Monday, March 29, 2010

Reading Life

Well there is a week of my reading life I won't get back. I just finished Elizabeth Kostova's new book, "The Swan Thieves." oh my, what a dull book! I am rather disappointed. I really enjoyed her first novel, "The Historian" about a professor tracking down Dracula. It was fascinating, with twists and turns and well-written. Hence, I was anticipating her second book, but what a let down! Has that ever happened to you? To top it off, the silly second novel was close to 600 pages (my God, her editor should be shot, I found reams of pages that could have been cut, not to mention the saving of forests!). Once I had gotten about 50 pages into the book, I decided I couldn't not finish it, even though it was a snooze fest! I hate not being able to conquer a book, even if it sucks - I don't want it to defeat me. Though I think Oprah once said if a book doesn't catch your fancy by the first 100 pages, let it go.

What I particularly find hilarious in this disappointment of a book is that Elizabeth Kostova was lauded as the next wonderkin by the literary world, a Yale graduate, she had already won prizes for her first book before it was even finished - just goes to show you can't predict'em.

Well, the hubby and I are off to Las Vegas for a mini-vacation, see everyone back at the end of the week! (I have a good book in hand this time around!).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Sister

Just have recovered from the shock of knowing that my sister had a cancer scare for the past month. My mum, dad and sister decided not to tell me about it, till the test results were in. Thank God everything came out benign but still, I'm coming off a very big shock.

My sister is my best friend. She is two years younger to me and I can't imagine my life without her. Actually, I feel like we have grown even closer since I got married, because we now appreciate each other more. We talk on the phone nearly twice a week (often about nothing at all!). We share books, mailing them back and forth cross-country.

I understand my family's reason for not telling me, there was nothing I could have done and it would have just panicked me. But this whole scare seriously reiterates to me why I want to get back to the East Coast. I could have been there during this time, at least for moral support.

At this moment all I want to do is rush home and hug my sister and just keep her safe, as best as I can!

Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply... ~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814

In the cookies of life, sisters are the chocolate chips. ~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Car Hire Ireland

Happy Day After St. Patrick's Day!!!

I have to say here in Arizona, they know how to celebrate St. Patrick's day! The Irish pubs were busy and flowing from noon onwards!

Did you know.....

The first St. Patrick's Day Parade took place in the USA (

St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Ireland (

40 lbs. of dye are used to make the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day (

There are 32 traditional counties in the entire Isle of Ireland (

One of the official political parties in Ireland IS the Green Party (

Aer Lingus has direct flights to Dublin from Boston, NYC, Chicago and Orlando (

Cad Mile Failte is the traditional greeting for one of Ireland's longest Car Rental Company and Dublin Car Rental.

One of Ireland's most famous bed and breakfast lodge is on the list of Irish Family Homes Register, Castle Salem (

Visit Ireland!! (

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Pope, radio and bumper stickers

Does anyone listen to music on the radio anymore? I use to, but the pop channels really only play the same 10 songs by the same artists (the big names who can afford to pay radio executives to play their music). I now favor NPR, sometimes the Christian channel (hey occasionally those sermons are universal) or my own CD's. Does radio even play any role, in these days, in making hit music makers? I think this industry is going to have to innovate if it wants to remain relevant.

I am sensing that the current Pope is not going to be remembered as fondly as the previous Pope (John Paul II). Every time I turn around Pope Benedict is involved in some scandal. First it was that he was in the Nazi Youth, than his derogatory comments on Islam's most prominent figure, the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and now the German Priests abuse and sex scandal (including the Pope's own brother).

I clipped this from the UK newspaper, The Independent on further gaffes by the current Pope:
"Many such blunders followed. He went to Africa and said that condoms were not the solution to the AIDS epidemic but could make matters worse. He stood in Istanbul's Blue Mosque, praying shoulder to shoulder with its Imam, then denied the possibility of inter-religious dialogue. He refused to sign a UN declaration on the rights of homosexuals and the disabled. He went to Brazil and denied that the indigenous people had had the alien religion forced on them, but said rather that they had unconsciously desired it. He welcomed the schismatics of the Society of St Pius X back into the Church – only discovering afterwards that one of the society's illegally created bishops, Richard Williamson, denied the truth of the Holocaust. "

Finally, I had to comment on another stupid bummer sticker I saw here in Arizona (home of many proud dumb Republicans), it had a picture of President Obama and the saying was "Hitler gave great speeches too." Ummm what?! So you are equating the current President of the United States of America who is trying to ensure that all Americans have health care so they might not die because they can't afford to see a doctor, with a Fascist, Egomaniac Dictator who killed 6 million Jews? I think you should spend less time sticking bumper stickers on your truck and more time on learning to read.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Et Cetera

I'm including this youtube video in hopes some of you may watch. It is a documentary, called China's Unnatural Disaster. This picture was nominated for short film documentary Oscar this year. It is sad, moving and yet powerful enough to sit through and I think instead of watching something stupid on the Internet, for a change we can all take 30 minutes out of our lives to better our souls, no??? The movie had to be put on youtube in pieces in hopes that the Chinese government won't find it and take it off.

I've been trying very hard to use my reusable bag and I have to say doing fairly well. I know its hard to remember it, but perhaps consider this tip, keep the bag in your car! After purchasing items and bringing the bag into the house and unloading your stuff, place the bag either inside or next to your handbag/purse. Then you will definitely remember to bring it back out to the car, where it can sit until you need it again. In this way we can STOP USING PLASTIC BAGS!!

The BBC is trying to get rid of my ONLY source of all things India - the BBC Asian Network, what can I do to stop this? Should I write to the BBC? I'm not British and I certainly don't pay for the service, but I would be willing too. I love BBC Asian Network!!! It plays all things Bollywood, Punjabi, Fusion - it is my link to the latest music and news from the Indian subcontinent!! I have listened to it for close to five years now! It was my main radio station in Denmark! I can't imagine it not existing! Check it out!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Stop Your Whining!

Short post here, I'm doing this in the public library, so time on the Internet is limited (don't ask why I'm using the library Internet, cause I'm here and I'm lazy).

I wanted to comment on JoeinVegas last post (or the last one I saw, hee hee). It was about the American health care system. I for one can't stand the health care provided in this country, if you are semi-poor or working class. Yet, I'm tired of people complaining about it. If you want change, you have to work for it! You have to vote for the guys/girls who are going to actually want change. You can't complain about lack of health care in America and than go vote Republican. Put your money where you mouth is! People need to stop believing the lies propogated by Fox News Network and the multi-billion dollar insurance companies. What is it going to take for Americans in this country to wake up and realize that we have one of the WORSE health care systems in the world! I recently heard a story on NPR about some insurance company, I want to say Anthem, or maybe it was BCBS, increasing contribution rates this year, mind you each of their senior leaders took home six figure bonuses last year! Wake up America!

On another note, I'm elated to hear all-new episodes of Gossip Girl begin on Monday!!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Still Seeking Job and Dublin Car Rental

March 1st and I'm still seeking a permanent job. Right now I'm with the good ol'e retail gig and I can't complain, it has definitely helped my mood. I don't feel so sad and desperate now, does that make any sense? I guess just having something and working is better than nothing and sitting around the house all day, particularly in this economy!

Finished reading Tracy Kidder's book, Strength in What Remains. I highly recommend! Its under 250 pages and it moves rapidly, focusing on a true American story about an immigrant/refugee who gets off the plane at JFK with no connections and just $200 in his pocket and plunges right into trying to make the American dream - working as a grocery delivery boy in Manhattan during the day and sleeping in Central Park at night. The hero, is a medical student from war-torn Burundi (in central Africa). What I found fascinating is not only the part about his survival in America, knowing no one and stumbling into some lucky breaks, but the back story about Burundi. Kidder provides a lot of history about the country and the events leading up the civil war that forces our hero out of his home country. Most of the focus of the world during this time period was on neighboring Rwanda's genocides - but that event was precipitated by the Hutu killings of Tutsi's in Burundi. This book is on the short list for many book awards, the most recent being the LA Critic's Award, please consider putting it on your reading list.

Right now, I'm reading something for pleasure and not particularly edifying - its the Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson. Set in early 1900's New York City, it combines three of my favorite reading genres, historical, mystery and a bit of romance. The current book in the series I'm reading is set in Little Italy. The crux of the story centers around a conflict between the early Irish and Italian immigrants to America (precursors to African immigrants, no?). I find it very interesting how very polarized these cultures were when first arriving to America, a bit like the current debate we have with Mexicans, I believe. It always makes me laugh at how proud people are today about their Irish heritage, when 100 years ago it was a mark of shame - times change!

Speaking of Ireland, if you are thinking of visiting, (maybe tracing family connections) consider renting a car from this lovely car company, this Car Hire Ireland, who are not only super nice but allow you to make reservations before you even hit the Emerald Isle! They are located at Dublin and Cork International Airports (Car Hire Cork Airport), so you will be set to go before you even leave the airport!