Monday, September 29, 2014

Escapism in writing

I wish looked this poised when I wrote
As promised in my post "Writer's confession... I am a bad writer" I was going to post more about my story. Lately I have had some feelings of wanting to be "anywhere but here"... I don't know why because my life feels like it is going well. I have moved into my new apartment and it already feels more like home than my last place. But I think spending some time with my story will help not only stay sane during this crazy time of working on my thesis and will allow me enough escapism it will fulfill my want to runaway. Don't worry Boston friends I have no thoughts to actually runaway... but a little escapism is good for the soul. 

So I am escaping into my creative writing...

How I picture Lady Adelaide
Lady Adelaide was beyond kind to the girls, she had brought down all the dolls from the nursery for Gloria to play with, and she searched the library for books she thought would interest Mattie. They ranged from in poetry of Keats to Shakespeare, and my favorite of Jane Austen. She also brought down some Dickens and an author Mattie had yet heard of Henry James. Lady Adelaide explained he was an American who had come over to England at the turn of the century and wrote novels commenting on society.

            "I read them when I first came here and found them very useful to help me navigate the ropes of London society."

Mattie enjoyed taking in the knowledge of America, she couldn't really even imagine what it must be like. Even though Mattie knew it was a completely different country she did wonder how the customs could be so different, but the way Lady Adelaide spoke it seemed completely foreign to her. Mattie also simply couldn't picture how Lady Adelaide, with her sweet demeanor and genteel spirit, would have any society. But Mattie did enjoy hearing the stories of Lady Adelaide's first season in London.

            "Mother always talks about the season as if it is the most glorious time in the whole year, but I can hardly imagine it. I doubt I will have such a grand time."

            "Of course you will. I will make sure of it. You are too good to be a wall flower for your own presentation."

            "But to be surrounded by strangers all the time, I do not think I could handle it."

            "I will be there," Lady Adelaide patted Mattie's hand. "I will hold your hand the whole time and introduce you the finest people. Make sure you have only the best partners. It will be perfect."

            "It is still years away."

A presentation
            "Well then all the more to prepare you. I remember my own presentation. My mother had quickly made friends with Lady Cumnor and she was my escort to many events. My mother had custom order my dress from Charles Worth and with more silk than I had ever worn and such delicate beading, I felt like a princess. In fact I met then King that night, well he was the Prince of Wales then, but his grandeur was awestriking."

            "You met the King?" Mattie was in wonder.

            "Yes he was quite regal, everything a prince should be. He had such a way about hi that made you feel as if you are the only person in the room though he is always surrounded by a rather large entourage."

            "I cannot imagine what I would say to him. I would probably so tongue tied I would not be able to say a word."

            "You would thing that but oddly when you are with him while you are in his presence of such greatness you also feel completely at home. At least I did, when we danced."

            "I hardly think he would notice me. I am a little nothing."

 It had been a week a since Lady Adelaide told Mattie that she was beautiful, but Mattie treasured these words. She was probably the only person to call Mattie beautiful and how Mattie had felt a blush when Lady Adelaide had said it. It wasn't that Mattie was not good-looking, but for most of her life she was never told those words. Her mother had always doted on Daphne's loveliness and Gloria's darling looks. Mattie just skipped in the background and for the most part she wanted it that way. She had gotten used to the notion that her looks were plain and that nothing really distinguished her. Though no one had come right out and told her she was plain, she had hard time believing she had any true beauty.

The next day Mattie was on her way to Lady Adelaide but Mrs. Gardner stopped her. Usually Lady Adelaide sent her motor for Mattie but today Mattie wanted to walk and pick wildflowers for Lady Adelaide. She had told Mattie on a visit that wildflowers were her favorite and with the weather being so fair this summer the country provided many options. Mrs. Gardner would not let Mattie leave as word had Ripon that Mr. and Mrs. Harrington would be home within the hour. Mrs. Gardner was certain that they would be disappointed if Mattie was not home. Mattie doubted her mother and father would even notice her presence.

Father had his eyes on Marcus. He was the heir and father had great plans to set him up in the family business of the mill. It did not matter to father that Marcus had no intention of following his footsteps. Marcus was the heir and that was that.
How I imagine Mattie
Mother had eyes for Daphne as she was the charmer of the family and they all knew for the family to rise any sort of way she would have to make a superb match. Even though Daphne was only fifteen these plans were set in stone. Mattie ever wondered if it ever broke Daphne's heart knowing whatever Shane did he would never be considered to be a suitor for Daphne. Daphne's dreams of being Mrs. Shane Gray would never come true that was just a simple reality. Mother also gave some attention to Gloria as she was the baby of the family and the miracle child. Even with her baby fat it was obvious she would be a beauty as well. Though mother doted on her at seven years old mother still saw her as a bit of nuisance as she could not carry on a conversation of great importance and she was just beginning her lessons in music and French. Nevertheless, whenever mother had friends over they always found Gloria quite enjoyable and that kept Gloria in mother's good graces. It is a woman's duty to be a mother rather they had the loving hand to do it was not always certain.
Mattie was neither the heir, the beauty, or the baby and often thought she had no place at Southerton Greens except to be pleasant when noticed, invisible when not, and agreeable in both situations. Mother did give Mattie a kiss on the cheek when she said hello and father patted her on the head as if Mattie was a good puppy. Then they disappeared until before dinner. Mattie doubted they would have noticed her absence and she longed to be at Cranston Court where Lady Adelaide would be sitting alone. 

Stay tuned for further developments by following the Grand Days tags

Friday, September 26, 2014

A sister is a wonderful thing

Our first pic together... already being the protective sister

I have posted shout outs to my friends and various family members on their birthday's or special occasions... So today I am giving a shout out to my sister on her birthday. She probably doesn't know what an inspiration she is for me. She inspires me in her faith, her marriage and what kind of mom she is... if there was one person I would change life with it would be her. We didn't always get along but I know she will always have my back and protect me.

There are not many "sister" songs out there but here is a song from our past
"Sisters" from White Christmas. 

We had dance skills

Oh the back rubs

Over the years we had such style...

and poise.
I remember loved being tossed up and down.
and our snuggle times

Time with the grandparents was awesome

but nothing as awesome as sister time..
Visiting Harvard

Celebrating her little one to be..

Visiting D.C. with future niece in tow.

My first ski trip... she was so patient with me

My first trip to Denver at the Molly Brown house

Sister love is the best
Celebrating her big day

We let some others into our sister time... but they have only been great additions
At the zoo with niece

In Florida

With her then husband-to-be

Mom (Nana) and the lovely kids

These pictures are not all in order... 
it was great going through them and going through all the memories.
Love you, H.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday afternoon flick

I took some down time this weekend from my thesis to recharge and I treated myself to a cute afternoon flick on Sunday.

I watched the movie What to Expect when Your Expecting. Kind of like the title suggest it is about couples getting ready to have a baby. 

The story focuses on five couples getting ready to have their first child. Wendy (Elizabeth Banks) is apparently a baby expert with her own baby supply store but has actually never had her own baby, has been trying with her husband for two years, and as soon as they stop trying she gets pregnant. Only to find out her husband's much younger step-mom is pregnant and is not suffering from any typical pregnant problems, which irks her to no end. Jules (Cameron Diaz) is a weight loss reality TV host and meets her baby daddy, Evan (Matthew Morrison), while doing a celebrity dance contest. Holly (Jennifer Lopez) and her husband, Alex, are preparing to adopt, but Alex is a little hesitant about having a baby so Holly sends him off to "Daddy Group" enter Vic (Chris Rock) and his gang. I remember the trailers and I kind of thought all the cute parts were going to be in the trailers and that with Chris Rock and his gang it might be a bit crude... but I was surprised by the tender moments and the sappy moments that made me tear up.

What I liked- I didn't see her in the trailer so I was surprised when Anna Kendrick (Rosie) and Marco (Chace Crawford) showed up. They are the young couple and don't have any true connection with other characters so could have easily been left out of the plot, I am glad they were kept in, as they provided some tender moments in the story.
Also I ended up liking the dads... they were a little ridiculous at the beginning but when push comes to shove they are good guys. And Chris Rock saying "he thought he was happy till he became a dad" was super sweet. 
The dads
I think the part I liked the most was watching the transformation of Alex... at first he is unsure of having a baby and the whole adoption process but at the end he loves his little boy.
Alex at the beginning

What I didn't like- There were a lot of characters and while most of them live in Atlanta and have a few bonds in between, there wasn't a need for all the plot lines. For instance: Ramsey (Dennis Quaid) and his much younger wife... mother-ish-in-law to Wendy, and his story line probably wasn't needed though it did provide some background to Wendy's and her husband's. Also while I liked the Jules and Evan plot line and they had some cute moments, they really had no connection to the other characters as they lived in LA. Though all the characters had some darling moments I think a plot line could have been dropped in order to develop characters a little deeper. As a former Gleek though I liked seeing Matthew Morrison in another role.
Over all: Cute movie- I think I would classify it as good Sunday Afternoon Flick if you don't want to watch football. Though I don't know how realistic it is... I am sure my sister, a duola, would probably find fault in it (film is not really realistic for the labor process). 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

From my thesis cave

They will make memes about anything
Academic Tim Gunn... who knew, right?

Hello lovely readers,

I feel my life right now is pretty much my thesis but I want to keep you guys updated with my life and my progress on my work... so sorry it might be kind of boring. But I have good things to share.

Going back to last spring, I was suppose to be working on my thesis. Well I kind of hit a wall. I wasn't really inspired to work so I put together a very sloppy outline and my adviser called me out on it. And after that I felt emotionally and mentally crippled and I hid in my bed watching the West Wing.
I love Charlie

In late spring or early summer I found a great resource that was a survey done in 1907-1909 about what working women were spending their money on. Well I dissected that but I felt like while I had was data and I wasn't sure what to do with it. With the push of another professor I took the information and started making patterns from the data I collected. Then when I discovered the most popular items, I started doing research on those particular items and what was said about them. I also found a few advice pamphlets and books about how working women should behave. I am using my survey and the advice literature to shape my thesis... I won't go into anymore as it might get boring.

A friend of mine just reminded me this week "that with PhDs and Masters, you get them done when you are ready"... well I am ready. Over the summer while I was doing a good junk of research I also started working on my outline. Well I had to go to my thesis adviser and get it approved. I felt very nervous about this because the last time I met with my adviser it didn't go so well, As I was walking up the stairs to the third floor (history department) my heart started racing and I had to take deep breaths.

I won't go over all the details of the meeting... but she totally approved of my outline and said it looked totally feasible and she gave me good questions to look into and explore more in my paper. Phew. She also said I am a little ahead of the game. YEAH!  I told her that I was doing a happy dance in my head.

So I am now working on my historiography essay, which is part of my introduction, but it discusses previous work done on this topic then I state why my research is important and the niche my thesis fills.

My happy moment of my week: I was in my school's coffee shop area and I sat down the novel I was reading and the girl next to me said "whoa that is a big book... what class is that for?" My response: "Its not, its just a novel I am reading for fun." Her eyes really widened.  It is only 660 pages (not that big) but I was happy to impress someone with my large books.

Also it is amazing after working on my thesis yesterday for about 6 hours how wonderful doing laundry is.

That is all for now... will keep you posted on other things in and outside my thesis cave (aka my room).
Who doesn't think of Benedict Cumberbatch doing this
when thinking of a happy dance

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Busy Nothings"

I love Period Dramas and I am so happy to find so many bloggers have a love for them too... probably my favorite thing about blog is that you can find a little community of other people who love the same things as you do.

Anyway, I was inspired by Miss Dashwood's post title "A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings" a line from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. It seemed to be a fun way to tell her readers what is happening in her life. She said in her post that she doesn't update her readers much on what is happening with her life... Well that is not the same for me as for the most part I use this blog as an online journal but I liked her format so I am coping it. Though I have to change some of the topics as I don't sow or act.

So here we go my "Busy Nothings"...

~~Reading As school is starting I decided to end my "Summer Reading" list, but this does not mean I have stopped reading. I am currently reading two books (usually something I can't do well). One is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. And The Winding Road by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. This is apart of her Morland Dynasty series that have become addicted at least the ones about the Edwardian time period and WWI. This book is about 1920's and all the flash of the Jazz Age.
My favorite book of hers
Full of great descriptions of Edwardian Society
~~Listening I listen to a great a variety of things from Country (as long as its not to twangy), folk, some pop, musicals, and Christian. But lately I have been enjoying Mumford and Sons, All the Sons and Daughters, for King and Country, and Mercy Me. But my go to song has been "Arms" by Christina Perri. I fell in love with it when I saw a fan made video of Parks and Rec music video set to that song.
I know I have featured this video before but I still love it.

~~Decorating As I have said a lot on this blog... I have moved into my new apartment. And I am happy to say I feel very settled into this new place. Also I have wall in the living room that is very much my fashion wall. Fortunately my roommate and I have very similar taste or she doesn't mind my obsession with vintage fashion.
My wall
I am also going through and "re-decorating" my blog. I have changed the background and I have taken down my "good reads" section on the side and replaced it with some quotes. I had those "good read" books up for close to 2 years and I thought it was just time to mix things up...don't want this blog to get stale. Might do some other changes but essence of this blog will be the same.

~~Painting I have never been a big person to paint my nails... at least, it seemed like a hassle and painting my right hand looked like the work of Jackson Pollack. But after my friend's wedding, my nails looked so pretty I have tried to make more of an effort painting them.
Picture of Bridal party

Probably my favorite picture of the night... not because I am in the front
but because it was such a cute moment.

~~Watching probably too much TV. My new roommate has awesome cable... I haven't had this much cable since my dorm years and I must say it is addicting. Today I discovered Boy Meets World has reruns on MTV2.

~~Working work is work not much changes but I am trying to get my mind wrapped around the idea of finishing school and entering the "real world." Still not sure if library science is truly what I want to pursue... but right now I need to just focus on finishing school. Until I do enter the "real world" I am going to enjoy days to sleep in and naps.

~~Anticipating There is currently a lot I am anticipating... being done with Grad School (though that comes with a lot of angst as well as some good things). Lots of people look forward to fall but I am just enough as a pessimist to know fall means winter is coming and I hate winter (it last way too long) but I am looking forward to Pumpkin flavors everywhere. I think the one thing I am looking forward the most is my sister having another little nugget.
This was their announcement
I love being Aunt Blaire and so far my sister and brother-in-law have made cute kids so I am totally excited for this little one to come a long. 

~~Writing the answer should be obvious... my thesis, But as the next topic is "Studying" I will say I am writing my story The Grand Days (working title). I am doing a mix of both writing it and typing it up. I have never been one to stare at a blank screen and write creatively so I always have to hand write my stories. Then as they progress I start to type them up.

~~Studying As I have stated a few times. This semester I am writing my thesis. So I am learning a lot about working women's lives and their fashion at the turn of the 20th century. I am hoping to see how this liberated women before they got the vote. I wrote an undergraduate thesis and for that I wrote about the antebellum movement to get rid of the corset...which as you know was not successful. I was kind of hoping in this time I would find women throwing out their corsets but I haven't found much literature on that. But I have found a lot of literature on more and more women being in control of their own money and therefore found more freedom that way... that might be my approach.
A classic picture of a clerical worker

~~Reminders I love motivational quotes so I have a rather large pinterest board on them... but its probably time for me to start reading them
-John Green

Monday, September 8, 2014

Writer confession... I am a bad writer

Okay I saw this picture on Pinterest and loved it... Though it was a little out of date for the setting of my story I thought it was perfect for my characters. So I went to pin in on my "Lovely Inspiration" and when Pinterest asked me to describe the pin I thought "wait what are my character's name?" I mean I know my main character's names (Mattie and Shane) but I could not think of Mattie's sister's name... Daphne.

Whoa that's bad and I hung my head in disappointment trying to think of when was the last time I truly looked at my story. I could make an excuse of being on vacation and almost as soon as I got off the plane I was in moving mode. But still I have 100s of pins about how writing a daily thing... and for me its just not. I feel like a bad writer.

As I am transitioning back to school it feels like a good time to get a fresh start and I want write the promise that I will write every day... but knowing the reality of working and hopefully finishing my thesis won't leave much time for my creative writing. However, I know escaping into my writing will help me stay sane. So my goal is to make time to write and post parts of my story as frequently as possible. (I know that's vague but I am trying.)

Something to remember...

To begin with here is part of my story of my working title "Grand Days"...
An idea for Cranston Court
Cranston Court stood as relic to the Tudor era with an almost gothic feel to it. At least on the outside on the inside it looked more like a French palace, or so Mattie imagined, don in the Rococo style as if Louis XVI would come in any moment. Lady Welford was an American Heiress through and through and had mad made the talk of the country when she refused to move into Cranston when Lord Welford inherited it. She insisted for many modern improvements that were common in America. This included new pipes, better fitting windows to block the drafts and dumb waiters so food would be warm when it reached the dinner table. This was before Mattie was born but it was still gossiped about the village.
Daphne and Mattie followed Parker up the back stair case from the kitchen to the third floor. Mattie was puzzled where they were going to find dresses for her and Daphne for Lady Welford only had one son. Amongst the splendor of Cranston Court Mattie began to feel the shabbiness of their attire even if they didn't have any mud stains on them. She felt certain that she would never fit into the grandness of a place in this and she felt certain that whatever she did would bring shame to Lady Welford, and she did not want to do that after all Lady Welford was already being so generous to them. Even Daphne who far outweighed Mattie in beauty looked a bit faded against the grandeur of Cranston. After passing through a long corridor that took them to the end of the house and into a wing that was barely touched, Parker stopped at a door.     

He didn't open the door but spoke in hushed by very firm voice. "This was my sister, Aurora's room. I am sure my mother, Lady Welford, would like it to be left they way you found it. Get dressed quickly. Food will be in the nursery shortly."
When Parker opened the room, the creamy pink color that covered the wall almost made it shine against the dark interior of the hall. The room was so dainty  and sweet with comforter, the curtains, and the pillow all matching in a cheery flower print. Mattie quickly noticed the little doll with curly brown ringlets sitting in a high chair in the corner with a bassinet in the middle of the room all the perfect size for the doll. And in the bassinet there was light pink blanket that matched the colors of the with the initials APW stitched on it. The one thing Mattie noticed the most was the lack of dust, which seemed astonishing for the corridor looked as if no one ever touched this part of the house. Everything though in this room looked as if it had been cleaned all the time.
"Mathilda! Don't touch anything," Daphne snapped at her as she was staring at the doll.

For the story to be accurate it must be noted that even though no one was listening the girls spoke in a whisper as if someone was.

"I wasn't, I was just looking. Don't you find it a bit curious that we have known the Welford family all our lives, at least Parker, and we have never heard of this Aurora Welford. I always thought Parker was an only child."

"No Mattie, it was not curious at all. You only make things curious because you don't occupy your time with more important things. You read too many novels and it has affected your sensibilities. Now we have to find something to wear, we don't want to keep them waiting."