Deep in the Stacks

Autumn has fallen upon our fair city and I couldn’t be happier! September is an incredibly magical time full of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, neatly organized school supplies, boots and chunky sweaters. I must admit that seeing all the schools back in session and watching all the kids hopping on buses early in the morning does make me long for simpler times when all you had to worry about was who you would be assigned to sit next to for the year! Oh 6th grade…the emotional and sociological fallout that occurred when you had to sit next to the wrong person during math class could be dissected for years!

 
Every September makes me realize how much I miss school. And more specifically with Football season kicking off, I really REALLY miss college days. Moving into the dorms, rushing, staying up all night finishing that paper that is due tomorrow morning, cheering on our football team from the bleachers (while sipping on beer that we snuck in somehow!) I cherish these memories. I treasure all the times I spent in all the different campus libraries and poured through “original sources”. So as an homage to BACK-TO-SCHOOL – I’ve decided to make a bucket list of the world’s most beautiful libraries that I must visit before I shed this mortal coil. I could definitely get lost in these stacks for weeks at a time!

Suzzalo Library, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Iowa State Capital Law Library

The University Club Library, New York USA

Canadian Library of Parliament, Ottawa Canada

Jose Vasconcelos Library, Mexico City, Mexico

National Library of Moldova

Strahov Theological Hall, Prague, Czech Republic

 

Lost in Austen

On rain filled weekends like this past one, I can’t think of anything better than sipping on a hot cup of tea and watching all my favorite Austen movies. Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion etc. Each and every one a priceless jewel. But this weekend was different. I decided to read one of Austen’s most classic and revered novels, Pride & Prejudice. Getting lost into the world of country entails, balls, phaeton’s, and corsets was magical and a dream. And I had never really appreciated what a witty writer Austen was. I had always taken her to be nothing but fluff (which it is – her novels are the equivalent to modern-day romance novels) but still. She is the master of the slow burn, starting off her scenes with all the inferences of delicacy and then spinning her characters headlong  into shocking  behavior! OH MY!!  I enjoyed my time in Meryton and Derbyshire so much that it was a bittersweet parting when I reached the last page. But then again there’s always next weekend right? Perfect ending to the perfect weekend.

Lenten Promises

I’ve decided that Lent is kind of like your second chance at a New Years resolution. First off, I’m not a big fan of NY’s resolutions. Of course, I appreciate the sentiment of wanting to “turn this year around” but on the whole, there is so much pressure and expectations put on NY’s resolutions that they inevitably fall by the wayside. I’ve decided that I’m going to use the Lenten kick-off to reinforce all those crippling and emaciated resolutions and give them a second chance at redemption. Sure, I’m not Catholic. HELL! I’m not even religious. But there is something very cyclical about preparing for the start of spring that anyone can appreciate…even ME!

Another thing I'm determined to do is start planning out all my meals

However while most devout Catholics gave up meat or donuts last week, I decided to take a different route. I decided to look deep within myself and use the next 40 days as a way to revitalize my mind, body and spirit in a way that will prepare me for the birth of spring. I’ve decided that the thing I’m going to be giving up for Lent is negative self-indulgence. I know that this concept might be a little bit vague, but for me I know exactly what this means. For the past couple of months now, I’ve felt like I’ve been doing everything in excess. I’ve been living large, partying large, spending large. Basically in all facets of my life I’ve been taking everything to the extreme. I’m so done with it. Now is a time to cut back and strip down everything to the bare essentials. The period of immoderation is over and I’m at a point where I can recognize just how much it is holding me back. I spend way too much money on things I don’t need, I come straight home and do nothing but watch TV, when I go out with Friends its always to the same places.  I’m soooo sick of all of it.

For the next 40 days I’ve decided to treat myself the way I would treat anyone else around me. With respect and delicacy. I’ve made a list of all the things I’d like to change in my every day life. All the things that if I could that I feel would make me a new person inside and out. I need to start preparing myself for spring. This has been quite the long and intense winter. I’m ready to step out of the darkness and into the light, but not like this. I need a makeover before I’m ready to greet Spring. And this is going to be a complete makeover. Like Cher from Clueless says, “I need to makeover my soul”.

My reading material for the next 40 days...

Some of the things I’ve decided that I’m going to tackle over these 40 days and 40 nights is revitalizing my mind, my spirit, my body and my heart. I’ve decided that I’m going to start reading more. And not just trite fiction, but something that will feed me intellectually. So far I’ve been reading a very interesting biography on Abraham Lincoln. I’ve only just started it – but I’m continually surprised at how little I knew of our most beloved (Sorry John Quincy) President. After I tackle the story of Abe’s life, I think my next book will be about a strong kick ass woman. Maybe Alice Paul or Juliette Gordon Low.

As for my spirit, I’ve decided to start journaling more. I’m not so much of a meditator, but the process of writing out my thoughts, feelings and observations not only helps clear my mind, but it also makes me look wicked smart in a coffee shop. DONE! As for my physical makeover, well…I could write bibles worth of things that I’d like to change. But for the most immediate I’ve decided that I’m going to start cooking more of my meals. I’ve gotten into a horrible habit of buying lunches and dinner way too much. I need to focus more on knowing what I’m eating, and taking the time to prepare all of my meals. Sure – its so easy to fall into the easy and familiar pattern of ordering out, but in the end – I’m poorer and less happy.

Thursday Nights Event!

One of the other things that I’ve decided to do is to stop the disgusting habit of going straight home and laying in front of the couch for the rest of the night. I hate that I do that, and more than anything – I HATE that I LOVE to do that! Lately I’ve been looking at blogs and websites and figuring out cool and fun things to do in this city after I get off work. Last Thursday my girlfriends and I went out to an art gallery after work and listened to poems and short stories about lust and love. It was amazing and a perfect way to spend a night after work. This week (because its St. Patties Day) we are making a special “Irish” themed night out.

The idea behind all of this is that at the end of these 40 days, I won’t be a complete slob. This is my 40 day sprint. To focus purely on myself for this Lenten season and work on all the things I can possibly do to make myself better. At the end of this, I’ll look back and reflect on what worked, what didn’t, what changes I can make, what I can start to fit into my normal schedule and what is just a complete waste of time (although I can’t really think that any of this wouldn’t make the cut). I’m really only one week into this “makeover”, but I have to say that so far I feel great! I really and truly do. I feel like for the first time in a super long time, I’m actually in control of my life and not just feeling like I’m trapped on a runaway train. I’m so excited to see what changes there will be at the end of this ride!