nora ephron and reading

This week, I finished Nora Ephron’s memoir I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections. Nora wrote one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally, and she’s always been a writer I admired from afar. Having just moved to LA to pursue writing, I’ve made it my goal to learn as much as I can from past and current writers, especially female.

44692051-cached

I love Hollywood memoirs and books about Hollywood stars. I’ve made no question about my love for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, and I also recently finished Amy Schumer’s book, which I enjoyed immensely. One of my favorite books of all time is Kate Remembered, a book written about Katharine Hepburn’s later years, which is fascinating, sweet, and speaks to me for whatever reason.

I believe that I Remember Nothing was Nora Ephron’s final book before she died. (Thanks to Google, I confirmed this as fact). As I read, I felt bittersweet compassion for her. She loved her family, writing, food, and New York City more than anything. She struggled and triumphed, as a woman, as a writer, as a human being, and her best medicine was to write about it.

41ilxqhhtml-_sy344_bo1204203200_

The memoir included a series of essays on topics such as her career in journalism, love of salt and not caring if the chef at a restaurant felt offended by her using it, the fragility of life, realizing that her friends never liked the dessert she baked for Christmas dinner, losing friends, and the things she’d miss and wouldn’t miss in life. In hindsight, this book was her goodbye. I feel privileged to have read this book and experienced, however briefly, life through her eyes.

Sometimes I forget how important it is to read. It’s so much easier to come home at the end of a long day and flip on the tv (okay, laptop for Netflix). Reading requires imagination, effort, thinking. Reading is the easiest way to explore the world, not only to various exotic places in the world, through fiction and non-fiction, but through different minds. Perspectives, we only ever truly know our own, but we can learn so much from others. Be it if they invite you in and share it, if you observe it, or if you accept it.

My goal is to read a book a week, which feels ambitious, sadly, if I’m being honest. But if I can watch a season of a television show in a week, then I can spend a few hours reading.

Strength in Nature

Yesterday’s workout consisted of a strength training circuit that focused on moves meant to support the big six I did the day before. I focused on higher reps and lower weights, running through the circuit four times with twelve reps each. I did bicep curls, shoulder raises, tricep extensions, front raises, weighted lunges, and deadlift squats to high raises. After, I ran through a core circuit, same amount of sets and reps- kneeling kickbacks, mermaid raises, v push ups, hundreds to v ups, hip lifts, and bicycle crunches. For cardio, I hopped in the pool for a 40 minute lap swim.

At home, I was glad to have leftovers for lunch so that I wasn’t in a rush to get off to work. This chickpea dish is delicious, though next time, I think I’ll be more contemplative when it comes to spices. I like spices, but I don’t know how to utilize them in my recipes, so more research must be done! A piece of buttered raisin toast and a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter and a handful of grapes completed my meal.

IMG_3740

I’m loving all the standing work entails! My hips and butt don’t feel as sore from sitting all day and I can already feel my legs grow stronger as they get accustomed to standing so much again. Nothing was quite like teaching when it came to standing/running around all day!

Dinner was a plate with crockpot buffalo chicken, broccoli, asparagus, and red peppers with a drizzle of ranch over everything. I had a separate bowl for some macaroni and cheese. After a long day, it was a great way to end things.

IMG_3747

I curled up to read for awhile after before drifting off to sleep.

This morning, I took the time to whip up my favorite peanut butter pancakes. They were delightful topped with more peanut butter, jelly, and shredded coconut and paired with a side of bananas and blueberries. I’m still full with these protein and nutrient dense cakes! They’re quite pretty too!

IMG_3748

Now’s time to talk about what gave me strength yesterday, something I promised in another post, but didn’t get to it last night. After work, I was walking outside with my friend when we saw lightning a way’s away from us. It was strange because there was no thunder and it wasn’t raining, so it was just one of those heat things. I tried to get a picture that captured the beauty of the illuminated night sky, but I don’t think I did it justice.

IMG_3745

Standing in a field, surrounded by nature, filled me with the realization of how insignificant the small and petty things in life are. We always need reminders of this. The gift of having seen this lightning show for just a few minutes helped me to see that strength is not always something we seek. Sometimes it entails going out into the world and living in it. These small blessings surround us every day.

*A brief aside: There may be good in this world, but terrible things do still happen, like earlier this morning during the news broadcast. I don’t know why we keep hurting each other and why we remain immobilized from making changes. Living in a world where we’re afraid to live in it (and validated in that fear), is not much of a life at all. For now, we can focus on the victims. Be kinder, love harder, do good.

To All Who Celebrate and Those Who Don’t

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Many Blessings, or simply Well Wishes. I love my family and I am so happy to be blessed to share with them once again these memories. That, to me, is the most important part of Christmas- that doesn’t have to do with religious purposes.

I hope you all are just as lucky, but I won’t pretend there is not painful strife and suffering in this world. It’s all the more reason to love, be grateful, but attentive to this world and all that it offers, good and bad.

Enjoy, indulge, but don’t forget.

Merry Christmas!

In Remembrance

I am not a poet and I know that this is late, but I have been trying to think about what to say about this day. I remember I had just started middle school, was starting my first full week, and all I could think about was that we were burying my Nana that day. I cried then because I was scared and sad as so many were. Now able to reflect and understand, I cry because of how truly devastating that day was for this country. I remember too the pride and love that swelled up in this country. Violence and hatred are horrific plagues that do not care for its victims. We do though and we remember the lives lost, the brave heroes who sacrificed everything, and the feeling of strength as we came together to fight against hate.

13 years and the pain is still raw.

Here is a poem I wrote in reflection.

13 years and the memories are still clear.
An attack on this nation filled hearts with fear.
We only grew stronger, together united.
Our reserve never wavered, couldn’t be blighted.
Never forget, we stand as one.

Our heroes, the victims, none of their differences mattered.
The weight of our grief, our hearts were shattered.
They were us and we were them too.
So many lives taken from us too soon.
Never forget, we stand as one.

Yet there is still oppression and hate that runs rampant.
Violence in schools and on the streets, we’re broken into fragments.
We come from different places, thoughts, and ideals.
Have we become so numb to the ways in which hurt feels?
Never forget, we stand as one.

Sometimes our daily routines and lives absorb and blind us.
But let’s try for some appreciation, love, and kindness.
There may always be outside forces that aim to destroy this.
Let’s not allow ignorance and naïveté to run amiss.
Never forget, we stand as one.

To be proud of this nation like we were on that day.
We have to listen to others and hear what they say.
Differences in people have the power to make this world stronger.
Prejudice and inequality will define this country no longer.
Never forget, we stand as one.

On this day we look only to honor the people we lost.
To ponder, reflect, and remember hate’s cost.
Death and destruction cares not for its victims.
But we do, so much, everyday we miss them.
Never forget, we stand as one.

A Little Bit Of Mushiness Never Hurt Anyone

On this would be Rave Review Tuesday, I have little to offer in that department since I am finishing my re-read of Harry Potter and my assumption is you will soon be tired of me talking about it. Perhaps next week, when I am officially done (for now), I will offer my perspective on the series. For now however, I haven’t seen or read anything new in awhile.

I will say that I must be getting older because I had no idea what “bae” meant until less than an hour ago. The bad part about this is that I thought I knew and I was wrong, which is just embarrassing. I thought it was another term for “beau” or lover, but in fact it means, “before anything else.” I mean, who even comes up with that? My cousin Michael had to tell me.

On a more serious note, to something that connects but does not necessarily seem to, I am realizing that it has now been 13 years since my grandfather has passed. Since graduating high school, I would say that time has appeared to be moving at a much faster clip than I realized before, but perhaps I’ve just done more in my life in these past years. Maybe I have a better understanding of how precious time is. However, it seems odd that the summer of 2001 could have been that long ago. It strikes me that I have lived a longer life without him than I did with him.

I’ve always believed that it borders on unfair that, if we are among the lucky ones to even get them at this point, we have our grandparents with us in our younger years. It is a blessing and a curse because we need them in our formative years, to love and influence us. But we also need them as we get older, to guide us and support us in a way that no other person can. I lost my grandfather when I was 11 years old, but I wish more than anything I had him now, because I was far too young to appreciate him.

Grandparents should be cherished, and this is something I wish to impress upon my own children one day. I love hearing stories that my father, uncles, or grandma tell me more about the person my grandpa was. I know that he loved Pepsi, and even though I don’t drink soda, whenever I see a blue can, I smile and think of him. I know that he worked hard for his large family every day of his life, despite the struggles and hardships bestowed upon him. I know that he loved my grandma and his family very much and I was among them.

Not a day passes that I don’t wonder what he might think of me now. I mourn for him and for the memories that, however revered, are no longer as strong after so long. I mourn also for the questions I never asked, for the hugs I didn’t get to give, and for the wisdom I could have learned from him had I had the capacity and understanding to sit down and really listen.

I would never go as far as to say these moments and those memories are wasted on the youth, because that wouldn’t be fair. But I do try to live my life with a little more purpose, an open mind, and a curiosity that stretches towards the ones I love and what makes them, them.

We all have our life stories. These stories are all fraught with obstacles and pain, but love and imagination so brilliant that even if not able to be shared with the world, are shared with the people closest to us. That is far more important than how many reads I get on this blog that aren’t my family members and friends who I’ve pressured into reading, or how many Twitter followers I try to accumulate with my witticisms.

Over the past year especially, I feel as though I have reconnected, or maybe strengthened is the better term, my relationships with aunts, uncles, and cousins. Family is important, essential to the building block who a person is, and I am incredibly lucky to say that I have a wonderful family. Every single one of them, immediate or extended, are remarkable people.

At the risk of sounding mushy, I will say that the anniversary of my grandpa’s death has brought much perspective and reflection upon this past year, as well as the last 13 we’ve lived without him.

I just want to say that I miss him and for me, my best way of coping is to express myself through writing. If you can do one thing today, tomorrow, or for the rest of your life, hug someone, anyone, and everyone who you love and sit with them, listen, and learn who they are, what they have to say, and in turn, share yourself.

Okay, so that’s two things.

I no longer want to be missing the moments I didn’t have because I will be sure now to make them happen.

RIP Grandpa. You are very much missed.