

                This book was located in the South. Since I am from the Midwest, it made it hard for me to understand some of the dialect they used. Most of it was understandable, but some of their slang was difficult to interpret. This book was very fun to read, but it was longer. The chapters were long and changed perspectives regularly. This made it hard to adjust to who was talking and I was constantly readjusting.

                The style the book was written in reminded me a lot of Things I Want My Daughters to Know. The style of writing was pretty closely related to one another. Next time I am searching for a book, I am determined to branch out and find something new and totally different than these two books. However, even though the style of this book and “Things….” can be challenging, I really enjoyed reading them and it was fun to challenge myself in a new way.

"Heart of the Matter"

Another great book I read was, Heart of the Matter. My reading experience was like no- other.

Giffin, Emily. Heart of the Matter. St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York. 2010. (368 pages)

Heart of the Matter was a fiction book that involved two characters. These characters were easy to relate to and I enjoyed reading about them; I felt like I was becoming a part of their life. The reason I like to read fiction books versus non-fiction books is that I feel I can relate to the characters. When I read non-fiction books I have trouble picturing and imaging the events in my head, even though they are real, to when I read fiction books that are not real. When I was reading this book, I never wanted to stop or put it down. I felt like I was watching a really good movie and every time I had to stop, I felt really bummed. But when I would start reading again, it was just like I took the “movie” off of pause and pressed play. Within one sentence, I was immediately drawn back in and wanted to keep reading. This is an unusual experience for me because I normally do not like to read. However, when I was reading this book, I actually WANTED to read!

In AP Lang we are supposed to choose challenging books. When I picked this book out, I knew I would enjoy it because I had read three other books by Emily Giffin. I knew this book was going to be enjoyable, because all of the other ones were, but I also thought it would be challenging. The biggest reason I thought it was going to be challenging was because I struggle to sit down and read. I normally have no motivation. However, when I got into this book, I had my motivation. I wanted to know what was going to happen! And in order to find out what was going to happen I had to keep reading!

Some aspects of Heart of the Matter were challenging however, that I did not expect to be. The book was told by two different authors. Every other chapter was told between these two women. Tessa was one of the main female characters.  Tessa’s character was told in first person, limited.  As the reader I could only “hear” what she was thinking and not what anyone was thinking; it was like I was inside of her head. Valerie was the other main female character. Valerie’s character was told in third person. We were outsiders looking in on her life. We could not hear what she was thinking, but we saw all of her actions and were right there living them with her. The switching of characters and point of views was challenging because I had to constantly be aware to whom I was reading about. Between these two characters, there was also the factor of time. Time was told as it went on. A lot of the time we went back and lived the same period of time, but with a different character.

My reading experience with Heart of the Matter was the same as it was with all of Emily Giffin’s other books. I never wanted to put it down nor stop reading. I would highly recommend all of her books to any level of reader, and of all ages. Teenagers and adults will enjoy her book and won’t want to stop reading.

"Things I Want My Daughters to Know"

For APLANG we are asked to read one hundred pages a week in our free-reading books. I had a very good reading experience, and wanted to share my thoughts.

Noble, Elizabeth. Things I Want My Daughters to Know. Harper Collins Books, New York, NY 2008.

 (375 pages)

           This book was more challenging than I had originally anticipated. One thing that made this book especially challenging was that the narrators and point of view changed regularly. Without a page break or chapter change, the speaker would switch. This made it very confusing because the author left it up to the reader in order to figure out who the storyteller was. This got very confusing and it always kept me on my feet. I knew I would have to make sure I was fully paying attention while reading this book, because if I wasn’t, then I knew for sure that I would be lost.

Unlike a lot of the books I have read in the past, this book did not take place in the United States. The characters were located in England. Because they were located in a different country, some of the dialect was different. I understood most of the dialogue, but some of their phrases or slang, as we would call it, was different. I found myself looking up some of these phrases which lead to further learning. I didn’t really like reading a book that was located in a different country because I didn’t have a good mental picture. Because I didn’t have this mental picture, it made it a lot harder to get into the book and make myself actually want to read it.

I enjoyed this book a lot more as I continued to read it. It was very hard to get into and the characters had to grow on me. When I started the book, I didn’t really feel like I could relate to any of the characters, but as the story went on and as we learned more about them, they were easier to like. Throughout the book you got to know the characters better (like you were one-on-one with them) and this made them more relatable. One way the book was challenging to get into was that there weren’t always distinct chapter breaks. And if there were, the chapters were twenty to thirty pages long which made the whole reading process feel like it was lasting a lifetime. But the more I got into the story, the easier and more fun it was to read.

Even though this book was very challenging, I really enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and I felt like I was living with them in their lives. I am glad I decided to challenge myself with this difficult book. It helped me know that I can chose challenging books and like them.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Grandma Jo's Florida House"

When I was three, my grandparents purchased a beach house on an island off the panhandle of Florida. The island is only about a mile wide and about thirty miles long. This island is called St. George Island. Ever since they made that one small (well maybe rather large) purchase, we have never looked back and regretted that decision. I used to call it, “Grandma Jo’s Florida House!”
Every year, we set aside a week for the whole family to go down to the beach house. We named our beach house “Beach Time” because it is literally right across from the Gulf of Mexico. My grandparents, my mom, stepdad, and stepsister, uncle, aunt, two cousins and I all go down for a week in March. It is a great time for us all to have some great family bonding time as well as get in some beach time!
We have been going down to Florida for almost fourteen years now. It is something we all look forward to every year. We normally start the countdown of days January first. Unlike most families, we can all get along under one roof for a week. We play games, eat some great food and spend most of our time at the beach. It is a great opportunity for us to get away from our busy lives and enjoy being together. We make memories that I know will last a lifetime.
Up until two years ago, we used to have another member of our family with us. Her name was Aunt Sue. She was my grandpa’s sister. She was always the life of the party. In 2009 she passed away and going down to Beach Time has not been the same. We always play UNO whenever we are down there. Each of us has a nickname that we use while playing. For instance, mine is “Monkey.” Aunt Sue’s was “The Church Lady!” (From Saturday Night Live) Every time she would win, she would get up and do “The Church Lady Dance.” (If you don’t know what it is, go to and look it up!) Even though she is no longer with us, we still do “The Church Lady Dance” in memory of her.
Everything down at the Florida house holds a special memory of Sue and our family. Without having this house where we all go, we would not have these memories. I am so thankful that we all can be down there together at least once a year (occasionally twice.) My family means so much to me and the fact that I can be with them while enjoying time on the beach is even better!

Halloween Memories

Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. I loved it because you got to dress up and act like someone you weren’t and be someone you weren’t for one night! You got to get all cute (or scary) and go around asking people for FREE candy! It was what every kid lived for! What wasn’t there to love?
I always made sure to be something fun every year. But as I got older, I realized that Halloween wasn’t as much fun anymore. The adults realized that I was older and they weren’t as willing to give me candy anymore. I just felt old. I still loved all of the candy, but I sometimes felt bad taking it. In the past couple of years I have been enjoying staying in the warmth and handing out candy. I just love seeing all of the little kids’ costumes! And the feeling when I open the door to “Trick or Treat!!!” would just light up my heart. However, this year was different. I didn’t get to experience that. I had an all-night show choir practice and didn’t get home in time for the trick-or-treaters.
Halloween just wasn’t the same. I spent all day at school! Yes it was fun because I got to be with my buds, but it didn’t feel like Halloween. However, I made sure not to let Halloween just slip by without celebrating at least a little bit. On the Saturday before Halloween, one of my best friends and I decided we were going to carve pumpkins. We ran to the grocery store and picked some out that we thought looked like good ones. As soon as we got back to her house we got right to work. Normally with my parents, I would just carve out a simple face. However, I was not allowed to do something “simple” at her house. They were known on their street for making out-landish pumpkins. So this is what I attempted. She did the face of cat, and it turned out really well! I attempted to do a design that had three ghosts and the word BOO! It was very challenging, but with the help of her and her mom I got it done and it looked really cool! I mean it should, considering it took me almost three hours to complete! Later, we cooked the seeds (and ate them all) and lit up our fabulous pumpkins! It was super fun!
This past Halloween showed me that Halloween doesn’t always have to be about the candy. It is about making memories. Yes, I have always made memories but this one was even more memorable. It was about having a great time with a great friend and making the most out of a unfortunate situation. It is one that I will always remember! But I still wish I would have gotten to see at least ONE trick-or-treater!


We all have qualities that make each of us unique in a certain way. Some of these qualities are “cute” and some are weird. I am sure I have a lot of “cute” things within my personality, but I also have some weird traits too. One weird trait I have is that I hate it when my food touches.
There are many phobias out in the world such as Closter phobia (fear of tight spaces) and Acrophobia (fear of heights). What is my phobia? Brumotactillophobia: the fear of my food touching. I have never been one to like it when my food mixed. I would always eat my food separately and at different times. However, I wouldn’t mind it if the corners touched a little bit. Now though, any time one dish on my plate touches another, I have to remove it instantly or I will not eat it.
Many people ENJOY mixing their foods together because they like to see what it tastes like all mixed up. My dad has always been one to take a little of this, and a little of that and shove it all into his mouth at once. His philosophy: “Why does it matter how it goes down as long as it gets down? It’s all going to the same place.” This is true, but I can’t stand the taste of many different things all at once. My mom is like me to a certain extent. She doesn’t mind her different types of food touching, but she likes to eat it at separate times.
Recently my Brumotactillophobia has escalated and I have no clear definition on WHY or HOW. I don’t like having this phobia, but there is nothing I can do to shake it. For example, the other night parents of my show choir served us dinner. They give us little plates with dishes that “run”. These plates aren’t big enough so all of the food touches. At one point, my dessert was touching my chicken and I immediately had to remove my dessert from the area. If I would have let it sit any longer, I would not have been able to eat it.  My phobia has become increasingly a problem with my meals that include meat. The other day, my friend’s brother made Jambalaya.  There was shrimp and sausage mixed in rice that had corn and beans in it. I had to eat my meat separately; not with the rice. However, I was stuck and couldn’t remove the corn and beans from the rice since it was all mixed up. This Jambalaya was VERY good, but my fear prevented me from enjoying it to the greatest extent.
Many days I wish I didn’t have this phobia. I have tried to get rid of it, but it always seems to come up. I don’t know WHY I am like this, I just am. My mom is starting to become more alert with this phobia because she is noticing it becoming worse. I don’t think it is really that much of a problem. It is just something that makes me even more unique than I already am. Most people can’t say that they have Brumotactillophobia: the fear of food touching.
For my readers: If you have read any of my past blogs, you know that I like to exaggerate. This blog may be a LITTLE exaggerated, but do know that I really do have this problem.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Irrational Fear #2: Clowns

Another one of my irrational fears: CLOWNS. Why are they so scary?! I think many people would agree with me that clowns are scarier than squirrels. But what makes them so scary to us? Is it the idea of them? The person who is underneath all of the makeup? Or is it just clowns all together? The clothes? The makeup? The balloons? In my opinion, it is EVERYTHING about them.
I know for a fact that I have never liked clowns. My dad didn’t like clowns when he was little and I think his fear rubbed off on me. I remember when I was little, I would watch the television show “NUMB3RS.” There was an episode where they were trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a young girl. As it turned out, she was kidnapped by the CLOWN at her birthday party. From this point on, my fear of clowns was heightened one hundred and ten percent.
For me, everything about a clown is creepy. The thing I do not like most about clowns is that you don’t know WHO is underneath the baggy clothes and the makeup. It could be some creepy man (or woman). We just do not know. I wouldn’t normally talk to someone that struck me as “creepy,” but when they are in the clown outfit, you have no idea whether or not these people are eerie. I like knowing who I am talking to and the type of person I am talking to. When there is a clown around, you have no idea.
Halloween is the worst time to have this fear. “The Clown Costume” is one of the most common and popular costumes out there. Some are friendly, but most are disturbing. People like to dress up as evil clowns, making my fear even worse because I actually think they are evil. I have been attacked and chased by clowns because I made the mistake of making my fear of them noticeable. These people have even gone as far to chase me into a corner, and have made me cry. I have learned not to make my fear of them apparent because if I do, it will just make matters worse, FOR ME.
Clowns started off as friendly people who liked to make kids laugh. Now, we regard them as creepy people who make some kids cry. I can’t even look at a picture of a clown, let alone be around them without getting the Heebee-Geebees. I wish I didn’t have this fear, but I do. One thing is for sure, when I have kids, there will be NO CLOWNS at any of their birthday parties!

Irrational Fear #1: Squirrels

We all have fears. Some of them are legitimate, like getting shot or getting in a car accident. However, a lot of fears are irrational. We all have irrational fears whether we want to admit it or not. My irrational fear is the fear of getting attacked by a squirrel.
I am not sure when this fear of mine started. I think the premiere of “The Even Steven’s Movie” triggered it. This was a Disney Channel Movie that was based on their hit series: “Even Steven.” Here’s the gist: Family vacation to Hawaii gone wrong. To top it off: an evil SQUIRREL chases one of the family members off a cliff!!!!! For me, that scene made ALL squirrels appear to be evil. From that point on, I have had a fear of squirrels that has stuck with me.
Not many people find squirrels to be “scary.” Most people think they are cute and fuzzy. NOT ME. They run fast. They climb up trees in 2.0 seconds. They have little teeth that are sharp. They have claws and could rip your leg off. They are evil little creatures.
My freshman year I was cast in the Children’s Theater as a squirrel. My first thought was, “Is this a joke?! How am I going to do that?!” My director told me to observe squirrels in order for me to learn how to act like them. This was a challenge for me every time I had to get close to them. I was always afraid that they were going to pounce on me and kill me! But somehow, I overcame my fear for a short amount of time and I was a great squirrel! To this day, I still give my director a hard time because he knew about my irrational fear. His response, “I knew you were afraid of them, and I wanted to help you get over that!” Yeah right! It didn’t work. My fear still exists.
Ninety percent of you will think that I am absolutely crazy to think all of this, but it is honestly a fear. Squirrels are EVERYWHERE. There is no escaping them, no matter where you go. There are SO MANY OF THEM. My neighborhood has many of them, and there are many squirrels around school. It is hard for me to constantly be around them but I know that I have to suck up my fear.  The likelihood of me being attacked by a squirrel is slim to none-but it could still happen. Many people have these crazy fears; mine just happens to be about squirrels.