happy birthday big bro!

Today is my brother’s birthday. When we were growing up, I could always count on him to play with me even though I was five years his junior. Each summer, for two weeks, our family would trek down to Florida for a beach vacation. The only two kids within miles, we created a variety of games to entertain ourselves. Splashing around we pretended to  swim from sharks (ironic as he was in fact bit by a shark later in life), shout “marco…” “polo”…, and run top speed into the ocean. We were obsessed with digging deep holes in the sand. We could spend the entire day just digging a giant pit and pretending we were heading to China. Our giant pit once even became the nest for a sea turtle. In the afternoons, we would take a 1 mile walk to the pier and back and I would often listen as my brother and father talked about aviation. Afterwards, we’d head up to the apartment to eat sandwiches while watching Chips or the North Shore on TV. We probably watched that movie a hundred times over the summer. We bought boogie boards and tried to stand up in the waves and my bro eventually graduated to surfboards. We grew so close over those vacations. They were always the highlight of the year for me.  I had him all to myself and did not have to share him with his older friends (and potential girlfriends). We were just kids, just siblings. Now watching him become a father of his own still boggles my mind. How did we ever get old enough to have our own families? Even in this new phase of our lives he is a beautiful model of love, compassion, team work, playfulness, planning, consideration, professionalism, and integrity. I love my brother so much and I just want to wish him a very Happy Birthday today!!

photo 5 DSC_0865 DSC_0592_2 840alcat_w

what I read, what I thought

A few weeks ago, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and wrote a little review on the book which was recommended to me by a friend. Having been intrigued by this dark thriller, I decided to read Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects while travelling from Boston to Minnesota and back this past weekend. In many ways, the books are similar with their disturbed protagonists who are unafraid (or at times driven) to inflict pain on themselves. Both stories revolve around murder and mystery that bring the protagonists perilously close to the murderers. Dark is a word that is exhausted while describing Sharp Objects. One of my favorite reviews is by Stephen King (Though I have not read any of this novels as I am too scared to do so), “To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven’t read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris’s All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take.”

Flynn’s style of writing is contagious. From the first sentence to the last she generates a fever in the reader that compels him or her to read through the tale of intrique as quickly as possible. Home is complicated place for many and Sharp Objects exposes these trials that members face within a particular family.  The “give and take,” the “love and hate,” and the “for and against” mentality of the family is exhibited for the reader who may or may not understand these opposing feelings about one’s childhood home.  Yet, this conflict whether as extreme as in the novel or more subtle (as I assume in more families), is present. Therefore even though this particular story represents a wild extreme, a reader is still able to identify with the characters and their humanity (or lack there of).  I mention this not to create normalcy out of the events that occur but to explain perhaps why I was so compelled to finish a story as troubling as Sharp Objects. I recommend this book, but only to those who can handle a story that is not in anyway a comfortable portrayal of family.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 8.58.18 AM

730 days

Today, David and I have been married for 730 days (2 years). So much has happened in that time and I am so grateful to have met, fallen in love, and committed to this amazing man. He is my best friend, truest confidant, and love.

Here is a link to our photographer’s blog that day (includes a cute little slideshow): Lanierstar

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 9.28.40 AM

life lately according to my iphone

This weekend David and I travelled to Minnesota to attend this step-sister’s wedding.  It was our first time to the land of 10,000 lakes. From visiting with family, to trekking hours in the Mall of America, to enjoying the BIG day, it was a great trip. Now we are just waiting for our flight home to Boston.  Fingers crossed we don’t get delayed as there are some mean looking storms tracking between here and our connection in Chicago.  Of course, it doesn’t help that I am a nervous flyer.  At least I can snuggle up to David if things get bumpy up on the air.  To fill the time between now and boarding (3 hours from now…I get to the airport REALLY early because, like I just said, I am a NERVOUS flyer), David will play around on his phone and read some and, after blogging a little, I will also lose myself in my latest fiction selection, Sharp Objects. How do you spend your time at the airport?

IMG_3847

IMG_3852 IMG_3859 IMG_3869 IMG_3864 IMG_3868 IMG_3867 IMG_3870 IMG_3872 IMG_3901 IMG_3889 IMG_3890 IMG_3900

 

two years ago today

It is so hard to believe that two years ago was our wedding weekend! After a year of ceaseless planning, imagining, and booking, we spent the Friday before our Memorial Day wedding weekend, relaxing poolside at the Hammock Beach Resort. I vividly remember how warm that weekend was. The sun was such a welcome after a winter in Boston. Splashing in the pool together with friends and family was the best way to decompress, breathe, and truly take in the moment. People always say to relax on your wedding day, to let the professionals do their job, and to just enjoy yourself. Yet, this seems so impossible when the jitters of the year of planning and expectation radiate through your muscles and bones. We had never planned an event like this before, let alone a destination event.

5alcat_ES_WEB

4alcat_ES_WEB

 

Everything was perfect (at least to us). In the end, from soup to nuts, David and I  saw only the perfection of that weekend.  Yes, I am sure there were mistakes or faux pas made over that weekend, but I am going to be sappy and say we did not see any of them.  All we saw was each other and the commitment we were making to one another.  We were surrounded by constant love from our friends and families and our own love for one another was enveloping. Sometimes, I wish we could go back to that weekend not because I want to sap up all of the attention but because it was just so magical. We woke at 4AM on our wedding morning because we were just too excited for the events ahead to sleep. We ordered breakfast in bed and just laughed and danced around the hotel room until it was time to go off and get ready. Before we said goodbye, until the ceremony, we took a walk on the beach together. It was so early that we were the only two on the beach as the sun was rising.  Along the way, we gathered some seashells to bring home with us, talked about our future, and were just plain silly running and leaping in the waves. We were married at 5PM on Sunday, May 29, 2011. And this thing that David and I have has just gotten better with each year….