Happy New-vember!

Hey, I'm back!  I don't know about you, but I couldn't be happier that it's finally November.  I feel as though I've hardly had a second to breathe since...I don't know...last spring?!  I'll get to the reason for my oh-so-clever blog title in just a moment, but first, let me give you a quick update on life (well, all five of you who read my blog, that is...).

To begin, I cannot BELIEVE it's been over a year since I last wrote a blog entry...what the heck have I been doing with myself?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I couldn't tell you what I've been up to over the past 16 months...I guess I've been working and working and probably working some.  Last year, much like the year before, I spent teaching during the day and then tutoring after school, followed by a summer of teaching summer school.  This does not leave much extra time for blogging...then, throw in stuff I do at church, well, that leaves me just about enough time to eat, sleep, and maybe read a few books every now and then.  I have a new internet obsession, too...Pinterest.  It's pretty much unbelievably amazing, and much like facebook, I can be on it for over an hour and not realize I've wasted approximately one-fourteenth of my day...truth be told, it's a bit ridiculous.  Let's see...I now have a nephew...that's new since last June.  We knew he was on the way back then, but now he's here and he's almost a year old.  He's pretty much the most awesome little guy in the whole wide world and I just love to squeeze him!  Umm...I can't think of anything else too exciting that's been happening lately...I know that "lately" is a somewhat relative term...it typically describes what's been going on over the past few weeks...not years...but, what can I say...I'm a lame-o slacker...Oh, and speaking of being a slacker, I've done like, next-to-nothing on my list and now I have only a little over a year left to finish it.  I really need to get on that.  Some things are already out, like save a dollar a day...that lasted a whole 210 days...wash and vacuum my car monthly...I think that lasted about 8 months before it got old.  I don't know what I was thinking when I put stuff on my list that required regular commitment...shoot, I don't even have enough consistency in my life to remember to take a vitamin everyday and I expected to keep up with certain things for 1001 days?!  Yeah, right...well, I'm nothing if not ambitious...

Now, to my well-crafted, punny blog title, "Happy Newvember"...You may not know it (especially if you don't know me well or see me on a regular basis), but I've been feeling a little...low.  My mood, my energy, everything's been kinda...blurgh.  I've been concentrating on this a great deal lately, because I'm actually a very happy-go-lucky, joyful, smiley person and it feels weird to have this yucky-ness.  So, I thought about it and prayed about it, and I think I've found the root of the problem.  I have this tendency to be a "compare-er" (I'm going to use this word because I don't want to think of myself as jealous or envious...).  I tend to look at other people and then compare myself to them.  It's never really a monetary/material thing like, "Wow, look at that awesome house...I wish I had a house like that!"  It's more like, "Man, look at how organized ______ is...I wish I had it together like her/him," or "Oh, I'd love to have a job like that," or "I wish I had time to do stuff like _______ does," etc.  I find myself constantly comparing where I am in my life to where other people my age are in theirs and it is becoming quite maddening.  So, here's why it's "Happy Newvember"...I've decided to try to stop comparing myself with other people.  If I've learned anything over the past few years, it's that nobody's life is perfect...everyone's got their own little issues to wrestle with, even if no one else knows about them.  That person that I think has an awesome job, might have to deal with a husband/wife that doesn't appreciate them.  That person that seems like they have it all together might be totally anxious about things that I think are no big deal.  I've got a lot of wonderful people/things going on in my life and I'm going to start concentrating on that instead of what I think other people have that I don't.  Maybe you deal with the same thing.  I'd be willing to bet if you're female and you're reading this, that you've felt the same way a time or two before...so, my challenge to you is to join me in my Newvember festivities and instead of simply being thankful for what you have this November, let what you have be enough.  Wish me luck on my new plan and I'd love your prayers along the way! :)

"A Good Book Has No Ending"

I promise not all of my blogs are going to revolve around the list, but then again, I can't really guarantee that...so...I guess I shouldn't promise it.  Number 22 is to "Read 50 of the Top 100 Books according to Random House."  Well, upon further review of this, I found out that Random House actually has two lists of Top 100 Books, The Board's List and The Reader's List.  Now, there are several books that appear on both lists, so in order to compile my list of 50, I started there.  The first 25 or so on my list appear on both of the Random House's lists.  The rest are then a pretty even mixture of books from both lists.  In full disclosure, I did include a few books that I have already read.  I did this because I "read" these books in high school or college, but I don't remember them very well...I'm not really quite sure I actually read them...So, without further ado, here's my reading list:

  1.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
  2.  Ulysses - James Joyce
  3.  Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  4.  The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
  5.  Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  6.  Lolita - Vladamir Nabokov
  7.  Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
  8.  1984 - George Orwell
  9.  I, Claudius - Robert Graves
10.  To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
11.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
12.  Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut
13.  Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
14.  Animal Farm - George Orwell
15.  As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
16.  Lord of the Flies - William Golding
17.  The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
18.  Light in August - William Faulkner
19.  On the Road - Jack Kerouac
20.  The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
21.  The Catcher in the Rye - JD Sallinger
22.  A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
23.  A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
24.  Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
25.  The Call of the Wild - Jack London
26.  The Magus - John Fowles
27.  One Lonely Night - Mickey Spillane
28.  The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
29.  Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler
30.  An American Tragedy - Theodore Drieser
31.  Native Son - Richard Wright
32.  All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
33.  The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder
34.  Howard's End - E M Forster
35.  Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin
36.  The Heart of the Matter - Graham Greene
37.  Deliverance - James Dickey
38.  The Maltese Falcon - Dasheill Hamlet
39.  Scoop - Evelyn Waugh
40.  Sophie's Choice - William Styron
41.  Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
42.  Battlefield Earth - L Ron Hubbard
43.  Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
44.  A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45.  The Handmaid's Tale -  Margaret Atwood
46.  Tropic of Cancer - Henry Miller
47.  Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
48.  Something Wicked this Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
49.  The Door Into Summer - Robert Heinlen
50.  It - Stephen King

Good thing I really like to read!  I've thought about making a short list of alternates just in case I start reading one of these books and it's so bad that I can't finish it...oh well, I'll cross that bridge is I get there, but rest assured, you'll get a review of each one that I read.

Have you read any of these books?  What's your review?

~Blevins - out!

From Here to Eternity

Well, I watched my first movie for the list.  It was From Here to Eternity (1953), starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra (love him!).  It takes place in Hawaii just before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  The entire movie is centers around these Army guys.  This one guy (Prew, played by Montgomery Clift) gets transferred to Hawaii and the Captain finds out he’s a good boxer.  Unfortunately, Prew doesn’t want to box anymore so the Captain decides to make his life really difficult by always getting him in trouble and stuff.  Prew is able to rise above some of this by meeting and falling in love with this chick played by Donna Reed.  He also becomes buddies with the guy played by Frank Sinatra (both Sinatra and Reed won Oscars for their supporting roles in this movie).   There’s this other guy named Milton played by Burt Lancaster.  He’s a sergeant that has a soft spot for Prew and tries to take care of him, but he’s kinda busy having an affair with the Captain’s wife, played by Deborah Kerr.  There’s a scene on the beach between Lancaster and Kerr that many people say is one of the best love scenes ever.  I guess it was ok.  I definitely liked the fact that it was not nearly as gratuitous as “love” scenes today, but I didn’t really get all that emotional about it.  Overall, it had a kinda crappy ending, but then again, war never is all that pretty (even though all of this movie happens before America entered WWII) and not all movies can end happily-ever-after.  I really love movies about this time in history (WWII) and I imagine that this was quite a ground breaking movie since it was made less than ten years after the war had ended.  I’m glad I watched this movie, it was worth it…plus, it had Ernest Borgnine in it too, and he will always hold a special place in my heart…(because he’s Mermaid Man in Spongebob Squarepants…)

~Blevins - out!

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