Book Review: Orange is the New Black

Having seen the series, I’m not sure why I wanted to read the book, Piper Kerman’s memior, Orange is the New Black, about her time spent in a Federal women’s prison.  I suppose I wanted the real story.  To say the Netflix series takes liberties is an understatement.  I enjoyed the first two seasons but all the backstories in the third became a bit tiresome.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kerman’s writing and you can tell this wasn’t ghost written.  That’s something I always appreciate.  She did her time in Danbury, Connecticut and she writes about it with surprising affection, though going to prison was a traumatic experience for her, as it would be for anyone.  Prison is degrading and humiliating but she writes about the women she met there with love and grace, giving them back some of the dignity the institution took away.  She also writes about the importance of having people in your life on the outside who make life worth living.  The letters, the visits, the books, all kept Piper going through a horrible experience.  That’s a lesson we can all learn without spending any time in the clink.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.  In fact, I really enjoyed comparing it to the series and turning each page to see what crazy, funny, horrible, or happy thing was going to happen next.  I would recommend it if you’re a big fan of memoir like me.

Book Review: The Princess Diarist

And now for something completely different.  I’ve decided to start reviewing some of the books I read here at ol’ Kim Who Lives at Home.  Hope you enjoy.

Let me start by saying I love Carrie Fisher.  I’ve read her other two memoirs, Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, so I was super excited when I heard she had written a third.  I was also sad to learn of her untimely death and her mother’s shortly after.  She was a fantastic writer and I’m sorry there won’t be any more.

The Princess Diarist did not disappoint.  I love Fisher’s writing style.  She’s so witty and self-deprecating.  In this one in particular I thought she sounded, well, a lot like me.

In this memoir she goes back to the time of filming Star Wars in 1976.  I wasn’t born then but that didn’t matter at all.  She was a nineteen year old girl just starting her life and not sure what she wanted to do with it.  Even though I’ve never starred in a movie-turned-phenomenon, nor had an affair with my reticent co-star, I found her wholly relatable.   She has printed some of her personal diaries from the time and she sounds just as confused and scared as any of us at that age (or older).

I definitely recommend Ms. Fisher’s last literary outing.  I recommend her other memoirs as well.  I can’t speak to her fiction but I’d love to get around to it someday.  She really was a renaissance woman, huh?  So if you’re a Star Wars fan seeking more info about the filming or just love a good memoir, I suggest you pick it up.

 

Next Chapters and Such

So, I, uh, well… I kinda quit my job.  Yikes.  I actually wrote it.  I quit my job to be a writer!  Yay!  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Let me back up.  I ran into a friend of a friend at Barnes and Noble the other weekend.  I went to buy a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why and drink iced coffee in the cafe like a legit hipster.  She’s going to a local college to get some kind of Masters and working there to make ends meet.  I asked her how she was doing and she said she was happy doing that.  Happy.  I had a total epiphany.  I have savings and I hate my job.  What am I doing?

I’m just so over it.  I’m over accounting, I’m over the utter crazy that is the management and I’m over being depressed about how my life turned out.  So I didn’t get married in my twenties and get stuck in a job I hate because I’ve got bills to pay and kids to buy stuff for.  That was the dream, right?  Well, screw that.  I just turned 30 and I’m going to take this opportunity to make myself happy, because I’m so tired of being practical and sucking it up for everyone but myself.  And I may never get this opportunity again.

I also feel like God has something more for me.  More than just this job and all the crap that goes with it.  More than being single and yearning and all that blah, blah, blah.  God is leading me away and I have to follow that no matter what.  Like I’ve said it’s about trusting him even if others think you’re crazy.  And trust me, there are some people who think I’m nuts for doing this.

So, anyway, I decided I’m going to take a gap year to find myself before I start the next chapter and find my bliss.  Carpe diem, y’all!

 

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

If you’ve been reading this blog this year, you may have noticed a running melancholy in the posts.  I realize they haven’t been exactly upbeat.  Even though I’ve tried to put a positive spin on my angst, they’re kinda downers.

So far this year, I’ve written about the horrors of tax season (that’s not an exaggeration), my dog’s untimely death (seriously, why?), my teenage self vs my current self (like looking in a mirror), being persecuted for following my own path (probably paranoia, but you know what they say about that), turning 30 unmarried (and thinking about it way more than is healthy), and my crushing loneliness and restlessness.

So, what’s left to write about?  Oh, yeah.  My descent into depression.  Depression is a horrible disease but it can be funny, too, right?  Well, last night as I swallowed my shiny new Lexapro through snot and tears (again, not an exaggeration) it was really not funny.  But today it is because, you know, Buzz Feed.

God bless Buzz Feed.  Seriously, how many times has it just made your day?  Like today with this article.  Spoiler Alert:  It’s stuff people posted on Tumblr about being really not ok.  It spoke to me because there’s nothing worse than having to tell people you’re “fine” when you are really, really far from fine.

And a lot of people don’t get it.  Which is why I appreciated this article.  It puts a humorous spin on being supportive to a person going through depression.  And it makes some great points.  There’s such a stigma around depression and yet so many people suffer from it.  The disease causes enough shame; we shouldn’t be getting it from the people around us, too.  I feel misunderstood under normal circumstances so it’s ten times worse when I’m depressed and people think I’m just being weird and anti-social.

Laughter is good medicine but if you’re depressed or suspect you might be, please get help.  This isn’t my first rodeo and I know that waiting only makes it worse.  There will be days when you can laugh about it and days when you can’t.  Let’s hope there are more of the former.

How To Give Your Blog a Facelift

June:  Go on WordPress while bored at work.  Think about how your blog could use a facelift.  Decide to look around at the themes.  Try one out and do some customizing.  Abandon it.  Pick another and play with customizing.  Abandon it.  Think that you really need to pick a new theme but they all seem to require you to actually take a picture and upload it.  Go on Goodreads and look at your recommendations.

July:  Get notification that it’s your third Blogiversary!  Think that you should really get serious about updating your theme.  It’s been two years since you picked the old one.  Look at the themes again and write down three that you like.  Make a mental note to do it on the weekend when you’re bored.

August:  Go on WordPress while bored at work.  Decide to look at the themes again.  Search one that is good for text and doesn’t focus on photos.  Find a good one and start customizing.  Decide you don’t like the suggested header images.  Search for a header image.  Abandon search when you can’t find one in the right dimensions.  Look at Facebook.

September:  Go back to the theme you played with last month.  Change the color scheme.  Decide there is one suggested header image that really is kinda cool.  Change your title font.  Update your tagline because even though you’re not 30 yet it took you this long to get a new theme, so.  Click Activate.

Et voila!  Hope you like it!

Call Me Pepper Maid

I’m turning 30 very soon and I’m (mostly) okay with that.  I’ve had a year to get used to the idea and I’ve (mostly) made my peace.  But I was watching Jeopardy last night and a clue mentioned that the Danish call a woman who is 30 and unmarried a “pepper maid.”  I looked it up.  There’s a whole ritual associated with it where your family and friends sprinkle you with pepper on your 30th birthday and give you a giant pepper mill made out of an oil drum.  I don’t know about you but if someone were to leave a phallic-covered oil drum outside my door, I’d be pissed.

It got me thinking about other terms used for women of a certain age who have never married.  Here’s a selection.

Spinster

Not to sound weird or anything, but I’ve been calling myself a spinster for a couple years now.  I’m joking.  Sort of.  What was once used as a legal term for any unmarried woman is now a derogatory term, meaning you’re not desirable.  A couple trips through online dating and you’ll start to believe it.  And question your sanity.  Bright spot:  Wikipedia lists “Notable Spinsters” as Jane Austin, Emily Dickinson, Susan B. Anthony, Coco Chanel, and Queen Elizabeth I.  Those ladies did all right and they didn’t need a man.

Catherinettes

From the Wikipedia entry: “Catherinettes was a traditional French label for girls of twenty-five years old who were still unmarried by the Feast of Saint Catherine (25 November). A special celebration was offered to them on this day, while everyone wished them a fast end to their singlehood.”  A fast end to their singlehood.  Yeah, that makes me feel real good about myself.

Cat Lady

I’m not really into cats.  I think I’ll be the lady who lives out in the country and hoards a hundred dogs until some do-gooder calls the county and they come take all my precious babies away.  Thanks a lot, asshole.

Wow.  That took a turn.  Anyway, despite the fact that people are waiting longer to get married and have kids, our society as a whole still expects you to be married (or at least be in a long-term relationship) by 30.  What’s up with that?  Is it better to be a divorced single parent?  At least they were married before 30.  Dodged that bullet.  I admit that this is not how I imagined my life at 30.  But am I really going to listen to that confused 18-year-old who still had boy band posters on her walls?  No.  But that same 18-year-old never let other people tell her how she should be.  And this 30-year-old isn’t taking any of that shit either.

When the big day comes I’ll celebrate this new chapter of my life.  Just do me a favor and leave the pepper shaker at home.

So Sue Me (Online Dating Part 3)

The third E-Harmony date went something like this:

He was 24 and a lawyer.  He was also going back to school to get his MBA.  Not sure why someone who’s already a lawyer at 24 needs an MBA but whatever.  He was originally from Tennessee.  Okay, that may not seem like a big deal but if you read my blog about my first E-Harmony date, you’ll remember that he was from Tennessee.  My high school boyfriend was, too.  So at this point I have dated a total of 4 guys and 3 of them have been from fucking Tennessee.  What are the odds on that?

Anyway, we met at a pizza place.  The conversation was pleasant.  It wasn’t until I looked back on it that I realized he spent most of the meal bitching about his job and his pro bono work helping a fraternity get a house.  I mentioned that I was an accountant.  His first question, knowing nothing else about my career, was “When are you going to sit?”  Um, did I say I was trying to become a CPA?  Did I say I had any desire to become a CPA?  Now, granted, at that time, I had just left a Masters of Accountancy program and the issue was kind of a hang up for me.  I had decided not to pursue the CPA but still had people trying to convince me to change my mind.  My point is, it was a sensitive subject but it was still weird that he asked that particular question.  As if being a staff accountant wasn’t good enough and he assumed that no one could be happy with something as pedestrian as that.  He then goes off on a tangent about the death tax and when he’s done rambling he stares at me, waiting for a response.  I give a non-committal Uh-huh.  He then says, “Oh, I was going to get you to weigh in on it.”  Dude, I just graduated from college and I’m doing my best to learn my job but that doesn’t mean I spend my free time reading up on random tax issues.

So I steered away from that as quickly as possible.  I asked one of my go-to get-to-know-you questions, What’s your favorite movie?  I’m convinced that you can tell a lot about a person by their entertainment choices.  He rambled a little bit, something about “stock guy answers like The Godfather or Gladiator.”   (Fucking Gladiator again!)  Then he said, “Yeah, The Godfather.”  Okay, so you just said that’s a stock guy answer but it’s still your favorite movie.  If it’s your favorite movie, then own it.  Don’t make some weird excuse for it.  Whatever.

Again I agree to continue the date when I really shouldn’t have been wasting my time.  Remember that I was desperate for a relationship and was willing to give anything a chance.  I didn’t want to throw something good away on a less-than-perfect first impression.  We went to a bar for a drink.

I don’t remember who brought up the topic of religion but there it was.  I said I liked the non-denominational church but missed the ritual of the Methodist church.  He says that he majored in Political and Theological Philosophy in college and proceeded to expound on the issue.  Dude, I don’t know about you but I came for a date, not a lecture.  Then he gets into politics and continues lecturing about issues.  I finally wrap up the date and leave. 

When I looked back at the date I realized that this guy was an over-educated, self-important, pompous twat.  He e-mailed me four days later and asked for a second date.  You’ll be happy to know that I had enough self-respect to turn him down.  An e-mail after four days isn’t being interested, it’s an afterthought.  Somehow, I just think I deserve more than that.  Sue me.