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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scotland Prep, part 1: Hotels

I tried to wait until the very last minute to even begin blogging about my upcoming trip, but as we can see that didn't last very long at all....
This first blog (of many, let's just face it...) will showcase the glorious hotels we will be staying at! Can't wait!

1) Menzies Hotel -- Glasgow. We fly into Glasgow, and this will be the first hotel where we will stay. Looks very typical for a big urban locale. I think we will have about five hours to sleep here once our flight gets in before the tour begins!



2) Ballachulish Hotel -- Oh. My. Gosh. Will you just look at this? Ahhh-mazing! Right next to Loch Levan as well. I think I will sleep maybe five minutes here so I can spend as much time exploring it's majesty!

3) Columba Hotel -- Inverness. I could not find a larger picture, but this one looks great as well! The area around it is so cute, and it looks like it is right in the heart of Inverness.

4) Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House -- Blairs. This one looks just magical too, doesn't it?

5) The Roxburghe Hotel -- Edinburgh. The tour officially ends here, and we are staying on another night to take some say tours to various amazing places. This one's location is just perfect for exploring Edinburgh!

6) The Dalmahoy --Edinburgh.
We end our vacation at this little gem, about 7 miles or so outside of the city. And because we have racked up so many flippin Mariott rewards points, our two nights cost us nothing, just 50,000 hard earned points. However, it is a beautiful resort and we can get some nice Scottish charm and relaxation before I cry one million tears on the way to the airport.

Misty Springtime in the City

Today, albeit a typical misty and a little bit rainy spring day, pretty much encompassed every emotion due to various matters. My mom, sister, and tiniest niece went downtown to the Shedd Aquarium. I was very excited as I had never been there before.



The fish, turtles, sharks, snails, sea horses, eels, otters, penguins, ducks, belugas, dolphins, and JELLIES were just amazing. The jellies were definitely my favorite. If you are able to get over to the exhibit before it leaves, I highly recommend it. They are just fascinating.


Pictures to come soon, but there are slightly more pressing issues at hand. In exactly 2 months, I will be going somewhere amazing! That being said, it is only proper to blog about that post haste!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love -- Film Review


Yes, I know I am breaking my own rule and seeing a film before I read the book. However, this happened to be On Demand last night, and well I just decided to see it. I must admit that I find it hard to resist the charms of Javier Bardem ;)


For me, this was one of those films that had certain parts and exchanges between characters that spoke right to me. I had a deep emotional reaction to it, as I felt very similar to Liz's character in several areas of my life. However, it can be said then that due to this positive bias so early established, I of course would have a favorable review of the film, so I will try to keep the two aspects as separate as possible.


This film did not receive very good critic's reviews. I am not sure what this was based on (acting, relation to the memoir, etc.). I thought JR did very well as the lead, although some of the exchanges between her and her ex-husband were lacking at times, I didn't really believe (and at first understand) the troubles they were going through. The other characters had nice development I think, and as the last big quote (the aha! moment, I'd like to think) really puts it out there that they all had a purpose for her, and that is what is important. I loved the various filming locations as well, simply beautiful, including the scenery, filming options used, the people, etc etc etc!


Again, let me reiterate that I do intend to read the memoir as well and compare the two, and perhaps my rather positive opinion of the film will change, but until then, I will say it was quite enjoyable and very uplifting. Inspiring, if you will. And to make it come full circle, let me just say if Mr. Bardem invited me to a tropical island for a few days, he would not have to ask twice ;)



Well, now that the Blackhawks game is over, perhaps I can actually finish this entry, huh? I apologize, I seemed to be on a nice role in reviewing the film, and then my team got all nail-bitingly nerve-wracking, and so now I must try to wrap this up somewhat coherently.


What else did I want to say? Oh yes. The joke Liz tells, about the man who prays to win the lottery is told by the Saint to but a ticket! That truly hits it on the head for me in many, many aspects of my life. I am not happy with a couple of things right now, some I can control, and some I cannot. With one thing in particular, I have taken up that role of wishing and hoping that it will change, bargaining, etc, but I need to really own it and start doing things to maybe make that desire come true. And while I would be more than happy to accomplish this by taking a year long trip like Liz did, I am not sure that is plausible at the moment. I am, however, going to Scotland, and who knows what lies in store for me over there....

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein



Let's get the preliminaries out first. I received this book today at about 11:00am, and finished it in 6 hours. I would recommend not beginning this one unless you have a good chunk of time on your hands, because I can promise that you will be hard pressed to put it down.


What a beautiful story. A dog, Enzo, who describes himself as having a human soul, talks about his life with his family, and the various adventures, trials, and pure happiness they have shared. Much is outlined at the beginning, so I will not divulge many main details so as to spoil the flow of the novel.


In the most basic of terms, it was an emotional roller coaster. Enzo is hilarious at times with his frustrations at not being able to directly communicate with his master, his lack of thumbs, etc. He is incredibly smart and wise, and we could all learn a thing or two from the 'suggestions' he gives us humans as his story unfolds. As many times as there is the purest of joy, there are also stretches of darkness, tearing out hearts and bringing more than a few tears to my eyes.


I don't know what it is like to not have ever had a dog. I don't know how someone without this experience will react to reading it, but because it is such a great story, I am sure they will still feel the ups and downs. I will say, however, that this novel more likely than not hits a little bit more to the core of those of us lucky to have one of the loyal, four legged companions in our lives. Some of the things Enzo talks about, as well as the 'roles' he decides completely unselfishly to take on, are exactly what we feel sometimes is really going on for them. The dogs I have been so blessed to have were so smart, and while perhaps they lacked formal reasoning skills, they knew exactly what was going on at times when I was happy or sad, and acted in a way in which to share in my joy and make me even happier, or offer a warm nudge to try and offer their comfort to ease the pain. Truly the best friend a human could ever have.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

books!

Being a voracious reader, I have decided to get a few books I have been wanting to read for a wee while. Happy Birthday to me!

Ordered today (and receiving Saturday, I love amazon Prime!) were The Art of Racing in the Rain, A Discovery of Witches, and Water for Elephants. Two of the three are for the two book clubs I am part of, and the third one has been recommended numerous times.

So that is exciting! I can't wait to get them and begin. The only wrench in the plan is that I am also reading three other books... I am sure I am not the only one who starts multiple books at a time, right? But, I do have two days to finish them, right? Let's get crackin!

The King's Speech



Let's start with a film review, shall we?


I watched this film last night and was completely blown away. Mind you, I did come in with the expectation to at least like it, based on my fandom that encompasses both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. But it was that and more. The acting by all the leads was just wonderful, and the way 'Bertie' was portrayed, I really believed it and felt he deserved every bit of that Oscar.


The scene that really did it for me was the one (kind of a spoiler, but it has been shown in many a preview, so it doesn't count that much) where Bertie is reading the various speeches he will have to do in the coming months, and he comes to the coronation one and just breaks down. Oh my goodness, the amount of emotion and heartbreak came right through the screen.

I loved Rush's portrayal of Lionel as well. Hilarious, unconventional, human, and genuinely concerned with the overall well-being of his 'patients'. He had quite a number of great pieces of dialogue. Speaking of which, I just found out that a few weeks before the film began shooting, a journal of his was found, so many of the direct quotations were added into the script.

The colors that came through on the film were also beautiful; everything from the costuming, sets, lighting, etc. I am so pleased when the filmmakers are able to represent a specific historic time in all of the aspects of the film they are making, and this film hit it right on the head. Lionel's home in it's cozy humbleness, the opulence of the various royal settings, even when the two of them went for a walk about foggy pre-WWII London town, perfection.

I highly recommend this film. Aside from the inspiring story about Bertie's experience as the reluctant yet ultimately successful King (reluctant hero, my fellow Jungian archetype fans?), the pre-war story was also good to see, especially from the point of view that is not that often portrayed in film. I am sure this one will soon become part of my collection.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

hi there.

"Another blog, Kim, really?"

That looks about right, I say. Yes, I have had one or two (or five?) blogs in the past, all of which never really panned out. However, there was quite a bit more going on then, and I don't think I really had anything to say, aside from the day to day happenings of a 20-something undergrad.

So where am I know that warrants another crack at the wonderful world of blogging? Let's see...

I think first and foremost, I love writing. Always have. This past November I participated (and won!) my first ever NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don't know what that is, here. I have a novel in the works, as well as about five other 'ideas' floating about in my laptop and brain parts. I have a feeling I will be sharing some of my stories on here as another way to try out plot directions and just get the stuff down without feeling obligated to finish it right away.

I am a few weeks away from being done with my master's degree in clinical psych. I have moved almost every minute of it, and have now completed my field placement/internship experience (equating to much more time of my hands, sort of...) think that talking about my clinical impressions so far, commentary on interventions both new and common, and just the field in general.

I have always loved traveling and have been fortunate enough to take a few amazing trips here and there. I have always documented these travels in scrapbook form, but never in a formal written medium. I have a wonderful, travel filled summer coming up, so it is my intention to start said documentation. In addition, I will try and reminisce about travels past and talk about the great places I have been. Should be lovely.

So that's it. I am sure there will also be a book or film review thrown in every once in a while, two more of the thousands of things I am completely enamored with.