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Archive for April, 2008

I first met my husband’s best friend 9 years ago.  Ryan (the husband) was trying to get his nerves together so he could ask me to get some coffee, and Jeremy (the best friend) kindly intervened and encouraged me to stick around a bit so Ryan could come talk to me.  Looking back at this night, I’m struck by the things my 18 year old self didn’t know: 1. Ryan doesn’t drink coffee, and 2. This wouldn’t be the last time that Jeremy would change my life for the better.

Despite my greatest efforts, I’m a wuss.  I like the idea of trying new things, but unfortunately my fear of screwing things up or looking like an idiot has held me back from things that I might enjoy.  I’ve been very content with the things that I can do, but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on a lot.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is my friend, Jeremy.  When it comes to trying new things, you name it and Jeremy has either done it, wants to do it, or doesn’t know that it exists yet.  Whether it’s getting a tattoo, purchasing and using an antiquated piece of machinery, or taking a weekend road trip to Canada, Jeremy is pretty much up for anything, and the rest of us are blessed to revel in the tales of Jeremy’s latest adventure.

Before I misguide you, please understand my thrill-seeking friend:  Jeremy is not reckless.  He is a great thinker and has a good heart, so his pursuits never result in anything selfish or dangerous.  Jeremy just understands what it means to embrace life, and when he is struck by something that looks fun or interesting rather than vacillate between what he can or cannot do, his attitude is quite simply, “Why not?”

This is something cool that my friend can do. As one who has an eye for my friends’ talents, this is an attribute of Jeremy that I greatly admire and would like to experience in my own life. To be quite honest, his can-do attitude is what inspired me to begin this little project in the first place, so stay tuned for Allison’s Pursuits of What Looks Like Fun.  Courtesy of Jeremy.

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Learning to Read #10

Carrie By Stephen King

As an unofficial member of the LOST Book Club, I decided to read this novel. For fellow LOST fans, this book was Juliet’s chosen story for the “Others” Book Club. One of the reasons I decided on Carrie for my next book is because I think Juliet is such an intriguing character, and I am interested in parallels that can be drawn between her and one of Stephen King’s most famous misfits. Though I am almost resigned to the fact that no amount of leg-work on my part will help me better understand my favorite show, I was dying to see why Juliet would deem a tale of a creepy high schooler with telekinetic powers as her “favorite book”. But if I’m to be completely honest, the main reason I picked Carrie as my next read was because I love a good scare.

Since not everyone chooses to relish in the Halloween season by checking in to every horror flick that graces AMC during the month of October, let me briefly sum up this classic work by scare expert, Stephen King. The story focuses on the title character, an awkward teenager who has found herself to be the butt of most jokes since she first started school in her smallish New England town. Her only family is her mother, a religious fanatic who has done her best to pass on her warped thinking leaving Carrie in a vulnerable and hopeless state. After a cruel joke at Carrie’s expense, the story’s major players begin plotting how they will respond to this public embarrassment: one girl hopes to make amends, one girl plans how she will take the abuse one step further, and Carrie brushes up on her telekinesis…

Being an avid movie watcher (strike that; an avid horror movie watcher), I was most struck by the Carrie I knew via Sissy Spacek versus the actual novel. The book created a completely different picture in my mind, and I found myself trying to erase the movie images I already had in order to better experience the story. Not to diminish Spacek’s performance of Carrie, but after reading the story, that character was all wrong. Spacek’s Carrie was creepy, definitely, and very convincing as an outcast, but in the novel, Carrie is someone different. An outcast, but not because of her freakish qualities. In the book, Carrie is really quite unfortunate and sad. The overweight girl with bad skin, outdated clothing, and an altered state of common sense. In other words, someone we all knew when we were in school, someone we might have teased, or at the very least shunned. The difference between the movie and the book was ultimately what caused the big scare. Not just that a girl flipped out and torched her entire senior class, but that all of this destruction was caused by someone each one us could have known.

Switching gears a bit, what does this book tell us about Juliet? Are we to find parallels between her and Carrie? Or possibly her and Sue, the would-be heroine? Does Juliet possess an untapped energy we are all not aware of? Or is she hopelessly trying to fix a situation that from its onset was doomed? Like I said, I can never understand this show.

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I have the neatest friends.  I do hope that all people feel this way about their loved ones, but I find that when I spend time with these truly exceptional people I always come away inspired.  They have such amazing talents and interests, and each of them is so unique that I’ve noticed there are things about them that I wish to emulate in my own life.  For example, a major motivator for me to begin this blog is because I have several friends who wrote delightful anecdotes and personal insights, and I appreciated being able to share in their lives this way.  I found what they were doing to be so vulnerable yet respectable, and I wanted to try my hat at it as well.

There have been many different skills and activities that I have experimented because of my multi-talented comrades.  I want to start highlighting the super-skills of my dear friends (because they definitely deserve some recognition!), and I also want to chronicle my attempts at their interests that I so appreciate. This should be quite entertaining, because history has proven that though I may desire for things to be different, there are some things that I just cannot do. However, I do want to give it all a try and allow any interested Internet viewers to share in my successes and failures.  Most of all though, I just want to raise a glass to these terrific people that have blessed me with their friendship.

Wish me luck!

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Learning to Read #9

Second Chance by Jane Green

One of my husband’s coworkers heard of my quest for grown-up literature and passed along this novel to me.  Ryan works with some really fantastic people, so I was really eager to jump in.

This story centered on a group of childhood friends that have gathered together after losing one of their number in a terrorist attack.  In addition to their present tragedy, each friend has found themselves personally devastated in recent years and find a misplaced strength through each other to press on in their adulthood (hence the “Second Chance”).

I had a really good time with this book.  The story was appropriately descriptive, so I found  myself easily getting lost in the characters and their situations.  Plus the author is English, and I have always enjoyed British humor and slang.  The book took hold of me from the very beginning, and I tore through it pretty quickly.

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