{Currently Reading} Pnin & Wide Sargasso Sea

Hi from Texas! 
I've been spending time with family/friends, eating butter-filled dishes, and chatting my face off.  It's been grand. 
I've also been reading a ton since classes have finished for the semester {made the grade!}, and I'm on holiday. Along with the books I mentioned earlier, I'll share my thoughts on two of the best and the boring.


Somehow, the subtle humor of this short novel was lost on me, and I only found myself chuckling at the most obvious of Pnin's blunders. I had a great deal of sympathy for him {that ex-wife was terrible!}, and I would have liked Nabokov to explore his relationship with his son in greater detail. 
I can see how this story would work well broken into smaller pieces and published in a magazine, as it was initially in The New Yorker; however, the multitude of somewhat pointless breaks in the plot {rests, maybe?} caused me to lose interest and set the book down many times.
I have Lolita just waiting for me on my bookshelf, but I'm not sure Pnin built up Nabokov's case to dedicate more time to his novels. One day, maybe.

    by Jean Rhys

"The house was burning, the yellow-red sky was like the sunset...Nothing would be left, the golden ferns and the silver ferns, the orchids, the ginger lilies and the roses...When they had finished, there would be nothing left but blackened walls and the mounting stone. That was always left. That could not be stolen or burned."
In the first section of three in Rhys' response to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Rhys explores the same dark, uncontrollable trauma that Eyre experiences in her lifetime. The quote above is plucked from the end of part one, and struck me as one of the best descriptions in the novel, as it helped me connect to the main character, known by the name of Bertha in Jane Eyre, or the 'madwoman in the attic'.  A Creole in the West Indies, Antoinette {or Bertha} grew up hated by both black and white people, as she and her family where somewhere in between. Her home is vandalized, her mother is/becomes crazy, and she's driven to marriage as she's told it's her only option. Part two of the novel if from Rochester's perspective, and details why he detests the unknown land he's sent to to find his wife. The hatred is from the same vein we see his character erupt from in Jane Eyre. It's interesting that I was sympathetic to his character in both Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre. I remember reading Jane Eyre in high school and every girl in the class despised Rochester, but somehow I still liked him. The same was true for this novel. Then, in the last section, we meet the mad woman in the attic of Rochester's huge house. It's tragic, dark and beautiful.
If you've read Jane Eyre and loved it, look into Rhys' response.  On the other hand, too, if you didn't care for Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea can perhaps help you to connect or identify with the characters of Bronte's classic novel.

What are you {Currently Reading}?  Just curious, but who is your favorite Bronte and why?


Decembear, Again

Hi guys.
With finals, major family events, preparing to travel and work deadlines, this week has been filled to the brim with emotion.
In an effort to avoid recounting every detail of my week, I'll give an update on Decembear instead.  Where has he been over the past few days?  All over the house!
December 12: He looked in the toy chest.
He might be a little old for those toy blocks. Decembear doesn't care.
{Never heard of this adorable bear?  Read up on his history.}


{PGH Dining} Alexander's Italian Bistro

This might sound odd {or alcoholic to some}, but every once in a while I get a craving for red wine and pasta covered in red sauce. 
Each time I get that craving, I know the place I'll be having my dinner - Alexander's Italian Bistro on Liberty Ave. in Bloomfield. Again, I wax nostalgic about this place because it was out first 'real Italian' experience when we rolled into Pittsburgh last December. And, was it a good one.


Finals & Chifforobes

It's finals week, y'all.  Graduate school finals, at that.  Twenty-five-percent-of-your-grade finals.  
Are ya with me?
To top it off, this is deadline week at work, too.

Time to go cry a little.


{PGH Dining} Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar

Early Saturday afternoon, we stopped into Arsenal Cider House & Wine Cellar in central Lawrenceville.  We'd been hearing about the cidery {It's a real word, people.} for awhile. It was one of the last stops on our personal Cookie Tour, and I was ready to taste a few of their artisan-crafted hard ciders.


Over the Weekend: Tacos, Target {+ Neiman Marcus} & Tours

After a long week of getting back into the swing of things after a fantastic 4+ day holiday break, I was ready for a cocktail.  A coworker and I planned a happy hour for Friday evening at a favorite of mine in Lawrenceville.  It was a merry group!
Festive wall paper/ceiling.



Each year, my Mom had my Dad bring down the Christmas decorations from the attic, and began putting things up the day after Thanksgiving.  The sparkling lights, the bright colors - we were able to enjoy all of these things even before the month began.
I am my mother's daughter, so I decked our halls on November 18.  Looking around afterwards, I thought something might be missing. Recalling my memories of my Mom's decorations, I thought about the holiday calendar my Granny hand-made: Decembear: A Beary Merry Christmas