If there’s one thing I love in this crazy, busy, mixed up world, it’s a good book.
I love everything about them. I love the way they feel, the texture, the smell – especially old, beat up novels with their eerie history. I
It is my dream in life to have a huge parlor-like room with walls lined from floor to ceiling with books upon books upon books.
My friend Cheri has somewhat accomplished this dream. I am forever envious.
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted or needed a book on the go. Something to keep me occupied and keep my mind at work. Something to comfort. Something to take me away from this place and experience an adventure inside my head.
I think my love affair with the written word started from birth! I assume my mother read to me then. And I can remember being very young and my mom always reading to us; me and my brother. She would read us bedtime stories – shorts from Dr. Seuss to novels such as The Wizard of Oz, promising a new chapter the next night – and she would read to us while waiting for medical appointments. And she would take us, countless times, to second-hand bookstores where would slink around quietly, and load up on books.
I remember getting hooked on Archie comics when I was 5 or 6. Fumbling through each story (asking my mother over and over how to pronounce “Veronica”). I couldn’t get enough of those short little stories. Zip, zip, zip. And another book was finished. Eventually I moved on to bigger books, although Cinderella was always my favorite, I needed more….I needed chapters! And so the affair grew. And it has continued to grow.
Years ago when I lived in the City I worked very late hours. I would come home and read to (attempt to) unwind, instead, I would get wrapped up in a story that would take me into the early hours of the morning. Lost Girls by Andrew Pyper was a book that I had wanted and was gifted to me by my spectacular sister-in-law. That book kept my mind so busy late at night. It was scary as hell and kept me up with fear, yet I continued to read it. I was enthralled.
When I injured my back several years ago and was down and out and barely able to walk, books kept me sane and busy. And when I first started working out, books are what kept me going. I’d jump on the elliptical with a novel and boom! Just like that an hour (or sometimes two!) would be gone.
When I read, when I’m really involved in a story, something happens to me. I’m transported to another place. Page by page and chapter by chapter I find myself getting deeper into the world I’m reading about. As if I’m there. As if I’m the character. There are days when I want to do nothing but read because I’m so obsessed with the story. That’s what happens when I read Grisham. And it’s what’s happening now with the current book I’m reading (The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri). This book has enchanted me. Like you wouldn’t believe. I cannot get enough of it.
*sigh* My new best friend…my summer escape.
That was the same for me the first time I read Jaws and when I read Grisham’s The Rainmaker. And last year, when I finally finished studying for my Nutrition exam, with Andrew Pyper’s The Guardians. Those books enchanted me. I read them all in just a matter of a few days. Like those books, The Witch of Belladonna Bay is constantly on my mind. It’s like it’s seeped into my soul. All I want to do is sit in the sun or snuggle in my bed and get lost in this other world. (Thankfully my BFF is on vacation this week so I’m able to read in the sun during my lunch break. I’m such a dork!)
Maybe this quaint little story about witches is itself enchanted. Who knows? But it’s got me hooked.
I get so lost in these worlds it’s like I’m watching a movie – or living in it. I’m a very vivid reader and the words become so picturesque and move along easily and colorfully. It’s better than TV. Television never calls to me like a good book does.
I have already zipped through 5 books since the start of this summer (I think that’s a record for me), and I can’t wait to start a new one. The only thing, however, is that when I get really involved with a book – like I am right now – I’m always sad at the end…when it’s over. When the adventure concludes. There have been many books that have made me cry and many books that I’ve cried at the finality of the ending. I find no shame in that. I’m a sensitive being and when one becomes so involved in a story – whether it be real, written, or televised – there is no shame in feeling the sorrow in the loss of what seems to have become a good friend, or in the experience itself.
I’m looking forward to finishing TWOBB in the next day or so, but I have a feeling that I have become so wrapped up in, not only the words themselves, but in the emotion this story carries, that I will, at some point before its end, bawl like a baby.
And once that moment is over, I will move on to the next adventure and become enchanted all over again.
If you are from my hometown then you are more than likely familiar with JR’s. If you’re not familiar then let me give you a little background:
JR’s was this little bar – similar to a honky tonk, I’m guessing – that was dark and grungy and known for the people it attracted (if you’re picking up what I’m putting down) and the fights that broke out. It was not my bar of choice, in fact, when I turned 19 and was old enough to drink and go out to the clubs, my mother nearly forbade me from going to JR’s. She didn’t actually forbid me, which is why I did go to that spot on occasion, but it definitely was not my cup of tea. Nor my first choice of dance clubs.
One summer, however, my BFF Kim and I had planned to go to JR’s. It was her first time going and it was a big deal. It was the summer of Ghetto Superstar and we could hardly wait to rock out on the dance floor to that song. (Lord, I’m getting old!) The bar was packed. There is a military base just outside of our town and Saturday nights the boys let loose. JR’s was the bar of choice for these cats. There is also a lot of agricultural business in and surrounding my communities – lots of farming of many types. And a lot of farmers hired outside of Nova Scotia, back then mostly Bajans (read: Barbadians).
The military folk were cocky – arrogant SOBs who walked around like they owned the town, and the Bajans would hit on anything walking upright. These two groups clearly did not see eye-to-eye. (But then again, the military boys didn’t really see eye-to-eye with anyone.)
And then there was us: locals. Valley peeps just out for a good time, having a few drinks, dancing our butts off, and hanging with friends and people we knew from high school.
This night was special though. Kim was my best friend. I always felt like we were soul mates. I partly credit her for helping me bust out of my shell and becoming the hilarious girl I am today; and I had promised her for so long that we would eventually go out to JR’s and we would dance our dance to Ghetto Superstar and it would be a fucking blast! And the night went pretty perfectly. We danced. We had a few drinks. We mingled with friends. It was summer and the night was young fun.
Oh my God the 90’s! That’s me and Kim, Betty and Veronica (I’m the brunette) , the terrible two, gearing up for one of our infamous adventures in SandyLand.
Several times while we were on the dance floor, however, this young, drunk punk kept bumping into us. The guy wasn’t very big but he was completely wasted and he was perpetually on the dance floor (alone) bumping and knocking and grating on everyone’s last nerve. Y’know at first, everyone was like “Meh, it’s all good. We’re cool.” But after so many times you kind of can’t handle much more.
There was another young couple on the dance floor. The guy was clearly military and he and his girl were dancing and making out – but minding their business and having fun. McBumpy danced into them a few times and Military boy was obviously getting more and more annoyed.
When Ghetto Superstar was finally played Kim and I made our way to the center of the dance floor and broke out our dance moves. We were stoked and we were literally having the time of our lives! Then it happened, McBumpy bumped me again and again and again. I know the poor dude was just out for a good time and should have been cut off long before, but I was seriously irritated and when he bumped me for the last time I made sure it was the.last.time.
I shoved him….and bam! He cascaded right into Military dude and his woman. Needless to say, Military dude had had enough by this point and he shoved him back, and then he smoked McBumpy.
This is where it gets realllllly interesting. It was like a domino effect, but in reality, it was just the nature of JR’s. Because right after Military dude punched McBumpy, someone else punched someone else. And then someone else punched someone else….until a full-out brawl broke out. I’m not even kidding. It was like something out of a movie. Dozens of people were fighting. Even the bouncers were sucker-punching people (again, the nature of JR’s). It was REDONKULOUS!
I grabbed Kim’s hand and we made our way outside of the bar as we ducked and avoided getting the shit beat out of us. Once outside, the scenery was exactly the same – fights were erupting everywhere. Bajans and Military and Homeboys and Locals and Bouncers. It was chaos.
One of my friends, who happened to be a former boxer, got a tap on the shoulder in the midst of all this. When he turned around he got sucker-punched. Big mistake! I can still hear the sound of his fist connecting with the other guy’s face!
In the midst of this chaos Kim and I were trying to decipher what the hell we should do and how to get out of that bruhaha. In the distance, we could hear the sirens wailing, and they got closer and closer. Still holding hands, Kim and I bolted through the crowd, dodging fists and slaps, and ran through the back parking lot, through what can only be described as a tiny field back then; running, running, behind buildings, to safety – and far away from what was likely the biggest fight in JR’s history. While we were getting out of Dodge, we looked back and saw NINE police cars already at the bar!! I didn’t even realize our little town had nine police cars! I’m sure more came later.
We roamed, quietly, the streets for a while, staying out of sight, until the hoopla died down, and eventually made our way back to my car and headed home. But the night was so insane that, even though it was probably already 3am, we were so wound up from our crazy adrenaline rush that there’s no way we could have slept. So, we drove to my church parking lot and climbed onto the hood of my Chevy Blazer (Dave) and stared at the stars. The smell of summer is not something one can easily forget. And that night is still vivid in my memory. After a while of us just laying there in silence we cracked. Uncontrollable laughter of what had just happened. And all because we wanted to dance in peace. That night we were ghetto superstars!
When I was in high school I started working at a Tim Horton’s coffee shop. I worked there for 6 years. And I never drank coffee. Ever.
I couldn’t stand the stuff. My dad is a coffee drinker – although I think he preferred instant back then, and my mom is a life-long tea drinker. But neither were for me. In fact, the smell of the coffee at Tim’s gave me terrible heartburn. I didn’t even know that was possible but it happened. Often.
In school, kids would stroll into class with their morning brew in their refill mugs and I would think “WTF? Why are they drinking that ghastly stuff?” Especially because, y’know, we were kids. So, I went through all these years of my life not drinking coffee.
Then one year, in my very early twenties, I went to Montreal with a few friends for my birthday weekend. Two of them had a sporting event, which I watched the first day and was so exhaustingly bored that I wanted to punch myself in the face just to stay awake, that I decided on day two to stay behind in the hotel and hang out by myself for the day. I had some adventures on my own, which, back then was totally unlike me. I hated doing things alone. I needed someone with me at.all.times. (Thankfully I have grown out of that and love having my independent adventures. I wish I could go back to that hotel in Montreal and LIVE IT UP!)
On a stroll around the hotel on my own I came across one of the cleaning ladies’carts. It had an InStyle magazine on it, which, undoubtedly was left behind by one of the other guests after checkout. So, being the badass that I was I snatched the magazine off the cart and kept on my merry way.
Back in my hotel room I devoured the entire magazine, reading each and every article. Actress Minnie Driver was the cover girl and there was a huge fashion spread with Minnie as the model, accompanied by a big article on her. At one part in the interview she talked about getting up in the morning and sitting on her porch in her robe, reading the paper, taking in the scenery, while having her morning coffee.
This is the magazine I ripped off from a cleaning cart.
What? Is this what adults do? Is that what I’m supposed to do? Be a grown up and read the paper* and drink coffee and wear a robe?? (*In my defense, I totally read the newspapers when I worked at Tim’s. They were free reads while on our breaks in our tiny little break room. And it was race to do the Lexicon first on Saturday!)
For some reason, that little article on Minnie has stuck with me all of these years since (and more than likely I probably still have the magazine in a box of other magazines or a desk drawer somewhere around my house). And so, as the years have passed I have made my attempts to become a grown up and drink coffee in the mornings. For a very long time I failed miserably.
And then one day it happened. I had a cup of coffee. Like a real grown up. Maybe it’s because my taste buds have changed since I’ve gotten older – or since I started drinking wine), but I no longer cringed at the smell or the taste of a good brew. I actually look forward to a small mug of joe in the mornings. And, although I could never drink it black, I can enjoy a cup with just a little unsweetened almond milk or blended with a spoonful of coconut oil when I’m doing a Whole 30 program (aka eliminating sugar and all processed foods in all forms, etc.).
Summer is my favorite time – when I can sit outside in the sunshine while reading a book and taking in the scenery. And I love weekend mornings when I can get up and put on a small pot and relax on the couch before getting my day started. Drinking a little coffee in the morning makes me feel like I’m finally adulting. (And thank goodness for Starbucks and whip for when I want to be a kid pretending to adult.)
I’m still working on the robe, though. I have a few but I like my PJ pants and fleece socks and Banana Republic dresses to sleep in and lounge around the house in. I’m not Mrs. Roper!
Isn’t it funny how one little thing can change your perspective? Something as small as a cup of friggin’ coffee in the mornings.
Okay..not really Coco Chanel.
My aunt Donna – whom I love dearly and I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before – moved to British Columbia 5 years ago and broke my heart. She’s my mom’s baby sister and is only a handful of years older than me, therefore being more like a big sister to me. Regardless, I love her. EVEN when she’s being a dick. 😉
This past year Donna’s had some serious health issues and spent several weeks in the hospital – twice. We want her to come home, desperately, but since her hubs is military
we have she has they have to wait to be posted back in Nova Scotia. So we are all waiting. Patiently.
A few months ago Donna got a new kitty – Coco Chanel – and Ms. Coco has been acting as somewhat of a therapy for Donna. They have daily adventures (crazy cat lady, much??) and it’s great because it gets Donna out and moving and in fresh air and having fun. All of which is fantastic. I already love Coco.
Then today Donna sent me this:
Miss Coco Chanel
Fancy face kitty has a great big HEART on her chest. She is love. And she’s healing Donna inside and out.
Today is one of those days that I don’t want to admit to. It’s one of those gorgeous end of summer days when it feels a little more like *gasp* fall.
The sun is shining and it’s warm but there’s a cool
wind breeze and it just doesn’t feel like August. It’s totally a September day.
Other than the wind rustling the trees there’ve been a few other small details I’ve noted today that made me realize the summer is ending.
1) A few individual fallen leaves (and one pretty red one)
It’s not September yet
2) Acorns all over my yard
I slipped on these and darn near killed myself (maybe a slight exaggeration)
But then I look at the beautiful flower garden at the edge of my driveway and I realize that maybe there are still some glorious sunny days ahead.
Happiness in a garden
I’m still looking forward to taking advantage of any opportunities to sit in the sun and being outside and maybe even getting to the beach again.
I have an adventure planned for next weekend (which I am hoping to post about) so I refuse to believe that summer is over. There’s still time left to enjoy.