The second book I finished this summer, “The Longest Ride” by Nicholas Sparks, sure was a goodie!
Unlike most Sparks books however, I didn’t immediately fall in love with this one — it took some time. “The Longest Ride” brings two love stories together in a unique way.
One story is that of Ira and Ruth, the other is that of Luke and Sophia. Ira and Ruth were married for many years, and when readers meet Ira, he is a widower, trying to survive a bad car accident in freezing temperatures.
Luke and Sophia are college-age, lovers who meet at a rodeo, where Luke is competing. They both come from hardships of their own sort — her from heartache, and him from loss.
The chapters switch between the stories of Luke, Sophia, and Ira, which is a style I always appreciate, as it gives a fresh perspective every couple of pages.
I enjoyed reading about Sophia and Luke (admittedly) much more than that of Ira, and I think that’s simply because of the age gap.
However, I knew the stories were going to cross paths at some point, and as the book continued on, I felt myself wondering just how these two couples would intertwine. The way they did was pretty unexpected (no spoilers here).
I will say, that since it took me a little while to really get into this book, I carried it with me everywhere, so that I could read it at any moment, even if it was just a few pages.
Once, I was reading it while standing in line to buy movie tickets, and an older woman tapped me on the shoulder.
“Is that ‘The Longest Ride?’” she asked.
“That’s the only book of his I couldn’t get into,” she said.
So, be warned. However, it’s not slow the entire read. It’s a different formula than most of his books (there’s actually a happy ending), but it’s still a great book, and definitely one I would recommend.
If you don’t get to read it this summer, at least check it out before the movie version hits theaters April 2015.
If you could only see the happy dance I’m doing right now! I am WAY too excited over my brand new library card!
This all started many years ago, when I registered to vote in East Baton Rouge Parish. My voting spot is just down the road from my apartment, at a library. The only thing is, the voting area wasn’t around any books — or other evidence that it was in fact, a library.
A few people in my office later started telling me about the wonders of the library; the digital collection, DVDs, and of course, endless piles of books! I officially put it on my to-do list to get a library card.
Although it took me awhile to get around to it, I picked a rainy day after work when my muscles were too sore to get to the gym. I had my ID in tow, along with a list of books I was looking for.
It took all of two minutes to obtain said library card, and I was free to roam the stacks. There were so many books on my list that I saw on the shelves, but checkout time is three weeks, so I didn’t want to go overboard.
I ended up with two books that I’m really excited to read:
The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer: “The latest from Wolitzer (The Ten Year Nap) is a plodding story with a killer hook: will the women of Stellar Plains, N.J., ever have sex again? After new high school drama teacher Fran Heller begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the women of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War), every girl and woman in the community is overcome by a “spell” that causes them to lose all desire for sex. No one is immune, not Dory Lang and her husband, Robby, the most popular English teachers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School; not Leanne Bannerjee, the beautiful school psychologist; or the overweight college counselor Bev Cutler, shackled to a callous hedge-fund manager husband.
The Langs’ teenaged daughter, Willa, who eventually lands the lead in the play, is also afflicted, wreaking havoc on her relationship with Fran’s son, Eli. Despite the great premise and Wolitzer’s confident prose, the story never really picks up any momentum, and the questions posed—about parenthood, sacrifice, expectations, and the viability of long-term relationships in the age of Twitter—are intriguing but lack wallop.”
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan: “For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. Their beachfront property, won on a barroom bet after the war, sits on three acres of sand and pine nestled between stretches of rocky coast, with one tree bearing the initials “A.H.” At the cottage, built by Kelleher hands, cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and decades-old grudges simmer beneath the surface.
As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is thirty-two and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago.
By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other”
As usual, I’ll keep you posted on how they are. As far as other summer reads, I’ve also loaded up my iPad with Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska by John Green, Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. What are you reading this summer?
Posted in The Squeeze
Tags: authors, dating, ex boyfriends, family, fiction, fighting, first date, getting published, heartbreak, Holly A. Phillips, How to Make Lemonade, humor, library, life, love, pulitzer, relationships, sex, single, summer love, summer reads, The Bitter Lemon, writing, young love
The first guy I fell in love with cheated on me. We were best friends before we started dating, but our relationship was long distance, and there were 15 hours between us.
We had a rocky breakup, and he coincidentally had a new girlfriend right afterward. They are married now, so good for them. A few years later, I dated a guy who was fresh out of a relationship.
Or so I thought.
He was actually dating someone else, too, and told me one evening over plates of spaghetti.
“What do you think of that?” he asked me.
“Of what?” I said.
“That I have a girlfriend,” he continued.
Sure, there were still pictures of them in his house, and a few of her things were in his bathroom. But I didn’t think they were still together — I thought it was just residual.
He broke up with her shortly afterward, and I really liked him (like, crazy liked him), but it was one of those moments when I realized… if he would dump her for me, then who would he dump me for?
He eventually dumped me, and got back with her, and then married someone entirely different.
I later dated someone who cheated on me for years; so you can see why I get so bitter sometimes. But once a cheater, always a cheater? I’m not so sure.
I hate to write people off; especially if it was years and years ago. However, I do think people that have cheated are wired to cheat. It’s either in your blood or it’s not.
But I don’t think a person who has cheated will cheat with every single person they are with. Will they cheat more than once with the same person? Probably.
In my experiences with cheating (nearly every serious relationship I’ve had involves a guy cheating on me), it’s an ego thing for the cheater — he/she needs an ego boost, as one person all over them just isn’t enough.
It’s sick, I know.
Cheating, for me, is relative, too. To me, it’s one thing if a person sleeps with someone one time. But… then there’s the other side of me that thinks, well, if I let him get away with it this time, then he’ll do it again.
But one thing is for sure, you can never stop someone from cheating. They’re going to do it, because that’s what they want to do — it doesn’t matter how pretty you are, how great in bed you are, or how much you cook dinner.
If he’s cheating, there’s no stopping him. It’s just a matter of you deciding if you’re going to put up with it or not.
I have always loved watching The Food Network, and I really love catching episodes of The Pioneer Woman lately. Her name is Ree Drummond, but she is really known as Pioneer Woman, which started from her wildly popular blog.
Ree is a mother, and she lives on a working ranch “In the middle of nowhere.” Her cooking reflects her tastes, as well as those of her children, and her husband — a true cowboy.
What I love about her show, and the blog, is that its accessible. None of the ingredients are anything fancy, it’s simple, but it’s homemade, and often hearty.
I also love that the show is really filmed in her Oklahoma Ranch home — which is beautiful — but the kitchen is huge, and it’s cool to think she actually lives there and isn’t just cooking on a set.
Her blog gets more than 20 million viewers each month, and it was named Blog of the Year in 2009, 2010, and 2011. These numbers overflowed into book sales, as her cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl is a #1 Bestseller.
She has another book (a memoir), Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, which debuted at #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers list for nonfiction hardcover. She also has a popular children’s book series, based on the adventures of her dog, Charlie.
According to her website, she went to college in California, and worked in the corporate world for years. During a visit to her hometown, she fell in love with a cowboy, and now spends her days as the pioneer woman!
If you haven’t seen her show, definitely check it out — new episodes are on every Saturday morning at 10/9 central, on The Food Network.
We met on a porch swing after a baseball game. He was tall and tan, and his name was Zach.
When I got up from the swing, and walked out of earshot, he told my friends he liked what he saw in my white jeans.
He looked pretty good in his baseball pants, too.
We were only 18, living in Indiana. It was my last summer before I moved to Baton Rouge, to go to LSU.
Without much hesitation, we spent the summer together, knowing we’d part ways in August.
Many nights were spent driving through cornfields to get to his parents’ house, where he built a “Tiki hut” — a shed with windows and strings of flamingo lights — and we’d sip malt liquor until sunrise.
I even started to like country music that summer, hearing it constantly while riding in Zach’s truck. To this day, “These Days,” by Rascal Flatts takes me down memory lane. Read more…
This week’s picture is a little different — it’s a throwback… to probably 2001-ish? The photo is of me and one of my best friends, Angela, on the roof of One Lytle Place (or as Angela calls it, One Little Palace) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I picked this for this week’s photo, because today is Angela’s birthday.
I met Angela when I was in 6th grade, through another friend. It didn’t take long for us to become best friends once we met, having sleepovers, and bonding over two things: our love of Hanson, and our uncanny ability to eat loads of candy without gaining a single pound.
Over the years — the near 17 years that we’ve been friends — we’ve been through a lot together. We’ve taken many-a-vacation together, visiting Pensacola, Florida several times, seeing Mall of America, visiting the white sands of St. Thomas, and taking road trips to Tennessee.
When I visited her in San Diego, we took our first wine tour of the Temecula Valley, a trip I will never forget. She came with me to Baton Rouge, to stay in my dorm room during my first week at college. And I stayed in her dorm room in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
She’s come to Mardi Gras, and I’ve helped her cook the last six Thanksgiving dinners — one of my all-time favorite traditions (which is followed by opening Christmas gifts and watching Christmas movies).
But our friendship has seen more than just good times. Angela was there for me when I had my first (second, and third) car accident, when my parents got divorced, for every breakup I’ve been through, for the funerals we’ve had to attend. And a few times, we’ve gotten in fights… but thankfully, they never lasted too long, and with forgiving hearts, our friendship endured.
I’ve always believed that physical distance won’t break a true bond, and my friendship with Angela is proof of that. But Angela is more than my friend — she has become my family.
And so, Angela, I want to wish you a very happy birthday — it won’t be the last! I hope your day is as fabulous, and as bright as you are! Cheers to our years of friendship, and many, many more.
A few days ago, I was driving to work, and while looking in my rearview mirror, it appeared my foundation had already smudged near the start of my left eyebrow.
At a stoplight, I proceeded to blend the smudge with my fingers. I had no luck, and upon closer inspection, I realized that it was indeed NOT a smudge, but a deep wrinkle where my makeup had settled.
I gasped in horror. There was no fixing that line without a needle-full of botox.
I turn 29 tomorrow, and I’m feeling a little stressed. It didn’t really hit me until about a week ago — I honestly kept forgetting that my birthday was around the corner.
Blame it on the old age, but it seems like a rare moment when I even know what day it is. I rely completely on my calendar, and if it’s not on my calendar, then it’s not really happening.
Just a few weeks ago, I mailed a check without putting an address on it. It’s happening already, I’m a year away from 30, and I’m forgetful, careless, and I need facial injections.
Irrational thinking is common around my birthday. I do more reflecting on July 2 than I do on January 1. I start thinking about where I’ve been, where my life is going, do I have a plan?
And I’ve almost always been single on my birthday, leaving me to question that as well — is this how it’s going to be, forever? Since I’m not sold on having children, it’s not necessarily a biological clock issue, but more of just a life issue. I’m not getting any younger, and obviously my face isn’t getting any smoother, chest isn’t getting any perkier, and I don’t think my personality is blossoming.
I need to find a dude, and fast… or do I?
I’m still feeling wishy-washy on the whole subject; despite creating an online dating profile last week (more on this later).
Seriously, sometimes I wonder… is there really going to be a guy out there willing to put up with me? I like to sleep with my TV on, and lay around for a majority of a Sunday (no matter how nice it is outside), and I like to read trashy novels, and sometimes I eat junk food.
I’ve never really been able to share this part of me with a guy, for fear that if I do, he’ll run. But I’m so old, and set in my ways, that the next guy is going to have to take it or leave it.
So, about that birthday thing… where’s the chocolate?
Many years ago, when I was a different person, I was seriously in love with a man I loved to cook and bake for. I felt like if I did things that a perfect girlfriend would do, then he’d see that I could be a perfect wife, too.
But my plan failed miserably. However, I’m still left with a recipe for these delicious, drool-worthy Mocha Chip Cookies!
My then-boyfriend had an affinity for Taylor Swift, so when I read an article that said Taylor Swift made Mocha Chip Cookies, I found a recipe, and whipped them up, immediately.
- 2 1/4 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 pound of margarine
- 1 cup of light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso, coffee, or cappuccino powder mix with 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 18 ounces of chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts are good, too)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and set aside.
- In a mixer, beat the margarine, sugars, chocolate syrup, and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beat until smooth (about 5 minutes). Add in the dry ingredients, coffee mixture, chocolate chips, and nuts. Mix by hand with a wooden spoon until mixed.
- Drop on a baking sheet by rounded teaspoons, about 2-inches apart, and bake for 12-14 minutes.
- Let cool — if possible — and eat!
Susie Meredith is an HR professional for one of the world’s leading online retailers. She currently resides in Nashville, TN with her Golden Retriever, Sadie and her two cats, Vinny and Joey. Susie saved Vinny and Joey from a hard life in the cat-mob on the streets of Tennessee. She received her Bachelor’s in HR Development from Indiana State University and is currently working toward her Master’s in HR Management.
While obtaining her Bachelor’s she was a member of the Gamma Chi chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha where along with holding several leadership positions she also spent a significant amount of time partying hard, having fun, and playing Harvest Moon on Nintendo 64 with her roommates. Susie moved to Nashville with her family after a lifetime of living in Indiana after college and loves being a transplant Nashvillian. In her free time she is a self proclaimed TV junkie, alien movie connoisseur, and craft extraordinaire. Her motto is “If you can buy it, I can make it,” which sometimes leads to some interesting projects and meals.
*** This is Part II, Read Part I here ***
… He had a Giantess fetish.
Yup there it is, my proof that I am still in Crazyville. But after many years of odd confessions from people and working in HR, I have learned to have an open mind and decided to do a little research and what I found was quite interesting. He sent me a link to a fetish page that was full of videos of grown women running around trying to step on, squish, sit on, and eat tiny little men.
Like men that are two inches tall and a full size woman.
One woman put the little man in her purse and carried him around. Another tried to trap the little man under a wire trash can. Another kept her tiny man in a hamster cage. Yup. Shit just got weird.
He even had a favorite actress. What I found interesting about this was there was no sexual element of these videos. Both the women and man were fully clothed and not talking nor partaking in any sexual acts. I know that there are videos that are out there that are sexual in nature, but not the ones that he was watching (of course according to him).
He then proceeded to tell me that he watched them when he was “horny” and asked me if it was something I would be interested in. And I laughed to myself. Thank the good Lord it was over text because he would have thought I was the biggest bitch if it would have been in person. I conveniently “fell asleep” before responding to the texts.
I responded back in the morning and told him I had fallen asleep and would chat with him later. I talked to a few friends about it and they got a chuckle out of as we all had never heard of this before. I then started forming quite a few questions in my head.
- You are aware that this could never happen in real life correct?
- If you had your choice of a girl… ready to do whatever you want, or watching giant ladies which would you choose?
- How often do you participate in this activity?
- How does one realize that they are interested in such a thing?
The next night around eight he text me and told me he was in my area and wanted to stop by my house. I was completely caught off guard and quickly did the fifty mile an hour fluff and stuff trying to hide my hoard. So he came over and sat on my couch and hung out… FOREVER! Till one in the morning, and I had to be at work at eight… and I’m one of those eight-to-ten-hours-of-sleep girls, so he was messing with my chi.
But he was good company and I was having fun so I rolled with it. During this time I was able to ask my questions. I found out that he does this whenever he feels horny. He was introduced to it by a friend I believe (I’m not swearing on that). Although he knows it could never happen in real life, it is simply a fantasy (which I still don’t get) that he enjoys… quite often. And if he had his choice between the girl and the videos his exact answer was “It depends on my mood.”
No, I did not stutter. It depends on his mood if he has sex with an actual interested female party or with his hand in front of his computer. At this point in time I’m still caught off guard; all I can imagine is being in a relationship with someone and wanting to have some “special time” and him just being like, “Nah…. I’ve got these videos of giant ladies chasing after tiny men I would rather masturbate to.”
Not good for a girl’s self-esteem. When I asked him about it, he was just like well this is how I am, I told you I was weird. And then I was stuck on it. I was stuck on the fact that he would rather jerk off than have sex with someone. I still don’t get it. He just kept saying “it’s a fantasy” or “it’s a fetish, you wouldn’t understand unless you had a fetish.”
Well I’ve got a fantasy that includes Eric from True Blood making me his vampire boo thing, but that doesn’t prevent me from being with real guys. And of course things continued down Weird Street. It was almost like he was mad that he told me about it and decided he would turn into a dick. We went from talking every day to him not ever answer my texts, or sending me a text and starting a conversation but never responding, and when I would get irritated with his lack of response I suddenly was looking too much into things, or going crazy.
Remember in the beginning where I said this was one of my biggest pet peeves? Yeah. Too much vodka and a cell phone ended up with me texting him telling him how much of an asshole I though he was being and if he wanted to be my “friend or whatever he was doing” he needed to realize that this would be the quickest way to piss me off. I apologized for my drunken tirade, but verified that it was still a hot button for me when people did that repeatedly.
The last time I heard from him I asked him if he wanted to hang out and he said it was “Laundry day” or some BS. I then wondered how I ended up on the shit end of this stick? I’m just trying to be friends with the tiny man who wants to be trapped by a giant woman and he’s turning me down like I’m some troll trying to marry him.
I dropped it immediately; I went against my gut instinct and let it go on to long. NO MORE! We haven’t spoken since but I still get a chuckle out of the man who wanted a giant lady to chase him around. As a joke my friend brought me one of her son’s tiny toy soldiers. She told me we should put him in different places and take pictures and send them to him. I did it once and then forgot about it.
He now resides in the bottom of my pen cup which seems to be exactly where my friendship ended up, tossed away and forgotten. Although this wasn’t a relationship I actually wanted I find it interesting how quickly at the end he reminded me that I resided in the Friend Zone. Suddenly I was making something out of nothing when a week before he was trying to get me to pretend to be a giant lady via text so he could jack off to it.
There is nothing “Friend Zone” about sexting and it’s not something I prefer to participate in anyways. Why does the phone always have to be in the middle of every relationship?! So as I sit on the corner of Weird Street and Awkward Avenue I think, I must give off some kind of pheromone to guys with weird habits that draws them to me and then compels them to treat me like dirt…
Editor’s Note: The contest winner from Tuesday’s Tattly give away is below…
Tomorrow around 5 am marks one entire year that I’ve been single.
A party of one.
I know that when my ex, D, and I broke up, I was miserable. Even though our relationship was not anything good, I had no idea how I was going to make it through.
Yet, here I am.
I have been through a ton of breakups, and at the time, of course it felt like my life was over — how is it that a person comes into our lives, changes things, and then leaves, and we’re just supposed to come back like nothing happened?
Well, after many dating disasters, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be changed afterward. If my heart has broken a dozen times, then I’ve sewn it back together 13, and it would probably look like a Pinterest failure, but it’s in one piece.
The other day, I got a text message from a guy in my past. He said, “Not that this probably matters to you, but I really hope that you find someone that treats you the way you deserve to be treated. One that can satisfy you and make you feel beautiful.”
Yeah, I hope so, too.
I was thinking about it, and no matter what happens to me, I’m still certain there’s someone out there for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not The Bitter Lemon for nothing — there is still a huge part of me that thinks maybe I’m just a dreamer.
But I’m not ready to shut myself off. For all I know, there could be a guy out there having just as terrible luck as I’ve had.
When anniversaries like this roll around, it’s easy for me to sit here and say that I’ve had it rough. Because, sometimes I have. But at the same time, I know there are reasons why I’ve found myself in less-than-perfect situations.
Sometimes I don’t know if it’s because I’m still learning; about myself, those around me, and this world we live in. Or maybe it’s because I have such a big mouth (or fast fingers for typing purposes) and people can learn from my stories. If that’s the case, I’m happy to be a pawn in this game, really.
There is a line in the beginning of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” that keeps sticking with me: “…After a modicum of fame, you don’t have to think things up anymore. People offer you stories unbidden.”
And it’s true; I’ve always got stories. Granted, most of them are mine, but that’s not my point.
When I think about my past, I noticed I always get this fabulous sense of freedom after a breakup. I celebrate the fact that I can have ice cream at 3am! I can go to the gym after work! I can go to work without makeup!
And, yes, all of these things sound really stupid, but I’ve been put in relationship where those things weren’t okay. But they’re always okay with me, and so until someone comes along that’s down with my rules, I think I’ll just stick with me. It’s taken me years to see that a relationship doesn’t mean I can’t be me. Because after years of being single, I think I’m pretty cool.
So, until then, it’s Holly, party of one.
…And, oh yeah, the Tattly gift card winner is…
So, first commenter, Melissa! Let me know what email address you’d like me to send the e-card to, and I will send it your way. As always, be on the lookout for more giveaways!