Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall head over heels in love? Yes sir, I have done it!

I'd like to think that falling in love would knock me off my feet. That it would be this force that slams into me, shakes me to my core, and leaves me feeling breathless. In my imagination it would be instantaneous; I'd see something, take it in, and fall. There wouldn't be any teetering on the edge, no sticking my toe in to test it out, no pacing in front of it making sure it's what I want. I would jump, all in, all at once. No hesitation.

So how come that isn't how I've fallen in love?

We all think of "falling in love" as being with another person. That boy in 6th period English class. The woman who fixes her coffee at exactly 8:05 am every morning. The man who smiles at you from across the library. These are the "things" we want to fall in love with, what we imagine falling in love with. No one daydreams about the day they'll fall in love with cheese straws or that cute little dress that's 30% off at Macy's. No, we sit around daydreaming about the day we'll fall in love with the person we're meant to be with the rest of our lives.

But that's not the only time we do fall. Sometimes we do fall in love with cheese straws. And honestly, that's the instantaneous love my imagination runs wild with.

When I've fallen in love with someone - and trust me, it hasn't really happened like I'd hoped - it's been slow. It may have started off as lukewarm attraction and slowly built into affection before turning into a glimmer of love. As someone who has had many, many experiences with falling (hey, I'm a clumsy girl), falling in love was not a normal fall. Falls are normally over quickly. Fall, bam, ouch. That's a fall. Falling in love is more like Alice falling through the rabbit hole. It goes on and on and on and before long you sigh and think "is there even a bottom to this?"

I digress. This isn't about simply falling in love. This is about falling head over heels in love. The fall, bam, ouch falling. The kind that takes your breath away and makes you instantly know you're in love. But mostly, this is about me falling head over heels in love.

I have a confession to make: I... am a book blogger. Yes, friends, I am one of those people who blogs and blogs and blogs about books. But not just any books. Young Adult books. Now, before you throw stones and remind me that I'm nearly 30 and how sad is it that I'm reading books written for 16 year olds, lemme explain. No. There is no time. Let me sum up. I love these books.

The summer I graduated from grad school I discovered the Twilight series. If you haven't read this series, let me just point out that it's like a gateway drug to the Young Adult demographic in the literary world. After I finished them, and reread them (twice), I wanted more. I wanted to feel that first rush of love all over again. I was tired of being a twenty-something who was struggling with money and boys and life and quite honestly, I was tired of reading about it.

Cut to November 2011. I had been following a couple Young Adult book blogs and finally thought "You know what? I can do this. I want to do this!" Thus, The Grown-Up YA was born. That is my blog. You're welcome to check it out, but don't stop reading this to do so.

I'm sure by now you're probably scratching your head and thinking "Okay, Candice, are you trying to tell me you fell head over heels with a blog? Really?" No, that's not what I'm trying to tell you. What I'm trying to tell you is that I fell head over heels with the book community. If you've never experienced ANY of it, you are sadly missing out my friend. And if you have, well it's just great, isn't it?

This community is made up of lovely, lovely people. People who come from all walks of life, have all kinds of personalities, have different backgrounds, education, families, lives. And somehow, they all work. You'd think this huge of a melting pot would be full of drama, backstabbing, insults, slurs. Kind of like a presidential race (oooh, burn!). But let me be the first to tell you this: it most certainly is not.

This community is made up of lovely, lovely people. I felt that line needed to be repeated. Yes, it's made up of us bloggers, but also the authors, the publishers, editors, marketers. We all work together not because we like the money or the recognition (and lemme tell you: as a blogger, there's rarely either of those) but because we have a common love of books and the written word.

In the year I've been a part of this community I have of course had some crazy ups and downs, but overall, it has mostly been ups. I've made some excellent friends and some even better memories. I've discovered a passion I never knew existed for something that I've always enjoyed. I've learned to be a better listener, a more astute reader, to pay attention to the details and not be afraid to state my opinion (no matter what it is!). I've realized it is possible to disagree and debate in a classy manner without losing respect for others and my temper. But mostly I've seen how there are still people out there who genuinely love. Love to read, love to share, and love to pass on the legacy of books to our future generations.

So yes, I have fallen head over heels in love. Not with the man who is sure to rock my world but with a community I am so happy to be a part of. I have fallen head over heels in love with the book community and I am certain our love affair, no matter what roles we continue to play in each others' lives, is sure to last all the rest of my days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

“I wonder how you say goodbye to someone forever?” - Ann M. Martin

I posted this on my other blog earlier today, but wanted to have it here just for giggles because.

Let’s get a little personal, friends

My blog is clearly about books, and I honestly try to keep personal blog type stuff off of my blog, but today I really feel led to talk a little about what’s been going on lately and about my uncle, who I think had a real book-worthy life.

I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that I’ve been out of town the past several days due to a death in the family. Long story short, my uncle was the victim of a shooting at a bar. A man was kicked out, became angry and retrieved a gun from his car, then returned to the bar to shoot the bouncer, an employee, and my uncle. Someone asked me earlier today if my uncle was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I like to believe he was in the right place at the right time. He was shot when he stepped in front of another employee as the shooter was pointing the gun at her. Because of my uncle, she is alive.

All weekend I met my uncle’s friends. I use the term “friends” here loosely, because these people were much more than friends. They were his family. I heard stories of how amazing my uncle was, how he was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back and his last dollar (and he really would), how he was such a giving, kind, wonderful person. These weren’t words from one or two close friends, but from every. single. person. And I talked to A LOT.

But I knew this of my uncle. I knew his giving and caring nature. And while I think these things of him, what I really remember him for is how COOL of a person he was. I remember him for all the things he did with his life. In the early 70s my uncle began his adventures. Someone asked him “Hey, do you want to do this?” and he replied “Yes.” Not a moment’s hesitation, he just jumped at the chance. That adventurous, brave, courageous spirit took him all the way to Saudi Arabia where he worked in various medical positions. He eventually started working for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The freakin Crown Prince, y’all! Who is now THE KING. A friend of my uncle’s made the comment “Do you think the king knows about his death? Someone should probably contact him to let him know what happened.” How many people can ask that question when a family member dies? I mean, c’mon…

As we were going through my uncle’s stuff over the weekend, it really hit me just how many amazing experience he’s had. Pictures from all over the world, trinkets and souvenirs from every place you can think of. He had visited all the places I sit around and day dream of. He had met so many people and done so many things, all I could ever do when he talked about it was sit in awe. He had a life few can even dare to imagine and even fewer will experience.

My uncle with his daughter Fedwa

There’s something we can learn from every death, no matter how tragic, and that’s to look at the legacy that person left. My uncle left one that tells me to be adventurous. To look change in the eye and face it head on. To take chances, to live fully, to be courageous and stand up for what is right, good, and true.
His best friend, who has been like a brother to my uncle for nearly 50 years, spoke at his funeral and said something that has stuck with me these past few days. He said “He lived. Boy, did he live.”

I’m ready, Uncle Rocky. I’m ready to live.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where I'm at on the list

We're nearing the 7 month mark of my countdown to my 30th birthday. Let's see where I am with my 30 Things to do before I'm 30 list:

1) Get my diplomas framed.
2) Go to Harry Potter World
3) Fall head-over-heels in love with something
4) Visit NYC and take my picture in front of Tiffany's wearing sunglassese and eating a Danish (or a cranberry muffin from Au Bon Pain)
5) See Wicked or Rent.
6) Write a book and work on getting it published
7) Spend a shameful amount of money on something shamelessly
8) Travel to Greece (optional: Meet a handsome Greek man and have a vacation fling)
9) Go to a Karaokee bar and sing something like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" or "I Will Always Love You"
10) Read Gone with the Wind
11) Do something charitable
12) Join some type of club
13) Own the following complete series - Scrubs, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls
14) Learn to speak/read Greek
15) Meet a celebrity
16) Find a great recipe for a dish that I can make and bring to parties/holiday gatherings/family events/etc.
17) Learn how to boil eggs
18) Be able to run a mile
19) Buy bedroom furniture
20) Move/live somewhere outside of Alabama
21) Create a signature drink and name it something using my name... like a Canditini
22) Spend a day at the spa
23) Face a fear
24) Get a boob job
25) Donate to my college's (HES) alumni fund and my sorority
26) Take a chance on someone and see where it leads
27) Work on improving my credit score
28) Take a really good picture of myself
29) Learn how to change a tire
30) Overcome my fear of commitment

Seriously? *face falls into hands in shame* I need to get on this. Like stat! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

I can scratch Wicked off the list!

Well, it's been two months since I last posted and come back to post and the entire blogging system is different. Not cool Blogger. Not cool. Anyway, to the post! One thing on my list of things to do before I'm 30 is to see Wicked. I can officially cross this one off my list. Hooray! For those of you who don't know, Wicked is the story behind Oz, the story of the two witches - of the North and of the West - and their friendship and struggles as they grow. Oh. And there are songs. For my 29th birthday my parents gave me tickets to go see Wicked, something I really really really REALLY wanted - my parents are awesome like that. I asked my sister to go with me because really, who else was going to put up with my ants-in-the-pants excitement and/or me potentially bursting into my rendition of "Defying Gravity?" Naturally, like any event the Morris family is attending, we were running late. Tickets wouldn't print. Shoes couldn't be found. Hair refused to behave. But in the end, the two lovely Morris daughters emerged, clean and polished and wearing shoes, ready to pose for the cameras. Mom insisted we take pictures. I all too gladly gave her my camera. After a brief car ride into Birmingham (and by brief I mean we flew down the interstate) we were finally there. My earlier accusations were quickly confirmed: people don't know how to dress for the theater. You don't wear jeans people. You just don't. We had our tickets swiped, grabbed our program, climbed to our seats and then settled in. All in what can only be described as Morris record time. I cannot begin to describe how amazeballs it was to FINALLY get to see Wicked - but I'm going to try. The theater is one of those amazing experiences that unfortunately I don't get to experience quite enough. However, I think I wouldn't want to go so often that the magic of it was lost on me. Wicked was beyond magical, from the sets to the costumes, to the choreography to the music. Everything shook me to the core and there were times when I got goosebumps just thinking about the fact that I was watching this show. I'm so happy the fates aligned and brought Wicked to Birmingham. While I would have gladly traveled far, far away - like to Atlanta - to see it, there's nothing quite like being reunited with a familiar theater and asking it what wonders it's going to show you today. I can also say that I did not treat anyone to my rendition of "Defying Gravity." I know you're disappointed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Birthday Week Celebration!!! Monday

In case you've been living under a rock, last night The University of Alabama won its FOURTEENTH National Championship!!! Thanks boys for my birthday present!

Okay, so MAYBE they didn't win it for me, but that doesn't diminish the fact that it's my birthday celebration week and this gives me just one more happy! Not only did we demolish LSU, we DEMOLISHED LSU! 21-Zereaux!

I should warn you, I hate LSU more than I hate cooked bell pepper, cancer and the Devil combined. So the fact that we not only beat them for the National Championship, we prevented them from scoring one single, solitary point. Which, come to think of it, is actually impossible in football unless kicking for the extra point, which would mean they had scored 6 points previously thereby eliminating the fact that we let them score a single point. But I digress.

Hey Tigers! We just beat the hell outta you! Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, give em hell Alabama!

Whew, got that out of my system. So that was Monday. Can't wait to see what Tuesday brings (although considering it's 3:50 in the afternoon, you'd think I'd know what Tuesday is bringing!)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Birthday Week Celebration!!!! Sunday

It's that time of year again: birthday time! This year is a special one. 29! Woot! Okay, so nothing is really THAT special about 29 except that it means there's only 364 days left until I'm no longer able to say I'm in my 20s. Which is a slightly scary yet satisfying feeling.

To kick off my last birthday of my 20s I've decided I'm going to celebrate all week. Why reserve only one day for celebrating I always say. Each day this week I plan on doing something fun for myself, whether buying a little happy, taking time to relax and get pampered or going to dinner with friends.

Sunday kicked off the celebration, which is now going to be called Birthdaython. While shaping up to be a dull and rainy day, magically got better once the rain stopped. After a trip to the library resulted in having to go buy AAA batteries for an audiobook (I feel insanely old using this. What is this new fangled whatchamacallit? How does it work? Argh the screen is too small!) I found a new wallet! Grown ups carry wallets and, since I am closing in on 30, it's high time I left my little keychain wallet thingy behind. Although this is only a new thing; I've been using wallets since college.

Moving on to more birthday fun: Later in the day my mom asked me to come into the living room and she handed me a card. Inside was a "coupon" for "reasonably priced" tickets to WICKED!!! She wanted me to go ahead and buy my tickets for whatever day I wanted. So that means in just over a month I will be crossing off something on my list AND seeing Wicked. I am wicked excited.

Sunday night also turned out to be a night of exciting premiers on TV, so I had a full night of happy shows. And, thanks to DVR, I didn't have to miss any of them or rush to fix dinner/take bath/do laundry in the 2 minute commercial breaks. Once Upon a Time, one of my new favorite shows, returned and it was just wonderful. I've missed it! Also... and this is huge... DOWNTON ABBEY IS BACK!!! Oh, the 2 hour season premier was wonderful. I cannot say enough, except Maggie Smith is my hero.

Finally, the best thing of the day - although everything else is pretty hard to top - is that... well I don't want to tell you because it's a secret. But let me just say... happy dance!

And so ends Sunday's Birthdaython. What will Monday bring? Stay tuned!