Thanksgiving, or FAMILY GLADIATORS

Part Deux of why Fall is a godsend and you should cherish it is always going to be Thanksgiving.  To be perfectly honest, I do not have any real heartwarming memories for Thanksgiving or funny stories to tell.  But I do know that Thanksgiving pretty much goes through the same formula every single year.  This will be the second year that I am not there to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family back in Chicago because I am in London.  And in this tea-drinking society, they don’t have anything to be thankful for, but they do give themselves a third Christmas day known as, “Boxing Day.”  And Boxing Day is… the dumbest thing I have ever heard of so, I will not waste your time with it (AMURRICAHHH!).

Anyway, back to the formula. This might only be with my family because 1. we are all very Italian-American which causes us all to 2. want to talk over one another, causing 3. nothing to ever actually be heard.  It’s really just the sound of white noise with the words anti pasta, mozzarella, or just try it! coming in and out of frequency.  With my family, everyone plays their part.  And every year, without fail, they will do what they are set out to do.  So I will try to break down a usual Thanksgiving in our family:

Who will host:  With any holiday, my grandmother usually takes charge.  Especially if there is eating involved.  Dinner at my grandmother’s house is like a marathon.  You have to pace yourself, but once you hit mile 23, you just want to let your body lose all control over itself.  So you would expect that the quintessential holiday for stuffing your face would be at her house.  But our grandma hosts Fourth of July, Easter, Christmas, every Friday and Sunday night dinner, my birthday, your birthday, Arbor Day, any holiday that you might want to eat something to celebrate.  But Thanksgiving is given to my aunt.  And she does it every year to give Grandma a break.  But it really doesn’t matter because Grandma is just going to bring four dishes and six pies anyway.  So she is still “slaving away” in her kitchen.

And every year my aunt tries to out-do herself with centerpieces and the “special moment” of what makes Thanksgiving what it is.  Being thankful.  And I love being thankful.  I am thankful every day for my family, the support they give me, the love they throw at me, and the opportunities given to me.  I am thankful for my friends — both in the US and the UK — and for what they do for me.  But I don’t like sharing my thankfulness in detail.  What I just said up there is the closest you will get to hearing me open up.  But my aunt always makes us get in a circle, hold hands, and go around and say what we are all thankful for.  It’s sweet and meaningful, but also just too many feelings.  I don’t do feelings.  I don’t have them.  I don’t understand them.  I don’t express them.  So having to hold my cousins’ hands and listen to their feelings– and then sharing my own — is always so awkward.  For me at least.

Who made it best:  We are a competitive tribe and like to one-up each other.  You have to understand that my family is very large.  My mom is the oldest of seven, and of those seven siblings, five of them live within ten minutes of each other.  We are always around each other.  And we like to be the best of whatever it is we are doing.  So when one aunt says that she is going to make the green bean casserole, my uncle likes to show her up by making a fancier, more “interesting” green bean casserole.  And then at dinner, we have a vote-off of which one was the best.  And when one person is declared the victor, they will brag about it for the rest of the night.

We always do this for everything.  Pies, sports, board games, outfits, pets, kids, whatever.  If there is a way to compete with it, we will do it.  We don’t do it to be malicious to one another — although we can get really blood-thirsty at times — it’s just how we are.  In our family, the more we make fun of you, the more we love you.  So when outsiders come to a family dinner, they are kind of thrown back by how blunt we are towards each other.  But it’s like Thanksgiving is the mecca of competition.  We will compete over EVERYTHING.

Actually, I don’t really have anything else to say about how crazy my family can be for Thanksgiving.  Because they are my family and I love them.  And they are like that for every event.  Every holiday.  Every Thursday afternoon.  They are ALWAYS like this.  Those nut balls share the same DNA as me.  I Skyped with them today and already saw both these things happening, but it didn’t matter.  Because that’s what makes our Thanksgivings special.

So whatever you celebrate, and with whomever you give thanks, have a good one.

You’re Killing Me, Classics

*Warning* This post is a long one.
5 of your favorite classics will not make it out alive.

I love reading.  And I love the classics.  But when you’re an English Literature student, sometimes you read the same books more than once.  And sometimes you can feel parts of your soul slowly dying with every turn of the page.

Although there are many books that I have read and absolutely hated, e.g. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather and Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada — I have never read a book where literally NOTHING happens.  I can sum it up for you easily: “My name is Andy and I am too smart for this fashion job, but there’s nothing out there.  Whine, whine, whine, my boss is mean.  I’m going to quit because I can’t suck it up. Cry, cry, cry now I’m back where I started. Oh, and my boyfriend dumped me.” I even bought the sequel, Revenge Wears Prada, for only 20 pence — because I’m an idiot and didn’t learn my lesson — and it is worse than the first one and still sitting on my night table being awful. I want my 20p back.

And there are others that I just can’t finish.  They are the novels that will always have a bookmark in it, but it never seems to move.  I have been trying to read The Hobbit for the past year and a half but it’s just. So. Boring.  How they are making a three-part movie on this boring as crap book, I have no idea.  I’ve started and stopped Slaughterhouse-Five four times and if I have to try again, I might just start killing people.  And I’ve read up to chapter 4 in Gone with the Wind before getting sick of the Scarlett O’Hara bitch-fest and skipped straight to the movie — which is another 4 hours I will never get back again.  Frankly my dear Margaret Mitchell, I don’t give a damn either.

But there is just something about these classics that just… kill me.  I’ve read them all in their entirety, analyzed them, written essays about them, and wanted to hop in Doc Brown’s DeLorian just so I can punch the authors in the face for creating them.  I’m not hating on the authors.  They’re all very talented who did some amazing writing.  But it’s just these particular works that make me want to strangle anyone I see reading them because I firmly believe that death is a much fairer fate than reading these texts.

So let’s get started!  I’m going to go in order of when they were written.  Because ranking them is just too difficult a task.  And I’ll try not to throw my computer against the wall in frustration.

Continue Reading

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

J. Alfred Prufrock and I have a very strange love/hate relationship.

In college, I wrote a sestina as one of the women telling Prufrock to buzz off.  It was surprisingly well received considering my total lack in poetic ability.

Here is a link to Julian Peters’ comic for the first nine pages of his comic adaptation of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Find Time for Reading

Now, we all know that I am a bed reader at heart–thus the name of my blog–but these past few weeks, I have been using my bed more for snoozing than reading.  But that has not deterred me from reading a good book.  I am one of those rare unicorns who enjoys reading on all platforms: audiobooks, ebooks, and old school books.  It doesn’t matter to me.  Whatever gets someone reading is good enough.  Even if you’ve listened to Pride and Prejudice, you still know the story.  Jane Austen’s words can still resonate within you.  Although I personally don’t like Pride and Prejudice, that’s my prerogative.  And a completely different blog post.

**note to self, maybe dedicate an entire blog post to books I should love but actually hate with every fiber of my being.**

Commuting to work has given me a solid two hours every day dedicated to reading (or listening).  I have read five books in the past month thanks to commuting.  And I love it.  Although nothing sucks more than being pinned against the door of the Jubilee line, it becomes more tolerable when I pull out my Kindle.  And when I ride the train back home, something warm and fuzzy bubbles within me when I see there are more people reading a book than playing with their smartphone.

But there are some awkward moments that reading on the commute can create.  Just last week, I finally finished Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  I closed the book and just looked up at the woman sitting across from me and gave her the most horrifying look any stranger probably has ever received.  I couldn’t believe it.  Now, I am not going to throw any spoilers out there for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but let’s just say shit goes down.  And when that shit finally did, I was freaking out.  On the tube.  Surrounded by so many people, and yet completely alone.  I wanted to find someone else who was reading it just so I can look at them and be like, “Can you believe this?” And they’d nod their head at me agreeing with, “I know, right?  That shit cray!”

Another time, I was reading The Beginning of Everything (also known as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts in the UK) by Robyn Schneider and felt this tidal wave of emotions.  Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t cry.  I can give you the exact date of the last time I openly ugly cried in front of others.  But at a few points I had to stop and put my Kindle down just to collect my thoughts.  And after finishing it I was just… and I know a lot of people hate internet speak and Tumblr talk but this is the only way I can think of describing what I was feeling.  And I had no one to commiserate with.

This is something that all readers go through.  What I love about reading is that it is such a personal moment that happens in public spheres.  Could you imagine riding the tube and looking across from you to see someone with a Kindle in their hands and a tear running down their face?  You would be like, “What the fuck is that person reading?”  And doing it in England, they would be all, “Guffaw! Crying in public? How preposterous!”  Even more so, people’s reactions to books are just so amazing.  How some people can love Gone with the Wind while others loathe it.  It’s just as Edmund Wilson said: “No two persons ever read the same book.”

So now I am reading here and there, I am reading everywhere.  I am reading on the train, I am reading in the rain.   You can find me reading on the Central Line or even  while sitting as I dine (my ode to Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham). Dorkiness aside, this short post is just my way of pointing out that there is always time for a good book.  Whether it’s listening to an audiobook, or reading on a small screen.  It can be done.