Category Archives: Books



So the dog I’m temporarily fostering is definitely a morning dog.  I, on the other hand, am not a morning person.  So basically any hopes I had for sleeping in while on my two week vacation have been dashed.  But it’s okay because she’s a really cute dog.  I’ll live. grumble, grumble.

I am at the box office right now.  It’s easier work than usual because we are sold out for the remainder of the run.  That means my phone calls go like this:

Me: Theatre X, izzybella speaking

Caller: Hi, I’m calling to find out if you have tickets available for the 2 o’clock matinee.

Me: I’m sorry, ma’am, but that show is sold out.  In fact, we are sold out the remainder of the run.

Caller: Oh, so no tickets tonight?

Me: No, ma’am we are sold out.  You might try going to Will Call an hour before the show starts and get on the waiting list-we release tickets that haven’t been picked up at about 5 minutes before the show starts.

Caller: Oh, can I get on the list now?

Me: You actually have to go in person to the box office an hour before the show starts.

Caller: Oh, okay.

Then three seconds later, they call back to ask about Sunday’s availability.  It’s okay-I don’t get impatient when it comes to that.  I just kind of find it amusing.

I’m working at a local B&N after my theatre shift-I’m “wrapping for retreivers.”  The things I do for the love of labrador retreivers.  But really, they’re awesome dogs.  Super friendly and affectionate; generally calm and easy-going around children.  Just the ultimate awesome dog.  And the babies have tons of energy and make really good walking partners.  As far as dogs go, in my completely unbiased opinion, they’re tops.

I’ve been reading Beedle the Bard in between phone calls.  Love.  Some of the comments by Dumbledore and the footnotes by JKR are so funny.  It really is just another fabulous window into the world that Rowling created.  If I could be half the writer she is, I’d still be an awesome writer.  So imaginative.  I have JKR hero worship.  It’s okay.  I don’t stalk.

I think I’ll end this post here.  Elle took my box office matinee shift-the least I can do is get the paperwork ready for her.  Good times.


Book Review: Thin Is the New Happy


I’m sure you’ve seen the Weight Watcher’s commercials loudly proclaiming “DIETS DON’T WORK.”  For those of us obsessed with body image (e.g. you, me, and everyone we know), this is old news, about as shocking as Clay Aiken’s revelation that he is, in fact, gay.  (Really?)  And yet, despite knowing diets are evil and wrong, many of us still persist.  We have an ideal of ourselves living somewhere inside that is thin, and therefore happy, because after all, thin equals happy, doesn’t it?

In Thin Is the New Happy, author Valerie Frankel humorously and frequently profanely chronicles her lifelong obsession with her own body image, made worse by her “fatphobic” mother who started nagging her about weight when she was only 11 years old.  She spent her childhood and later her adult years on a succession of diets, losing and regaining hundreds of pounds.  Her body issues were front and center.  Thin equaled success, beauty, determination and control, while fat equaled lazy, ugly, failure and a lack of control.   This cycle continued until Frankel had what would become a series of epiphanies, centering on the idea of weight as symptom of bigger issues-literal emotional baggage manifested in a physical form.  Flab.

Instead of dieting, Frankel determined to resolve her body issues and end the cycle of dieting; to send a message loud and clear to her daughters, the eldest aged 11-the same age Frankel’s obsession began-that they could be comfortable in their own skin, that they were beautiful and strong and capable.  Frankel would be a chain-breaker.  The struggle of body image and acceptance would end with her. 

Frankel enlisted the help of friends, family, and therapists to explore her body image issues and ultimately, put them to rest.  Her account is painfully honest, at times heart-breaking, and frequently hilarious.  (Her favorite defense mechanism as a teenager enduring verbal abuse of the “hey-fatso” variety from a group of boy bullies, was to eviscerate them in the pages of her diary via her alter-ego, Sal.  Sal killed her tormenters in a variety of ways, her creativity rivaled only by the multiple deaths of Kenny in South Park.) 

Because Frankel is an inveterate list-maker, she started her new life philosophy with a list.  I won’t spoil the reader.  The lists are part of the fun.  At her heaviest, Frankel wore a size 14.  If you are now rolling your eyes and thinking something like “poor baby…I’d kill to be size 14 again,” don’t let that sway you from reading her story.  Poor body image is a universal problem among women and Frankel has much to share.  Her epiphanies are brilliant and as I read her story, they became my epiphanies as well.

This isn’t an “accept your fat and be happy” book.  It’s about forging straight through the issues that scar us and coming out on the other side with true self-acceptance.  While Frankel did, in fact, lose weight on her journey, the book celebrates the shedding of old thoughts and old attitudes rather than the shedding of pounds.

Buy your copy here.

A List of Things I Love (In No Particular Order)


I love the theatre.  I really, truly love theatre.  I love going to plays and musicals.  I love being in plays and musicals.  I love the way the stage smells of sawdust and fresh paint.  I love the magic that happens when an actor forgets their lines or some other crazy thing inevitably happens and another actor (or actors) wildly improvise to cover it up.  I love the pre-show jitters when you absolutely must jump up and down just for the sheer joy of movement and because you might burst otherwise.  I love the moment of silence I always take just before that’s just for me-my own quiet moment where I communicate silently with my character and we become one.  I love the exuberant joy after a good show when I’m possessed with manic energy that sustains me for another hour or two until I quite suddenly realize I’m really exhausted and want nothing more than sleep.  I love the camraderie, the give and take, of the perfect cast.  I love the family that is formed for that brief period of time, and the promises (rarely kept) that we’ll always be this close once the show is over.  Even better, I love reuniting with these actors on other shows and realizing we still connect and we’re still family.  I love watching plays and musicals and seeing how the actors interact-I love when I can tell that they’re having more fun than they’ve ever had in their entire life, and for the small price of admission, I get to be a part of that.  I love the unique relationship between actor and audience-that feeling, so much stronger than seeing a movie, that we’re taking this journey together.  We are confidants of a sort.  It’s the most wonderful intimacy, even if it is short-lived.  I love theatre.  I really do.

I love Dr Pepper.  I know it’s not quite as philisophical as my theatre rave above, but I never promised a perfect segue.  Remember?  No particular order…  Anyway, Dr Pepper is the perfect soda.  Nothing against Coke or Pepsi, or even Sprite, but at the end of the day Dr Pepper is the bestest.

I love dogs.  Nothing against cats-I love them too (especially Dearly Departed Lester)-but over time I have morphed into a dog person.  When I am old and still single, I will not be the crazy cat lady.  I’ll be the crazy dog lady.  I’ll have two or three dogs that I will dote on excessively and refer to as my children.  So basically the only difference between future-me and now-me is age…  Wow.  That was kind of a disturbing thought.

I love people who understand why I would grieve so over my Baxter.  Because those people have loved an animal that much too, and that makes them mighty.

I love reading glasses (though I loathe the fact that I need them now) because they make my eyes all happy when I’m reading.  And since I love reading also, that makes me frequently a very happy chica.

Did I mention I love books?  I love fiction.  I love mysteries.  I love non-fiction, histories and biographies.  I love [some] poetry, especially Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Milay and Emily Dickinson.  I love comic books (pretty art and clever wordplay, what’s not to love??).  I love scary stories and cozy stories.  I don’t particularly heart romance novels, unless there’s lots of death and blood and guts and horror involved as well.  I have a passing acquaintance with science fiction-for the most part we don’t hang out, but every now and then we meet up and sometimes we even have a really good time.  A rainy, cool day, where I can sit on the back porch with a really good book and a cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate is just about the best day I could possibly imagine.

I love my friends.  I adore my friends.  I have excellent taste in friends.  They’re more like sisters than friends.  They’re chosen family and those are the best kinds of friends to have.  There’s foi, who is a biological.  I’d pick her for a sister even if she wasn’t though.  She’s my bestest friend-the one who has been there-literally-since birth.  I could tell her anything, even the most horrible thing, and know that she’d still love me madly even if she were disappointed in me.  Sometimes, when I’ve been through the very worst, darkest hours of my life, she has been the reason I hung on.  Then, there’s Elle who is the prettiest of all my friends (shut up, elle, you are too!!!!) and as an added bonus has a ridiculously wonderful dry sense of humor.  Seriously.  Funny.  She’s the one person who can bring me out of a crap mood with a brilliantly worded non-sequitor.  There’s Jehara who is wise and lovely and serene and as joyful and sunshiney as her actual real name.  She makes everyone she knows feel pretty-that is a rare gift.  There’s Mel who is utterly, completely, and ridiculously cool.  She is equal parts brilliant and goofy, which makes her 100% fun to be with.  Any truly cool piece of music on my iPod is probably there because she either told me about it or gave it to me.  And also she is an artist and therefore understands what I’m trying to say with my outfit. (you probably had to be there to think this in any way funny) There’s gypsy, who is very loving and very smart and steadfast, loyal and true.  The only downside is that she lives far, far away so we don’t hang out so much.  And V, who views life as the very best friend she could ask for and embraces it whole-heartedly.  There is no fear in this woman.  Then there’s D&C (the boys, not the scripture or any type of medical procedure) who both take it really well when I tell them they’re two of my favorite girlfriends ever.  Well, C takes it really well.  D twitches a little, which just makes me say that more often.  I could make this post entirely about my friends, which is exactly how cool they all are.  But it’s a list, so moving on…

I love movies.  Movies are fun even when they kind of suck a little bit.  I used to go to the movies with my step-grandfather and I’m telling you that man did not care what the hell he was watching as long as he was in a theatre with a big bucket of overbuttered popcorn.  I feel kind of like that.  I love going to movies with foi and elle and jehara.  (mel is great for concerts-especially those featuring artists she really, really, really, really loves because she cries and shakes like a teenager who just got kissed on the cheek by a jonas brother).

I love Joss Whedon.  I’m sure he’s written plenty of crap too, but I’d even pay money to see an actor perform the crap, because Joss Whedon likes to play with words.  He takes a perfectly good batch of words and twists it around till it turns into something wholly unexpected.  That makes Joss Whedon cool.

I’d add more, but I also love lunch and my parents and I have to meet my parent for lunch.  In about two minutes ago.  Be good.  Have a wonderful weekend!!


Randomness 8/9/08 Issue

  • The opening ceremonies for the Olympics were awesome with a side of freaking cool.  Elle came over last night and we watched the entire thing.  It was completely movement based, which is perfect, because-Olympics.  That’s why.  I loved the guys who did the dance-calligraphy.  It was so elegant and clean.  And then the thousands of people underneath the boxes performing the perfect motion of ocean waves interspersed with Chinese symbols for Harmony.  The young woman dancing on the stage carried by hundreds suggesting that the actions of one are nothing without the contribution of the many.  It was just stunning.  And then seeing the athletes parade into the birdnest (which is also a visually amazing bit of architecture) is probably my favorite part.  I cheered loudest for the USA, because there’s nothing like the Olympics to turn me into a jingoistic, loud-mouthed, America-lovin’ fool.  Elle and I also gave a healthy cheer for Mexico on account of, in addition to being an American, she’s a Mexican citizen too.  It was neat.  I’m really glad I watched.  So far today, I’ve tuned into fencing (American sweep in Women’s fencing), rowing, bicycling, volleyball and beach volleyball.  I think I missed swimming while I was out today.  The Olympics always makes me want to work out harder and lose weight and learn how to play tennis or soccer or something and be all, “what?  these abs?  Please.  They come naturally.  I love food, I just love the thrill of the game, too.”  Then, I ruin the perfectly good visualization by giggling at the probable reality of me with a tennis racket.  It probably would not be a safe thing.  Could still be fun though…
  • Explain it, ’cause I don’t get it.  What’s the point of paying in excess of $80K for a car?  What’s the point of spending $40K for a car?  Seriously.  Even if I lived in the tax bracket that could afford that type of purchase, I would never do it.  Ever.  My monster is watching the car show on PBS (auto world or something like that) and they’re previewing a Bently.  The Bently costs more than the house I currently live in.  And I’m not saying I live in a mansion or anything, but it’s a pretty, nice-sized house in a really good neighborhood.  It’s just freaking wasteful to spend so much on a car.  There’s a really judgemental person who lives deep down inside who rolls her eyes every time she sees some sconehead behind the wheel of a car that costs more money than I could make in five years.  I don’t get it.  But then again, Nascar bores me to pieces and I’m not much of a car person anyway.  Plus I’m probably just jealous that I have $40K in school loans and “Dude” is driving a Porcshe.  But still.  I’m just sayin’
  • Teen conference is over and I’m glad.  It actually ran smoothly-the best it’s ever been.  There were a few minor freak out moments, but overall it was awesome.  Everything was set up the way it was supposed to be; the speakers were excellent; the booth fair was the largest we’ve ever had; the food was mostly good (the pizza buffet wasn’t too popular); and the kids had a blast at the amusement park.  We got some good constructive feedback from the kids that we’ll try to incorporate into the next conference.  So, it was good.  But I’m glad it’s over for this year.  I just deleted all my conference emails from my work computer last Thursday and filed the reports away.  It took a little while to decompress, but I think I’m back now.
  • Going to jehara’s tomorrow so gemma can train us.  He’s super nice to work with me so much.  It’s funny-his workouts aren’t usually much longer than 30 minutes (closer to 20-25) but I defintely feel them the next day.  I can do a really good workout on my own, but the strength training is not something I know very much about.  Plus, I feel like I try harder with gemma and jehara there, so I get a better workout. 
  • I finished the last book in the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn.  I have mixed feelings.  Overall, I think it was a good book and there were some moments I really loved.  In fact, my favorite moment of the whole, entire series occurs at the end of Breaking Dawn.  I won’t spoil it here; suffice it to say that I thought it was a truly lovely moment of intimacy that had nothing to do with the physical aspects of Edward’s and Bella’s relationship.  Did not like the resolution for the character of Jacob.  I wanted happiness for him, it’s just this particular storyline weirded me out a little.  But Meyer set it up perfectly.  If you go back and reread, the hints for a lot of the last book were there. 
  • Last week I was at a diner with my parents and I ordered a diet coke.  There was something wrong with the mix, so I wound up ordering a Dr. Pepper instead.  It was so good that I have had 2 Dr. Pepper’s since then.  I really have to nip this in the bud, because I love Dr. Pepper and I could easily get re-addicted.  If I thought I could do it as an occasional treat, I wouldn’t be feeling so guilty, but that’s one of those things that (for me) is difficult to stop once I get going.  Don’t know why I felt the need to share that here.  Huh. 
  • I cut my hair.  A bunch.  I cut eight inches off my hair.  It was pretty a much a spur of the moment decision, but I’m glad I did it.  It’s been about two weeks and I’m still happy with it, so I guess that’s a good thing.  It’s weird, though-I’ve had long hair for such a long time and this is a big change.  I get it trimmed again in September and I’m thinking about taking my stylist’s suggestion to color it a rich chocolate brown instead of the auburn I currently have.  It was kind of cool the first day I cut it, because my head felt so light.  I forget how much long hair can weigh you down.  Plus I haven’t had an updo headache since I cut it.  It’s too short now to pull back into a ponytail so no more tension headaches and it blowdries FAST. 

Well, this concludes the randomness.  Have a good rest of the weekend…


Randomness June 25, 2008 Issue


Without further ado, today’s random thoughts:

1. The difference between comedy and drama.  I was pondering this as I drove home from work yesterday, mostly because yesterday was one of those difficult days where I’m struggling a bit just to stay afloat.  Life is such a soap opera sometimes and I wondered why it couldn’t be a comedy more often.  I think it can be summed up in one word-expectations.  In drama, the players are constantly optimistic, hoping for the best possible outcome.  Usually, the worst possible outcome is what they wind up with.  It makes for sadness and hurt feelings and anguish/despair, etc.  No one ever learns from their mistakes and so they’re doomed to continually repeat them.  In comedy, the players constantly expect the worst and they never get it.  The comedy is derived from the imagined anguish/despair, etc. and the reactions given from the ultimate outcome-i.e. the girl forgives the boy for being a dummy-face instead of kicking him to the curb/the boy gets promoted, not fired/the girl wins the respect of her peers instead of their ridicule/etc., and a valuable lesson is learned by all.  Which begs the question, are pessimists actually happier people? 

2. Still listening to Twilight on CD on the work commute.  It isn’t realistic, is it-this grand, all-consuming, passionate love?  Real life will eventually intrude on every relationship.  It doesn’t mean the love is any less, it just means that it changes over time, evolves.  I think after 100 years of Edward’s perfection, Bella might get a little bored.  Or maybe I’m projecting.  Maybe after 100 years, it will be even better.  I was rather wistful this morning thinking how wonderful it would be if I could meet some terrific guy who would sweep me off my feet and make me believe in true love.  Real life seems inadequate sometimes in comparison-I had the sudden thought that I’m glad I’m not one of those readers addicted to romance novels of the Harlequin variety.  It would either depress me because I don’t have someone who loves me so passionately or lead me to develop a warped sense of romance.  Besides, there are paradigms in those stories I find offensive-the idea that someone needs someone else to “complete” them.  Isn’t it better if, when you do find that perfect someone, you already have completeness to offer?

3. This leads into a natural segue-my friend Jehara met someone a while back that she loves.  When I met him and observed how they reacted it created some conflicting feelings.  The first, and strongest, is that I think this someone is Jehara’s one.  He’s the person she’ll grow old with and I don’t know why I know, but I do know.  Mostly it stems from the fact that this is the first boyfriend of hers I’ve met that when she’s with him, she’s still her-still the same Jehara I hang out with in bookstores and watch buffy-thons with.  She doesn’t repress any part of herself when she’s with him, and in a weird way that gives me hope.  Maybe it could happen for me after all some day.  The conflicting feeling is a little bit of envy.  I’ve talked to her about this, so this is nothing new to her.  It’s not envy over him, because, although I like him very much, I don’t lurve him.  It’s not even jealousy over her new relationship-it’s just kind of a wistful feeling that I don’t have that right now in my life and I think she is tremendously blessed that she does.  Don’t know why I felt the need to share that with you, Internet.  Oh well.

4. Two of my friends aren’t very friendish anymore and that makes me sad.  I don’t know what to say to either one of them about it and I don’t honestly think anything I could say would help.  I adore them both and want them both in my life. Sometimes you have friends in your life that are there for a season, but these aren’t season friends-they’re life friends.  They’re friends I expect to have when I’m 80 years old (assuming I live that long!).  I keep trying to play peacemaker, but peacemakers aren’t very popular.  You usually wind up pissing one or both of them off, and that sucks too.

These were deep random thoughts today, weren’t they?  I’m thinking I should add something goofy so I can maintain my rep.  Thinking…thinking…  Okay, here’s random thought #5:

5. I can’t believe I’m admitting this here and I really hope none of my committee members catch wind of my blog, but part of my duties for this conference is finding a tee-shirt.  The committee kept not liking every color I sent them and it was getting really frustrating.  They didn’t like the first color because they thought boys wouldn’t like it very much and they kept finding reasons to not like every other color I forwarded them.  So finally, I took a tee-shirt sample and talked the son of one of my coworkers into wearing it and letting me photograph him in it.  Let me tell you, this is a good looking kid-ridiculously pretty track and field star.  Anything would look good on him.  I forwarded the picture to everyone on the committee and they unanimously agreed that this was the shirt they’d been looking for.  The funny thing?  It was the very first shirt they originally turned down.  I’m telling you-marketing is everything.


Twilight-The Sacreligious Post


Why sacreligious?  Because I profoundly love the Twilight series and yet I’m about to complain about it a little bit.  So let me offer my disclaimer-I borrowed Twilight (all three books) from my sister and never gave them back.  I don’t plan on ever giving them back, but I have assured her than she can borrow them whenever she wants.  In order to alleviate my guilt over loving the books so much, but never buying them, I even purchased all three of them on CD so I could “read” them in the car during the work commute.  Should the local bookstore do a midnight release party for Breaking Dawn, I will be there.  And L-to-the-power-of-two, foi, and I have already planned on taking December 12th off from work in order to see the first matinee.  We’ll also be doing the midnight release.  My point here is that I’m a fan.  I check the Twilight Lexicon at least once a day.  I have even read the blog of the guy who’s reading Twilight (good blog by the way, check it out).  So, though I complain, I do still love.  Without further ado, here are some things that have annoyed me on my recent reread of the Twilight series.

1. Someone is always “pursing” their lips.  Seriously.  Every major character purses their lips at least once per chapter.  It seems like it anyway, which begs the question-why don’t these people have a better range of facial expressions?  We’re told Bella’s face is an open book, and many other characters are described as expressive.  For the love of Edward, they really need to do something besides purse their lips!

2. Why is Bella totally okay with the fact that Edward was so stalkery?  I mean, honestly, ladies.  If you found out some dude-even a 100+ year old hot vampire with a strong moral streak-had been hanging around your bedroom while you slept without your knowledge and/or permission, wouldn’t you be a little weirded out?  I would.  I mean, at the very least, Bella could have worked up some righteous indignation before melting like a big pile of slobbery goo.  Have some self-respect, B!  Get a little mad first, then melt into goo.

3. Since I’m on the subject of Edward, I know he can’t help his mind-reading ability, but it’s sort of another stalkerish aspect of his character.  I’m glad Bella has the particular ability of self-containment and privacy because that levels the playing field in their relationship a bit.  For the record, should any hot mind-reading vampires with a strong moral streak show any interest in me whatsoever, the deal’s off* if he can read my mind.  A girl needs a little privacy, you know what I’m saying? *by “off” I mean, I reserve the right to reconsider should such an event ever occur.

4. Am I the only one annoyed by how Bella always describes someone’s smile?  “He smiled his crooked smile” or “he smiled a [insert descriptive word here] smile.”  It’s always that.  I accept that’s just the way Bella speaks.  Certainly after reading The Host, it’s clear to me that Stephenie Meyer is gifted in the way she allows her characters to speak through her, but that particular turn of phrase is almost as grating to me as the constancy with which characters tend to purse their lips.  Adverb, Bella.  Look it up.

5. Since I picked on Edward and his vaguely stalkerish tendencies, I should share some of that love with Jacob.  Dude, when a girl says no, what she means is no.  Gentlemen, please.  Generally speaking, though I’ll allow there are always some crazies out there, the vast majority of women aren’t kidding when the word “no” escapes their lips.  Jacob is guilty of assaulting Bella in a couple of instances and if I were Bella, I would have totally gone for that crowbar.  (Okay, not really-I’m a strictly non-violent sort of person, but still…)  Also, that half-ass apology he gave was lame.  Bella, honey, I know you feel badly after discovering that you did, in fact, love Jacob, even though you still love Edward more.  But Jacob sort of brought it on himself, by confusing the word “no” with the word “yes” even though the word “yes” has an extra letter and sounds completely different from the word “no.”

6. Bella, you have an embarrassment of riches.  Stop whining.  Your life is not that bad.  Except for the parts where crimson-eyed vampires hunt you down for the express purpose of drinking your blood and then killing you dead.  That part kind of sucks.

So six little complaints.  That wasn’t so bad, right?  I’m not the anti-Twilighter.  I’m a good fan, I am!!!  See, I even wrote some of my complaints directly to Bella, even though she is technically a fictional character.  And really, we criticize the ones we love.  Right?  What?  Okay.  Excuse me now, I have repenting to do.


For Amethyst


Here’s my wand.  It makes me unhappy.  And could they be more condescending?

Which wand will yours be?

8 inches, almond wood and unicorn hair. Frail wood plus frail core, not a good combination. Could you say low self-esteem any louder? Please give more credit to yourself, you’re a very sweet person.
Take this quiz!