Summer of Classics:
I have already read two books on my classic reading list. I started off with Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut is one of Dan's favorite authors and the man used to live in our old neighborhood in Midtown East. Sometimes we would see him wandering around and Dan would try to think up cool things to talk to him about. (I believe they did have a conversation about the chess game on 48th and 3rd). It was a sad day when we heard he died.
Anyway, I finally read my first Vonnegut, his most famous book about the bombing of Dresden in World War II. The book was an easy read but I closed it wondering if I really "got it." Dan says that there is a lot in there and it took him a second reading to really get everything, and I could totally see that. In the meantime, the internet helped me figure some things out.
My second book was The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. (SPOILER ALERT) This book is about an old man who is a fisherman who catches a huge fish. It is quite a feat to catch this fish, taking a few days of suffering and pain and patience, and in the end, after all that work and struggle, a bunch of sharks eat the fish, and the old man comes back to land with just a carcass. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and yet not at all depressing. When I looked on the internet, apparently there is all this symbolism about how the Old Man represents Jesus and how one can never escape death...however, when I was reading it, I couldn't help thinking about how people venture out in the world to accomplish their dreams (to get the big fish) and how fame and wealth and success can be so fleeting and how nothing is permanent and it can always be taken away from you.
I have watched Philadelphia Story as my first classic movie. I have never seen a movie with Katherine Hepburn before and Cary Grant is really handsome. I have to agree with Dan that this movie is terribly dated. Maybe in the 40s, this is how people acted but now it just doesn't translate anymore. I actually read on Wikpedia that back then, movies were not allowed to show adultery and so instead of doing that, they would have divorces and then have people flirt with others and then go back together with their spouse. So weird.
In terms of music, I saved a copy of Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums issue from years ago and I have decided to listen to all the albums starting with #1, even if I have heard them before. So I have half way through the #1 album, St. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band by the Beatles, which I know very well. Dan said he would join me on some of my listening parties.
30 Days of Writing:
30 days gone by and no, I did not succeed in writing for 30 days straight, but I wrote on most days and have pages of copy to prove it, which is more than I had starting this project. I decided that writing (almost) everyday is the only way to do it. It keeps the material fresh, relevant in my mind and I would find myself thinking about characters and plot in my everyday life. Some days writing felt easy and some days it was so hard I wondered if I could muster through it. I have about a chapter and then some for a possible fiction story, and it came to me that if I were to really write this thing, it's going to take me a really long time---like a year--but if I keep going at this pace, I can do it. And so I will keep going at this pace.
I have lifted the ban off sweets and alcohol and have indulged quite a bit (and this past week QUITE A LOT), yet overall, I am still pretty conservative compared to pre-March Madness. I have been keeping up with my work-outs (okay, I am skipping them from time to time) and when I do workout, I work out hard. I have been following the workouts in Jillian Michael's Making the Cut, and these are no joke. I thought I was done with weight loss but I stepped on the scale on July 1 and I am down two more pounds. That was a nice surprise!
What do I want to do with my life?
Still deciding. 30th birthday coming up in October and suddenly, the question weighs even more heavily in the mind.
I have decided that there needs to be more traveling though. Inspired by Gerda and company's six week vacation (New York is only week one and now they are heading to Canada), I need to make traveling more of a priority and I need to start saving money. Places buzzing most in my head right now? Europe next spring (Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia (and Belgium to visit my fave four)...Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands...Japan...and Argentina. Luckily, I will get my fix soon because Dan and I are heading to Argentina in a few weeks :)