A PSA on Safe Sex from Dr. Seuss

I am not sure who I love more in this interview – Zack Effron for his good looks (hey – he is 24, I am allowed to say that) or Matt Lauer for his extremely discomfort with the word “condom.” Either way, I am so excited for The Lorax!

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My Bout With Stardom

Matt is out of town this weekend, so you know what that means… I find myself having all sorts of wild and crazy fun. The trouble that I am about to get into is just unbelievable. Tonight after getting home from work, I proceeded to order pizza and write myself a very long “To Do” list for the weekend. I then sat on my couch and tackled a few of the tasks that I could do from home and watch a movie on HBO. When I looked through my available options, I was so psyched to see  “Ramona and Beezus” on the list. I promptly started the movie and my weekend of total debockery began.

 

When I was younger, I was a big fan of Beverly Cleary. I read all of the Ramona Quimby books, including the ones that were written from Beezus and Henry’s perspectives. There was even a show on PBS about my beloved friends, some of you may remember it.

For some reason I really related to Ramona, even though I was not that similar to her as a child. Ramona has a wild imagination that was often getting herself in trouble. It seemed the harder she tried to stay out of trouble, the more she found herself in it. And while both Ramona and I had older sisters, there wasn’t much similar between Abby (my sister) and Beezus (Ramona’s sister). But for whatever reason, I found myself drawn to the character of Ramona.

One day, my mom, Abby and I were out doing errands and stopped for a bite to eat. When we were sitting having lunch, a young girl who was sitting at another table with her mom having lunch, came over and asked me if I was the actress from Ramona. “ME? The wonderful actress who plays my soul mate?!?!”

I have to say, I don’t blame the girl for getting us confused.

Molly, Age 6 or 7
Ramona (Sarah), Age 8

Sadly, I had to decline and it was obvious that her hopes of meeting a real “celebrity” were shot. But that got me thinking… for the new few months, whenever we were in public, I asked my family to refer to me as “Sarah” – yes, that’s right, the name of the actual actress who played Ramona. No, I wasn’t seeking to take credit for someone else’s fame – I just didn’t want to let down the countless Ramona fans that I would surely encounter moving forward.

Sadly, to this day, I have never been mistaken as Ramona/Sarah again.

The Happiness Project

I recently read a new book titled “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I have to tell you, sorry Matt, that I think that I have found my soulmate.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

Gretchen wasn’t necessarily unhappy, she has an amazing husband and two loving daughters, but she realized that she wasn’t as happy as she would like to be. After researching the root causes of happiness and the psychology behind the feeling of happiness, Gretchen tackled a new set of resolutions every month: give proofs of live, ask for help, make time for fun and forget about results. And instead of drastically changing her life, she focused on improving the life she has already build.

During parts of the book, I felt as if I was reading about my own life. Gretchen and I seem to have very similar personailities:

  1. We both seek recognition for our accomplishments (i.e. we are always looks for the gold star),
  2. We nag our husbands and want them to be excited about the chorse we dole out, and
  3. We both get caught up in all of the things on our to do list that we forget why it is we are doing these things in the first place.

When I read the conversations between her and her husband, I could almost hear my own voice saying those same things to Matt. It was very surreal experience to read her  thoughts throughout the book; thinking the exact same things.

I began my own happiness project a year and a half ago when I began this blog. Like Gretchen, on paper, I had (and still have) a pretty good life. But I wasn’t as happy as I thought I should be. I was focusing on all of the negatives in my life instead of on the little things that make life so amazing. And while my project is a lot less organized that Gretchen’s; I think it is working. I can definitely say that I am much happier than I was when I started this blog.

But I am the first to admit, I still have a ways to go. I still want Matt to wantto take out the trash. I definitely still seek those gold stars. And I am still cranky if I am tired and/or hungry. But thanks largly to Robin Hood, my happiness in life has improved. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thank you for following, commenting and supporting my happiness project. And don’t worry –  it is far from over.

Book Club Without the Book

When I was younger I was in a book club. I was the only member. We read the entire Goosebumps Series, the Boxcar Children and the Babysitters Club.

   

I never really liked discussing books with other people. I found the experience of reading a book and the way that each story made you feel to be a very personal thing. Even to this day, I still don’t love sitting around and debating which character is my favorite or what the author might have been implying when they wrote a particular passage. People debate for hours over whether or not Dumbledore from Harry Potter is gay, or if Edward or Jacob should end up with Bella from Twilight, or who is the most admirable character in Atlas Shrugged, Dagny Taggart, John Galt, Francisco d’Anconia or Hank Rearden.

I joined a book club back in 2007. I went to the events for the food, wine and to chat with my friends. And while I read the books and certainly had opinions on them, I never felt like standing in front of the group and defending my perspective. Needless to say, my attendance in the book club wasn’t very good and I ended up dropping out after a year.

So when my friend, Erica, asked me to join her “dinner club”, I was immediately intrigued. What she wants to do is take the best of what book clubs have to offer (food, wine and good company) and remove the whole reading part. Genius! I knew there was a reason I liked this girl.

So while I certainly enjoy reading, I definitely think of it as an individual sport as opposed to the team sport that is eating, sipping wine and gossiping. So glad that I have friends who agree. Cheers to dinner club and all of the good memories that are bound to come out of it!

 

Book Club

As a child I was always under the impression that I was a bad reader. Not only was I slow, but I enjoyed reading books that were “young.” As a result, I often found myself choosing other activities over reading: doing art projects, riding bikes outside and cleaning my room. These were activities that I liked and ones that I believed I was good at. It wasn’t until I reached 5th grade that I realized I was a very good reader. I was just living in the same household as someone who was a prodigy reader, my sister.

Abby is an amazing reader. Not only does she read books at a mind-blowing pace, but she also started reading very advanced books at an early age. She read the entire Nancy Drew series before she hit 3rd grade. She finished over 100 of the Baby Sitters Club Books by 4th grade. And she blew through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by 5th grade. Very quickly, she moved from the “young adult” genre to reading the same books as my mother. While I was working my way through the Goosebumps collection, my sister was reading Mary Higgins Clark novels. On one trip to visit my grandparents, Abby finished all of the books she brought with her for the trip by the second day, so she decided to pull something off of my grandparents’ shelves.  After Abby read more than 100 pages of The Clan of Cave Bear my mother caught on to Abby’s book choice and quickly ended it.  To this day, I still think of that book as “too mature” for me and steer clear of it when I browse the isles.

 

Abby was never without a book and when she was reading you couldn’t pull her away from the stories found within the bound pages of these books. She would get lost in the stories of Billy Coleman and his dogs, Jo March and her sisters, and Anne of Green Gables was one of her most kindred spirits. Trying to entice her in a game of Candy Land or Monopoly became an impossible task if there were unread books around.

Thankfully, I was able to realize that my reading abilities were strong as well. I found friendship with the Box Car Children and the Hardy Boys. I cried alongside Jess Aarons when his best friend Leslie Burke died after slipping off the Bridge that lead to Teribethia. I fought, alongside Annemarie Johansen, against the Nazis to save her best friend in Number the Stars. And I got into trouble with Ramona Quimby and Pippi Longstocking.

    

I have been forced to read more mature books as I’ve grown up; however I am happy to say that I have read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, all 7 Harry Potter Books, and the entire Twilight saga.

Matt has a very different sense of style when it comes to prefered literature than I do. While I will read a Sophie Kinsella novel (author of the Shopaholic series), Matt’s literary preference is anything that has to do with finance. Our bookshelves at home are lined with biographies of Warren Buffet and “thrilling” tales of the stock market’s past ups and downs. Last year he decided to branch out (only slightly) and read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. While it took him months and months to complete this novel, he raved about the stories of Dagny Taggart and Rearden Metal. Eventually he finished the book and convinced me that this was something I had to read.

Reluctantly I put down my “beach books” and picked up the 1,100+ pages of Atlas Shrugged. I lugged the book, which weight close to 10 pounds, back and forth to work.  I started reading the book at a good pace, but slowly lost interest. The story of extreme government control didn’t hold my interest and the fascination of Dagny, the only female character in the novel, wasn’t as appealing to me as it had been to Matt. It was a struggle to continue to read, what I thought was an unrealistic, extreme version of governing, when I knew there were countless other books I would rather be reading.

I plugged along,  knowing that I had promised Matt I would finish this novel. Thankfully, last night at 12:45am, after months and months of reading, I finally closed the pages on Dagny, Hank, Francisco and John Galt for the last time. I have come to two conclusions after reading this novel: 1. I really want a bracelet made out of the blueish green Rearden metal and 2. Matt owes me, big time.

So while I am happy that I finally finished this book, and can move on to more interesting book, I feel as though I lost precious reading time. Oh well, who is John Galt anyway?