Friday, January 30, 2009

vampires, and dragons, and witches... oh my!

i've been reading a LOT ever since i graduated and have rediscovered the freedom of reading for pleasure! if you are at all into fantasy books - and i'm not talking the aliens invade earth kind - then here are some suggestions of the series i've been reading!

1. the twilight series by stephenie meyer: i'm sure you've all heard the hype, but i started reading these books this time last year. they were not nearly as popular as they are now, but i had recommendations from resalin and keely so i read them.... and fell in love. yes, they're about vampires, but they really are more of the romance genre. bella swan moves to forks, washington to live with her dad and falls in with a group of vampires who live as humans (or at least as close as possible) and feed on animal instead of human blood. the series is four books long, and a very easy read. even though it falls in the young adult category, it is not too tweeny for adults to read, and if you haven't yet read them, i highly highly reccomend that you do!

2. the house of night series by p.c. and kristin cast: this is another set of vampire books, also recomended to me by keely. they are more geared to the young adult scene, but if you can get past some of the silly words and phrases, they are an even easier read than the twilight books. so far four of the books are out and the fifth will be out in march i believe. the series is to be nine books long and there is talk of a movie! in the HON books, humans are aware of the vampires existence and they coincide peacefully for the most part. the main character, zoey redbird exhibits exraordinary powers and like aunt mae said in spiderman, "with great power comes great responsibility." zoey is tested and makes many mistakes, but she learns from them and stays focused on the means to a good end.

well enough about vampires... now on to dragons!

3. the inheritance cycle by christopher paolini: the first book in this series, eragon, was made into a movie, but did not do very well, which is no indication of the quality of the book! the author graduated high school at 15 and became a new york times bestseller at 19 with this book. he created an entire new world with humans, elves, dwarves, and dragons... all with their own languages! eragon becomes a dragon rider and is destined to fight against the evil leader of alagaesia. the first two books are easy to read; however, i had a little more trouble with the third. it could have been that so much time passed between reading the second and third that it was difficult to get back into the story, but by the end of brisingr i was ready for the fourth book! if i were you, i'd wait until the fourth is almost ready for release so you can read them back to back.

4. the gemma doyle trilogy by libba bray: another recomendation from keely - are we seeing a pattern? - this series is set in victorian london. gemma doyle has just turned 16 and her entire world changes with the death of her mother and a sudden move from her home in india to london, where she will attend the spence academy for girls. she discovers a magical world through a newfound power and must navigate through these realms and the danger that comes with holding the magic. gemma must also deal with the pressures of being a young lady of good standing in society along with family troubles.

i hope that you do give these books a chance, even if you aren't normally a reader of "fantasy." books on the list to be read are, in no particular order:
1. the blue bloods series by melissa de la cruz
2. his dark materials trilogy by philip pullman
3. enchantment by orson scott card
4. the ender's game series by orson scott card
5. and any suggestions that you might have...

visiting the culhanes... the coldest place on earth

after the last four days visiting deb, steve, conner, lydia, and russel, i have decided that wisconsin is easily the coldest place on earth... people in texas do not even understand the meaning of the word.

steve picked me up after work on monday and then we drove from the milwaukee airport to their town of oconomowok. "it'll be easy for the kids to learn to spell," he said. "every other letter is an O!"

i haven't seen deb and steve since grandpa's memorial service and had never met the kids, but when i walked in they all gave me huge hugs like they'd known me forever. "they're all the same size!"

deb runs a daycare out of their house so we spent the days with all the little rugrats! it was nice to be around kids again after working in the childcare during college. every morning around 8am they came into my room saying "wakey wakey time," as they bounced on my bed. luckily deb had warned me of this so i made sure to go to bed at a decent time!

the visit was even more special because i got to be there for deb's birthday! one night we went out for drinks with the neighborhood girls. at the martini bar "twist n olive" we had titinis because some of the proceeds went to breast cancer awareness! the girls are fun and have insisted i come back during the summer when everyone is out to play with their coolers and cookouts!

on deb's actual birthday, we went to chilis for dinner and then to ron and betty's afterwards for cake. lydia cut the cake with a very long knife and we were a little nervous, but since she's 5, and a "big girl," she of course did a great job!

the kids are absolutely wonderful... funny and energetic! russel sat on my lap pretty much the whole time i was there and deb was shocked because apparently he's not much of a cuddler. we played games, drank wine (only those of us who are of age, of course) and i even got deb addicted to facebook! i will definitely be back once summer hits :)

feliz año nuevo!

new years was quite a bit better than christmas. i don't usually place expectations on this holiday though because then it ends up being a disappointment. this year i knew i'd be working, it was just a matter of where i would be bringing in 2009. fate - or crew scheduling - decided that i would spend the holiday in mexico city, something that i was actually excited about. i worked first class and had one passenger on the way there. he ate and then slept the rest of the way... rough day for me!
my crew was fun and one of the guys was even from my training class. unfortunately it wasn't a long layover so we stayed right by the airport at the camino real hotel and everything around us was closed. that didn't stop us though. we had drinks in my room and then took spots at the lobby bar for the countdown.

the next day was easy too and i was trilingual! of course i used english and spanish, but we also had a french family onboard and i used my french to explain the customs forms to them. it gave me a little more confidence in my ability and maybe after summer i will take the language test!

i hope all of you are having a wonderful year so far and one of my goals is to write in the blog more often, so stay tuned and harass me if it's been a while since my last post!

i'll be home for christmas... if only in my dreams

i realize that christmas was over a month ago, but it hasn't been until now that i've actually felt like discussing it...

let me just cut to the chase. i almost quit my job on christmas day. i actually looked at the flights to get to dallas and tulsa (only about 2 hours from where my grandparents live) and even thought about buying a ticket home. with all the flights full and my conscience repeating "you won't have a job or any form of income and you can not move back home," i decided to go to work like a good little flight attendant and pretend that it was just any other day, which is why most of you didn't get a warm holiday wish from me this year!

i had actually come to terms with not being home for the holidays. "it's part of growing up," my friend keely said. christmas 2008 just wasn't going to happen for me. it didn't exist. i was going to pick up a 5 day trip and turn it into a money-making experience. well our crew website failed me and the window to pick up opened a little late, causing me to miss my oportunity to get that trip. so when i saw the dallas layover i thought, "why not? my mom, resa, and kevin were all on their way to oklahoma and my dad might already be heading to the lease, but kathy is there as well as many other friends." when my mom found out she turned that expedition around and bought a full christmas dinner. hell almost froze over at the thought of judas cooking a meal, much less one so extensive such as christmas dinner.

i woke up at 4am on christmas eve and didn't even mind. i was so excited! not only did i get to be home for christmas eve but i was working a trip with two of my friends and i was first class girl! we only had to do the atlanta turn and then we'd be on our way to dallas. that's where my luck ran out. our captain showed up over 3 hours after we were supposed to take off. stuck in traffic without an apology for us or our extremely delayed passengers. then we had other complications like a 757 that was blocking us and of course the battle of trying to make our way into the overcrowded new york airspace. naturally "they" (crew scheduling/the man) re-crewed the flight from ewr to dfw and the three of us were back where we started the day. christmas eve in jersey.

knowing i'd get an assignment for the next day, i tried calling "them" for a trip that would give me a long dallas layover on the 26. donna who must be from the UK said, "since you're not coming in from a day off you can't pick up a trip. sorry!" needless to say that night was spent at the bar down below partaking in many many libations... spirits to lift my spirits!

i was assigned a trip and it turned out to be a lot of fun. my first time to work a 767 and i was up in first class with two hilarious guys. we had a blast with a new galley theme each day - christmas songs in opera voices, 80s tv show themes, and then of course all things cher!

it was this experience that made me decide i have to have a different job. i grew up with my dad working weekends and many holidays, but i am just not cut out for that. those of us in the customer service industry are just not appreciated enough to make it worth missing out on some of life's greatest moments. i firmly believe that christmas is a season, and even though the actual day was lacking, almost every other day filled me with the spirit. hopefully next year will be different!

dear santa:

resalin, her roommate liz and i went to see the van gogh exhibit at the MOMA. i saw an article about it back in august or september and seeing as he is my favorite artist i decided i just had to go. i bought the tickets as a graduation present to the girls and we wandered the exhibit taking in the thick brush strokes, vivid colors, and unknown details of his exciting life. two particular interesting facts i learned were that he didn't declare himself an artist until the age of 27, which was not as young as it is today. he also was a preacher, amongst other things, before he decided to dabble in art.

we snacked at the art cafe and then made our way towards the next event of the day - santa at macy's!! (of course we decided to stop for an irish coffee first.) resalin had never been to see santa so she was especially excited to sit on his lap!

over breakfast and coffee that morning we created our lists of the "perfect man" even though we all know he doesn't exist. these lists are what we presented to santa that afternoon and he gave us all a big "ho, ho, ho" laugh especially at things like liz's "slightly hairy chest" and my "orders steaks rare/medium rare."

judy does jersey

a miracle took place this december... judy actually got on a plane and flew up to jersey! her visit was in honor of resalin's graduation from the journalism masters program at NYU. friday night we dressed up and hailed a cab to the celebration. oddly enough we found a gypsy limo cab and drove up in style, starting the night off right!

at the J-school we had wine from ironhorse vineyard, owned by the family of one of resalin's classmates and colleagues at the best cellars wine store. after speeches from various people and many pictures, we headed to a little italian restaurant for dinner, and then out afterward for drinks.
judy, resa, and i spent the next day walking around hoboken, nj, where we had some of the best pizza ever! judy said it might even be worth it to fly up for a day just to have that pizza. nothing compares to pizza dough made with the water up here! it was so cold that weekend, but we endured as much as possible to check out the little shops and take pictures overlooking the hudson river and new york skyline. "think of all the dead bodies in there," judy said.

the trip wasn't long enough though and hopefully she'll make it back soon. it's also about time dad made a trip up here... (hint, hint!)