Friday, January 23, 2015

newborn girl wins the hearts of local couple, reports say.

1 / 15 / 15
3:34 pm
8 pounds, 1 ounce
21.5 inches long

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014: a few books i read, part 2.

a few more highlights of my reading year, for your reading enjoyment (or boredom. feel free to skip this post, is what i'm trying to say). i put off doing a part 2 of this series for a while because the last post took so. long. to write, so i'm going to try & shorten it down this time. just some blurbs. ***quick note now that the whole post has been written: it's still pretty long. be warned.***

outlander, by diana gabaldon. i got really into reading the outlander series this summer while we were on our europe trip. i wanted to read a substantial series while we were over there, what with all the train rides & plane trips we'd be having. my original plan was to start the song of ice & fire series - but at the last minute i decided to check out this little ("little," haha) series a few of my friends had told me about, but i myself didn't know that much about. that little series...was outlander. i've read the first 4 books but don't worry, THERE ARE EIGHT BOOKS IN THE SERIES & DIANA'S NOT DONE WRITING. i've got my work cut out for me, although at the moment i'm the midst of an outlander break while i read other good things.

a quote: "'Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things have ever happened to me, and you say ye love me.'" oh outlander. bring on the love & dramaaaa.

the interestings, by meg wolitzer. i enjoyed this book, & found myself getting really into the lives & stories of all the main characters. it also resonated with me in a somewhat uncomfortable way - the story is about a group of teenage prodigy-like artists & dreamers who meet at summer camp, & it follows their lives through the years as some in the group grow up to be successful & wealthy, while others...don't. it kind of made me take a step back & evaluate my life, & whether or not i'm fully living up to the goals & dreams i had for myself when i was a teenager. 

a quote: "New York in the mid-1980s was an impossible, unlivable, unleavable city. The homeless sometimes lay directly in your path on the sidewalk, and it was hard not to become inured to them. You had to train your mind to remember: human being lying here at my feet, not someone to feel contempt toward. Otherwise you could turn sour and inward-looking, propelled only by disgust and self-defense as you made your way out into the grid each morning."

one more thing, by b.j. novak. a collection of small, fictional stories that are actually really thought-provoking, funny, & original. 

a quote: "CHILD: Why does carrot cake have the best icing? MOTHER: Because it needs the best icing." (this is actually one entire story. as in, these two lines make up the story. the story is called, "kindness among cakes.")

the virgin suicides, by jeffrey eugenides. i really enjoyed eugenides's two other novels, middlesex & the marriage plot, & this third one by him (funnily enough, it was the first novel of the three he wrote but it was the last of the three i read) was just icing - dreamy, beautifully written, & very reminiscent to me of tavi gevinson's quirky, ultrafeminine blog. i mean, i myself am of the feminine species, but this book is so well-written i felt like i was another one of the neighborhood boys, craning my neck in desperation, trying to get even the tiniest glimpse into this secret world of girls.

a quote: "[After reading Cecilia's diary], we knew the pain of winter wind rushing up your skirt, and the ache of keeping your knees together in class, and how drab and infuriating it was to jump rope while the boys played baseball . . . We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together . . . We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them."

the art of fielding, by chad harbach. similar to the interestings, i found myself really liking the characters & their development in this novel. it's very good, & i would certainly recommend it. a solid book. there is a lot of baseball talk, but of course, as it always is with this sort of thing, baseball is a metaphor for so much more. in that vein, i really loved this quote i'm about to share with you:

a quote: "Henry could feel a quiet, electric idea slithering through the ballpark as Schwartzy strode to the plate and pawed at the chalk-swirled back line of the batter's box with his size-fourteen spike. He was Westish's all-time home-run leader, and he looked the part. The Amherst fans . . . fell quiet. The tiny contingent of Westish parents stood and whistled and clapped. The other six thousand people slid a few inches forward in their seats, together producing a subtle shift in energy that was evident throughout the park . . . There was a lot of superstitious fidgeting and shifting--nobody wanted to move around too much, which was itself unlucky, but nobody wanted to get stuck in an unlucky pose . . . Deep down, [Henry] thought, we all believe we're God. We secretly believe that the outcome of the game depends on us, even when we're only watching--on the way we breathe in, the way we breathe out, the T-shirt we wear, whether we close our eyes as the pitch leaves the pitcher's hand and heads toward Schwartz . . . Each of us, deep down, believes that the whole world issues from his own precious body, like images projected from a tiny slide onto an earth-sized screen. And then, deeper down, each of us knows he's wrong."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

on the internet, a few things to read.

tina fey + amy poehler + golden globes. this sunday! also, a history of their friendship (deemed in the article as "mankind's greatest friendship since Jesus & whichever apostle he liked best," tee hee [sorry if that line offends you]).

what you learn in your 40s. "when you're unsure if it's a woman or a man, it's a woman." haha.

love & arms: my friend shared this excerpt with me & it's quite the intense reading experience.

a college professor's thoughts on why he's teaching a class called "wasting time on the internet."

ayn rand reviews children's books. on old yeller: "a farm animal ceases to be useful & is disposed of humanely. a valuable lesson for children. four stars." oh ayn, how is it you manage to be an unceasing font of humor & interest to this day?

funny pre-flight info: "smoking is prohibited throughout the aircraft, including the lavatories, which, by the way, have been locked from the inside."

finally, after all these years, we get to hear the baroness schraeder's side of the breakup ("Those of you on the Captain’s side of the guest list are probably aware of the reason for the change of plans. I’m sure by now you have received that charming “Save the date!” card in the shape of a mountain goat from the Captain and his new fiancĂ©e, Maria). it's excellent.

gif ("jif"? how are we pronouncing this word? it's 2015 & i still hesitate)

speaking of the sound of music & etc, THIS PHOTO (!!!).

"being a single woman today isn't easy." HAHAHA.

one poor girl discovers something truly disturbing about her boyfriend. HAHAHA.

127 movies & tv shows to look forward to in 2015. 

i'm pretty intrigued by this book

the clothes & fashion of downton abbey this season.

the "everyday sexism" of women waiting in public toilet lines. :( :(

Monday, January 5, 2015

maternity photo shoot, part 4.

i have to say that out of all the (anti-) maternity photos corinne took of me, the batch in this post might be some of my favorite. i apologize to you all for having to look at my ugly mug a few more times in these upcoming pictures. here we go:

i promise i'm enjoying this pregnancy (or at least surviving it ;) ), although my face in the photo below might suggest otherwise:

in this one i look especially distressed: 

aren't these stairs such a good find? central park is a wide place full of wonders (& the occasional dog poop that hasn't been picked up, or whatever)

this one is a favorite of mine, i'd have to say:

these next two are favorites, as well:

jeez the belly looks huge in this next one (i'm sorry, you're probably like, "DUH, shayla," but sometimes i forget what my belly looks like. if that makes sense? it's like those times you get a new haircut, & then whenever you catch your reflection over the next few days you're kinda startled into remembering what you now look like.)

let's call this next one "pondering epistemology & episiotomy" :

p.s. i just told that epistemological title to ben & he said "GROSS." haha.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014: our year in review.

2014 was a good year for our little family. like anyone else, we had our setbacks & disappointments - but we also had some real nice moments. here's a quick look back:

january was pretty low-key. all finished up with classwork, i was doggedly writing my thesis full-time...& working full-time. ben's schedule for a lot of this year included putting in long hours working & researching on campus & tutoring most nights. we participated in a food marathon that took us all over the 5 boroughs. i CAN'T believe was a year ago now. it feels so, so recent.

february also didn't have much happening. we ate steak on valentine's day, visited the 9/11 memorial with our church youth group, & celebrated benjamin's birthday, at which point i made a list of 27 reasons why i'm crazy about that ocean-eyed physicist. it was a month in which we mostly geared up for the happenings of the next month...

...that's right, march was a  big month. we saw the avett brothers at the barclays center, i traveled to boston for a frandsen sister's reunion...

...& we took a trip to china! ben had a conference & we turned it into a week-long stay in beijing. i was able to get us around with my [admittedly a tad rusty] chinese, we hiked along the great wall, ate delicious food, had a few of those famously painful massages, & tried not to let the pollution affect us in any long-term way. (you can read about our china trip day one part one & part two, day two, our hike along the great wall, day four, & our indulgent day five).

on the streets:

braving the crowds at the forbidden city:

a great day on a great wall:

beef noodle soup that is so, so good:

in april we stayed at a cabin outside the city with friends during conference weekend, & i ran in both a 10k & a half marathon

in may we celebrated our 3-year anniversary, i finished my thesis, & we learned that i was pregnant! all good things.

june was a big month. i graduated with my master's degree in english (& we announced my pregnancy to both sets of parents while they were in town that weekend!) & we took another trip...

...this time to europe! it was truly lovely, marred only by the fact that i was pretty throw up-y for some of the time. but even blowing chow in the parking lot in front of stonehenge couldn't stop us from really enjoying ourselves. we were there just shy of a month, & all told, we made stops in zurich, salzburg, vienna, london & hartwell, england, edinburgh, the scottish highlands, coma-ruga, & barcelona. we visited the swiss alps, stonehenge, the hundertwasser haus, the cliffs of dover, & much more. we stayed in europe through july. later that month we saw jay-z & beyonce perform at the barclays center.

in vienna:


cliffs of dover:

in coma ruga, spain:

in scotland:

in barcelona:

in august i announced my pregnancy here on the blog. we spent a few days in montauk after ben had some work out there, then a weekend in montreal while he attended a conference, & then a week in vancouver, bc.

crashing waves (albeit mini ones) in montauk:

checking out downtown montreal:

poutine in montreal:

at vancouver's [really well done] shakespeare festival:

& biking around stanley park with my parents:

in september we saw the black keys at the barclays center, my little baby bump was starting to pop a bit (we found out the gender in august!), & i ran a ragnar in the adirondacks with some good friends. it was a great time, but soon after that, much to my dismay, my doc told me to start taking it easy.

october was fun. ben ran in a tough mudder, i went to the blaze with some friends (comparisons of the size of my belly to that of a pumpkin were inevitable), & my pregnancy kept rolling along. ALSO, for halloween ben & i dressed up as reverend dimmsdale & hester prynne from the scarlet letter, thus utilizing my belly in the greatest way ever since its creation. on halloween night we attended procession of the ghouls & took a few photos in the dark cathedral afterwards.

at the blaze:

in the cathedral:

november was the month of family visits, during which we enjoyed the company of both ben's older sister naomi & his younger brother christian. ben has good people. we also fulfilled a longtime dream of mine & saw carmen, & it came to pass i could no longer tie or untie my shoes.

all this brings us to last month, december. my friend corinne took a few photos of my burgeoning belly, & ben & i took advantage of the holiday time off & enjoyed a string of fun days together - christmas eve, christmas day, & the day after christmas (there's gotta be a better name for that day...boxing day, i guess?? :). we sent out our environmentally-friendly christmas card [which i'm certain everyone received with great rejoicing], sang in our stake christmas concert with a few other people (we formed a "ten-tet," to be exact, i know that to be the official name of a singing group of ten people) my friends threw me a beautiful baby shower, & we saw the nutcracker.

the tree at the met on christmas eve:

our charlie brown tree on christmas day:

ben taking it all in at the armory on boxing day(?) :

the armory exhibit we saw on boxing day:

photos from the shoot with corinne inside the ny public library:

& from when we went outside:

& our christmas card:

2014, we were happy to know ya! of course, as always, i write this wholly recognizing that this blog post, one that took me a solid three hours to compile, gather photos for, & write, will take you about a minute to read through. & that is wholly unfair :) let's hear it for 2015 - the big year, the BABY year.

check out the year-in-reviews i did for 2012 & 2011...i guess i just wasn't feeling it in 2013? sorry, guys.


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