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Showing posts from April, 2012

Z is for Zoos

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Well, we've done it fellow A-Zers; completed the A-Z Blogging Challenge and done so with style.  I stumbled upon so many wonderful blogs throughout this month and want to thank everyone who checked mine out.  Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts with me and for allowing me to do the same.  And now for the last letter in this wonderful challenge....Z...
Zoos There is something magical about zoos.  No matter how old you are, a zoo brings you right back to your childhood and fills you with this incredible sense of wonder.  Perhaps it has to do with the fact that you're looking at animals that you normally don't see walking down the street.  Whatever it is, I think that going to zoos should become more of a regular activity in our lives.  This can be accomplished relatively inexpensively in some places.  For instance, the Oregon Zoo is free for every visitor on Tuesday.  Granted, Tuesdays are not the most convenient, but it's a start.  They also put on concerts i…

Y is for "You are Calm and Reposed"

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You are calm and reposed...
"You are calm and reposed / Let your beauty unfold / Pale white, like the skin stretched over your bones / Spring keeps you ever close / You are second-hand smoke / You are so fragile and thin, standing trial for your sins / Holding on to yourself the best you can / You are the smell before rain / You are the blood in my veins"

These are my all-time favorite lyrics from Brand New's "The Boy who Blocked his Own Shot" off of their second album, Deja Entendu.  Soooooo good.  Definitely one of my most loved songs as well.  Check it out.
 Have a lovely Saturday everyone!

X is for "The X in My Name"

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We're coming in to the homestrech of the A-Z Blogging Challenge and it's time for one of the most difficult letters of the alphabet...that pesky X.  Here's my solution:

The X in My Name (1993)
the poor
signature
of my illiterate
and peasant
self
giving away
all rights
in a deceiving
contract for life

Francisco X. Alarcon...brilliant.
An interview with Fransisco X. Alarcon for Colorin Colorado where he discusses his cultural heritage and how it shaped his poetry.  It's long, but good.
TGIF fellow A-Zers...remember whe that was good television?!

W is for World Competitions

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World Competitions
I like big sporting competitions, especially those that bring together multiple nations and cultures.  There is something magical about them.  Some of my favorites are:
The World Cup (both men's and women's) Oh man, oh man, oh man...the World Cup is a party in my world.  As I stated in a previous post, I am a huge, huge, huge soccer fan and this competition is one of my all-time favorites.  Everything from the qualifiers to the championship game, I'm down with.  I'm able to cheer on the good ole USA (though the men's team hardly make it as far as I want them to) and my favorite team, Germany.  Good deal!  When it comes to the Women's World Cup...USA all the way!  Next one...Brazil 2014! The Euro Cup Definitely along the same lines as the above, but this competition is awesome all on its own.  It fuses my love of Europe with soccer.  Word.  Again, my lovely German national team is always in it for the win...and Spain.  I do like Spain.  Next one...…

V is for Vienna

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Vienna, Austria Oh Vienna, land of Mozart, Sachertorte, Kaesekraeners, and delicious Eis.  I spent an amazing year living in Vienna in 2006/2007 teaching English just north of the city in Klosterneuburg.  The school I taught in specialized in wine production and vineyards...sweet deal!  Needless to say I learned a lot about wine and was even able to sample some of the bottles my students helped to cultivate.  Pretty awesome.  While living in the city (right near the Suedbahnhof), I had the opportunity to explore a lot of things.  Here are just a few:









 Blog on fellow A-Zers.  We're nearing the end :)

Teaser Tuesday...In the Between

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Though I'm still reading Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I have picked up a read to break the heftiness of it up.  Something that can be plowed through quickly and that I can easily read between spurts of Tattoo.  That book is Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  I found this, randomly, at Wal-Mart (I know, I know) on the cheap.  It sounded good, so I picked it up and here you go:

"Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth?  That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch" (27).
This looks like a pretty good read to me and it's been decent so far.  Fingers crossed that it continues to be so.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

U is for Utopia

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Utopia
I've always meant to read Thomas More's Utopia...pretty much since I watch Ever After starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston (I love that movie despite Barrymore's atrocious British accent and the fact that everyone has a British accent yet it's set in France).  Recently I found an extremely inexpensive copy of the book and am bound and determined to start is soon.  Here's hoping it's sooner rather than later.
Take a peak at the trailer for the movie...good stuff.  Have a terrific day everyone!

T is for Traveling

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Holy moly do I love
Traveling I've always liked the idea of discovering new places, but have hated the actual means of getting there.  It could have been due to the fact that I had a tendency to get car sick if I wasn't sitting in the front seat.  This was true when I was a child because we ALWAYS drove whenever we went on vacation;  Disneyland...Vegas...Seattle...anyplace within pseudo driving distance.  Once I entered college I decided to branch out in my traveling repertoire.  I had been on a plane once when I was fourteen.  It was a two hour flight to Vegas.  Who goes to Vegas when they're fourteen?!?  For spring break of 2003, my friend Dani and I decided that we were going to go somewhere crazy.  Cue Japan.  That's right...Japan.  Going from a two hour flight to a seventeen hour flight...BIG DIFFERENCE!  It's a long, exhausting flight from Portland, Oregon to Okinawa, Japan, but it was one of the best vacations ever.  Seeing such a different culture was amazing…

(Best Friends) Forever

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Initially I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Foreverbecause I'm not much of a Chick Lit reader, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It was entertaining, engaging, and I always wanted to see what would happen next.  Perhaps this was more a reflection of Weiner's writing style rather than the genre; I guess I'll have to explore it a little more.

Friends follows the tumultuous relationship between Addie and Valerie.  They first meet when they are nine years old and become immediate friends.  As the two grow older, they experience the harsh realities of middle school and, more devastating, high school.  It is during a specific episode in high school where their friendship is changed forever.  Fast forward twenty years later and it is time for their high school reunion.  Valerie has become a pseudo local celebrity while Addie has never moved away and continued to work from her childhood home.  Addie refuses to go to the reunion and soon Valeria sh…

S is for Silvestersfeiern

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Welcome to Saturday...the day of S.  Today stands for
Silvestersfeiern Oh what a fun, interesting, and sometimes life-threatening time.  Silvestersfeiern is the New Years celebration in Vienna, Austria.  It's the culmination of the month+ long holiday celebrations and it's freakin' nuts-o-pants!  Much like Hogmany, Silvestersfeiern is one ginormous street party.  City center is already a strictly pedestrian zone in Vienna from 6am to 4am, so they don't have to worry about blocking streets off.  The majority of the crowd gathers in front of Stephansdom and the immediate surrounding area to dance the night away to live music and fireworks, the majority of which are lit off by spectators in the crowd.  Needless to say you feel like you're going deaf because of the constant explosions echoing off of the buildings and you are also constantly on edge because you have absolutely no idea where the next firework will go off.  It could be right next to you...or around the corn…

R is for "Richard Cory"

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"Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson accomplishes two things; 1) it knocks out the letter R for the A-Z Challenge and 2) it falls under Poetry Fridays.  Sweet!  So, without further ado, here ya go:

"Richard Cory"  (1897) Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said, "Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich--yes, richer than a king-- And admirably schooled in every grace: In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the meat, and cursed the bread; And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.
I love this poem for several reasons.  First, it sounds so nice and pleasa…

Q is for Quaint Cottages

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I don't know what it is, but there is something so magical about
Quaint Cottages I've always loved them and it's even better if they're located along the beach.  One day I will have one to call my own.  Until then, I will placate myself with these lovely ones... Hope your Thursday is magical and cozy...just like these cottages.  Happy A-Zing :)

P is for the Portland Timbers

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P is for....
The Portland Timbers I am a HUGE soccer fan, have been since I was a child, and was incredibly stoked when Portland won the bid to host an MLS team, the Portland Timbers, a couple years ago.  I mean, poor Oregon...we don't really have any professional teams aside from the Trail Blazers, who might as well be a high school team the way they've played this season.  Finally we have something!  Back in the day we had a semi-professional team with the North American Soccer League, but that became defunct in the early 80s.  When talk started going around about adding another team to the MLS roster, Portland jumped at the chance to be their new home.  The Northwest, and Portland in particular, are hotbeds for soccer supporters and investors knew that having a team would be a lucrative business for the city and the state as a whole.  One of the conditions was finding a suitable playing field in the area.  Enter PGE Park, home of the Portland Beavers minor league baseball tea…

Teaser Tuesday...Girl's Got Tats

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I'm finally settling down to read the, much hyped, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson.  I've been excited for this read and have refused to watch either of the films based on the book.  Hopefully it's as good as everyone keeps saying :)


"'Salander shut her eyes, wishing that the floor would stop pitching under her feet.  She was in a state of mental paralysis.  She was hung over.  This situation was unreal, and her brain was refusing to function.  Never had she met one of her subjects face to face" (359).


I've been excited to read this series for a long time and have finally decided to do it.  Yay!

O is for Oregon Breweries

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O...there are a lot of things that I could write about that start with this letter, but I'm going to talk about:

Oregon Breweries I  have to say that Oregon has some pretty dang good breweries.  In fact, the state as a whole is ranked fourth in the nation as having the most breweries per capita with 105.  Portland alone has 32, making it the number 1 city in the US per capita.  That's a lot of beer floating around a state with a population of 3.8 million.  Below are some of my favorite breweries.
#1:  Calapooia Brewing Located in downtown Albany, Oregon, the Calapooia Brewing Company has been around for almost twenty years.  It's first on my list because of a few reasons.  1) It's local and never more than a ten minute drive away.  2) Live music and dart competitions are regular activities.  3) Their Chili Beer is out of this world.  That's right people, Chili Beer.  Brewed with Jalapenos, Serrano, and Anaheim chili peppers, it's a spicy amber beer that pairs perfe…

N is for Newport, Oregon

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One of my all-time favorite places in the world begins with the letter N:

Newport, Oregon I've been visiting Newport for as long as I can remember.  There really isn't a time that I can recall not going to Newport.  The nice thing about this absolutely fantastic coastal town is that it's only a mere 40 minute drive from my house; perfect for a day trip!  Honestly, there isn't much to recommend the town (locals want to get out, outsiders want to get in), but there is such charm in certain areas that it makes me love it even more.  Some of my favorites about Newport:
Favorite Coffee Shop and Bakery:  Panini Bakery Located on NE Coast in the historic Nye Beach area of Newport, Panini Bakery is pure heaven.  Not only do they serve the best coffee and tea in town, they make everything fresh and in house every morning:  caramel sauce, lemonade, granola, bread, muffins, cakes, pastries, soups, and their famous pizza.  The atmosphere in this place is something else.  Pulsing with …