a spy in the house of love

author alexandra bracken

09 Jan

Journey of Hope 2014: Dean Strickland - Push America

Hi friends!  One of my dear family friends (he’s my younger brother’s BFF and is basically my brother from a different mother and different mister) is fundraising for his cross-country bike trip to support Americans with disabilities.  In his own words:

There are over 54 million Americans living with a disability today. People with disabilities face many challenges everyday that you and I cannot imagine. But one of the most tragic barriers is a lack of understanding by our society. A simple message of empathy and acceptance is all it takes to break down this barrier, and I have committed myself to spreading this message summer of 2014.

I will be raising awareness on behalf of people with disabilities by cycling from the west coast to Washington, DC on the Journey of Hope. My individual goal is to raise $6,000 as a part of my team’s goal of raising over $650,000. We will also be meeting and serving thousands of people with disabilities along the way, and striving to spread our message of acceptance and understanding to more than 40 million people!

I am personally trying to participate in the TransAmerica route which starts in Seattle, WA on May 26th, 2014. The TransAmerica route will have 20 cyclists and 8 crew members helping the cyclists with repairs, nutrition, first aid/safety, etc. During the ride, we will be having various friendship visits set up by our teams with groups and organizations that help people with disabilities, just like us! While at the visits we will do a bunch of activities with the members, such as dances, events, or some good ol’ community service! Even after all these visits and bike riding, we will have media days where we will talk about our cause to local and national news teams to help spread awareness for people with disabilities and why we are riding bikes across the nation.

Please consider supporting Dean by making a small donation through the above link! All donations above $25 are tax deductible.

30 Nov

Anonymous asked: are you an editor ? What do you mean by "work's in children's publishing" ?

No. My first job was as an editorial assistant, but I work in marketing now. :)

07 Nov

tallgirltales:

Something/Blue Jay Way (Transition) | The Beatles

One of my favorite Beatles songs, as featured in the Love show in Las Vegas.

This is one of my favorite Beatles songs, too!  I actually just saw this show when I was in Vegas for the Vegas Valley Book Festival last weekend and it was amazing. Something and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds were definitely my favorite sections—just gorgeous!  (I also had the most delicious beverage ever: The British Invasion.)

21 Oct
hi sweety how are you doing , all my life iam looking for some body like you any way please call me sumtime

Actual OKCupid message I received, which is only slightly better than yesterday’s, “Oh babe you look delicious like pancakes [Ed. note: Not waffles?], lemme pour some syrup on ya.” I was going to say romance is dead, but I just realized OKCupid is basically the internet version of catcalling and now it’s just an interesting commentary on society.

08 Aug

I love hyperbole more than life itself.: cowboykiller: emchughes: cowboykiller: Me: [I text him a couple of...

cowboykiller:

emchughes:

cowboykiller:

Me: [I text him a couple of screen shots of the unsolicited obscene messages I regularly get on OK Cupid.]
Best Dude: It’s totally astonishing the different worlds we inhabit.
Me: We are on different planes.
Best Dude: Entirely. It’s…

Yes, yes, all of this!  Speaking personally, the hotel that’s just off the subway stop I use to get to work has had major, major construction going on for the past year, and they’ve basically turned the whole street into a dumping ground of debris and bins and furniture that pedestrians have to dodge around like an obstacle course. Anyway, the side effect of this is that there are all of these construction workers hanging around, I guess, feeling like they have to be a cliche—they line up against the wall of the hotel and literally make gross comments about all of the women that walk by, especially if they’re in dresses or skirts. They do it in this creepy, breathy low-voice, too, like they’re banking on most people not hearing it. Some of them, the good ones, don’t say anything at all, bless them. But there are a few that really, genuinely piss me off on a daily basis. I usually have my earphones in and ignore them, but today I was coming out of Starbucks (already put-out because I’d waited forever, dealt with rude people in front of me, and discovered I got soy instead of skim milk which, yeah, I know, First World problems but 9 AM with jet lag is hard).

I heard a “ohhhh baby, you come back here with that fine ass, why aren’t you smiling, baby girl” and, okay, you have to understand that I am not a confrontational person at all. The only aggression I experience is passive aggression, but I don’t know, I guess spending 10 days in Europe gave me an extra boost of confidence and I was just sick to death of hearing this same shit over and over again. So I just clicked into what I can only describe as khaleesi mode. I turned around, looked the guy directly in the eye (which startled him enough, coward) and said, clearly, “You leave me and everyone else on this street the f*ck alone or I will report you to the hotel, got it?”


I wish I could say this happened:

image

But I got called a “humorless, stuck-up bitch” and then was ridiculed the rest of the way down the street by the other workers.

05 Aug Hello! I’m finally back from the UK :)  I’ll be trying to catch up on the many messages here and on Twitter you were all nice enough to send, but please be patient!  I don’t want to inundate followers with a million messages on their dashes and streams in one go.
For now I’ll leave you with a gorgeous picture of Glencoe in Scotland.

Hello! I’m finally back from the UK :)  I’ll be trying to catch up on the many messages here and on Twitter you were all nice enough to send, but please be patient!  I don’t want to inundate followers with a million messages on their dashes and streams in one go.


For now I’ll leave you with a gorgeous picture of Glencoe in Scotland.

02 Aug

Had so much fun up in the Highlands today! Loch Ness is gorgeous!!

16 Jun "My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
― Clarence Budington Kelland

"My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”

― Clarence Budington Kelland

09 Feb

I had a lot of fun wandering around Central Park this morning!  Apparently we got 11 inches of snow?  That’s nothing on what got dumped on New England, but it’s still pretty exciting for this desert child. I loved seeing half of NYC out with their sleds and their dogs all bundled up in snow booties and down vests. I’m also pretty excited this weekend alone has been enough to justify my purchase of my beloved Bean boots and my long navy down coat.  

P.S. God bless all of the New Yorkers who got up and shoveled the sidewalks this morning. 

30 Jan

I was in Seattle for a work conference this past week (ALA Midwinter) and I absolutely loved it! I had zero expectations about what it would be like going in, so I was surprised to see how steep some of the city’s hills were and how walkable the streets were. It was a bit rainy while we were there, but no more than what I was used to in Williamsburg. The market was amazing! I had the best pear of my life while we were walking through (the produce was unreal in general, but damn, that pear). Something else that surprised me was how many flower vendors there were—they even sold them Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack. And they were cheap, too, for the quality of the arrangements and the flowers themselves.


We pretty much ate our way through the city, though I think my favorite meal was getting crumpets since I’d never had one before. The bottom picture is of the original Starbucks location. Please enjoy the authentic mermaid boobs on the old brown logo. (The employees in this location were SO nice it was almost unnerving.)

The middle left picture is the only one I took while we were at the Seattle Public Library, which is actually kind of ridiculous of me because the building is insanely gorgeous and just incredibly, incredibly cool.

16 Jan I just realized that, come June, I’ll have lived in NYC for four years—the exact same amount of time I lived in Virginia.  I think you all know that I’ve never really been happy here, and despite everyone trying to reassure me with things like, “after the second/third year it gets easier/better,” I still think living here… kinda sucks big-time? There are a lot of great things to recommend it, but I’ve always recognized that I don’t have the right personality to live here long term. I feel like a failure admitting that. I’ve tried, really, really hard over the past four years to find something to really connect with, and… I don’t know. It hasn’t happened. My expectations aren’t high—I didn’t come into life here thinking it was going to be like Sex & the City or Friends or anything like that. For the past four years I’ve told myself, “One more year!  You can make it one more year!” but I’m having a hard time getting myself back to that point.
I like exploring neighborhoods and walking around, but because of my lifestyle and the whole two jobs thing, I rarely get to do it. We live in a nice apartment in a great neighborhood, but the cost of rent is suffocating and keeps going up. (I wouldn’t mind paying as much as I do if I really loved the city or if the apartment was perfect, but I hate that over a thousand dollars a month in rent translates to floors slanted at a 40 degree angle, no drawers in the kitchen, and a windowless living room that too small for even a tiny table to eat at.) Summer and the whole two weeks of spring we get are great—open front restaurant eating, sunshine, whatever—but does it justify having to deal with our newly crazy weather fall and winter?
I’m lucky that my job gets me out of the city a few weeks every year, but it’s probably not a good thing that I like the city so much better when I’m not, you know, actually in it. To me, it’s a better place to visit than live. You don’t have to deal with crazy stuff like this jacking up your daily commute. It’s strange and horrible and somehow endearing when viewed through a snarky NYC lens, but really… it’s just kind of awful to have your perspective warped like that?  It reminds me a lot of this article from The Onion.
Anyway, I’m grateful to have an apartment and a job I like that involves working with people I genuinely like. Maybe some of these feelings are stemming from the sense that I don’t have many choices or options, and therefore feeling a little trapped and directionless.  Maybe I need to move out of Manhattan and try one of the outer boroughs or New Jersey and see if that helps. It’s just amazing to me how different the experience is for everyone—how one person can spend a week in Virginia and love, love, love it and totally despise another place that millions of other people love.

I just realized that, come June, I’ll have lived in NYC for four years—the exact same amount of time I lived in Virginia.  I think you all know that I’ve never really been happy here, and despite everyone trying to reassure me with things like, “after the second/third year it gets easier/better,” I still think living here… kinda sucks big-time? There are a lot of great things to recommend it, but I’ve always recognized that I don’t have the right personality to live here long term. I feel like a failure admitting that. I’ve tried, really, really hard over the past four years to find something to really connect with, and… I don’t know. It hasn’t happened. My expectations aren’t high—I didn’t come into life here thinking it was going to be like Sex & the City or Friends or anything like that. For the past four years I’ve told myself, “One more year!  You can make it one more year!” but I’m having a hard time getting myself back to that point.

I like exploring neighborhoods and walking around, but because of my lifestyle and the whole two jobs thing, I rarely get to do it. We live in a nice apartment in a great neighborhood, but the cost of rent is suffocating and keeps going up. (I wouldn’t mind paying as much as I do if I really loved the city or if the apartment was perfect, but I hate that over a thousand dollars a month in rent translates to floors slanted at a 40 degree angle, no drawers in the kitchen, and a windowless living room that too small for even a tiny table to eat at.) Summer and the whole two weeks of spring we get are great—open front restaurant eating, sunshine, whatever—but does it justify having to deal with our newly crazy weather fall and winter?

I’m lucky that my job gets me out of the city a few weeks every year, but it’s probably not a good thing that I like the city so much better when I’m not, you know, actually in it. To me, it’s a better place to visit than live. You don’t have to deal with crazy stuff like this jacking up your daily commute. It’s strange and horrible and somehow endearing when viewed through a snarky NYC lens, but really… it’s just kind of awful to have your perspective warped like that?  It reminds me a lot of this article from The Onion.

Anyway, I’m grateful to have an apartment and a job I like that involves working with people I genuinely like. Maybe some of these feelings are stemming from the sense that I don’t have many choices or options, and therefore feeling a little trapped and directionless.  Maybe I need to move out of Manhattan and try one of the outer boroughs or New Jersey and see if that helps. It’s just amazing to me how different the experience is for everyone—how one person can spend a week in Virginia and love, love, love it and totally despise another place that millions of other people love.

03 Jan One more Cancun picture because it makes me laugh—I labeled this one on Facebook “the difference between being half Greek and a quarter Greek,” because, good LORD my mom tans like nobody’s business. She told me once that she stayed inside the entire week leading up to her May wedding, because she was afraid of making my dad look like a lightbulb in comparison. Apparently we inherited too much English and German from his side, because my mom and I spent exactly the same amount of time out in the sun and she was this tan after, like, two days.
P.S. Totally bummed my tan will have totally faded by the time I fly back to NYC tomorrow. Not that anyone could actually see my gloriously tan legs since it’s f’ing freezing back there.  

One more Cancun picture because it makes me laugh—I labeled this one on Facebook “the difference between being half Greek and a quarter Greek,” because, good LORD my mom tans like nobody’s business. She told me once that she stayed inside the entire week leading up to her May wedding, because she was afraid of making my dad look like a lightbulb in comparison. Apparently we inherited too much English and German from his side, because my mom and I spent exactly the same amount of time out in the sun and she was this tan after, like, two days.

P.S. Totally bummed my tan will have totally faded by the time I fly back to NYC tomorrow. Not that anyone could actually see my gloriously tan legs since it’s f’ing freezing back there.  

03 Jan

We had a really amazing time in Cancun!  Lots of adventures on the beach and exploring the nearby Mayan temples. (We went to both Chichen Itza and Coba—Coba was really cool because you could actually climb the temple and you rode ass-killing bikes around to get to the different sites.) The hotel staff was adorable and put on a ton of Christmas festivities, including a nativity scene, an elaborate dinner, and Santa riding in on jet ski to give the kids presents. Really, the only way it could have been better was if Dad had been there with us.

17 Jun I’m missing my dad a lot today, for obvious reasons.  To be very honest, I’ve been dreading Father’s Day the same way I dreaded his birthday and my parents’ anniversary, but today definitely hit me harder than I was expecting it to, and I’ve been a little bit of a recluse, not wanting to deal with the Father’s Day brunches or sales or picnics in the park.
It’s been a strange, sad two months—on some days, it feels like he passed away years ago, on others, I feel that same numb hollowness I did when we drove home from the hospital that last time.  I keep it together pretty well on most days, but there are small moments that still sneak up on me, usually when I don’t expect it.  When I read an article and remember I can’t forward it to him, or when I’m standing in Best Buy and I can’t call him to get his opinion on whether or not it’s worth it to buy something.
I’m grateful every day that my life is overflowing with great, brilliant memories.  I love this picture—it was taken up at our old cabin in Flagstaff (this same cabin my grandmother sold the week he passed away).  We used to go up there all the time when we were younger, both in the summer to escape the heat and in the winter to go skiing.  My dad started us very early on skis; I still remember being in first grade and watching, awed, at how great of a skier he was.  I remember him out on the cabin’s porch, his feet propped up on the rails, reading, reading, reading with the mountains behind him.  And that’s been the hardest thing of all—accepting the fact that he’s alive only in memories, no matter how wonderful they are.

I’m missing my dad a lot today, for obvious reasons.  To be very honest, I’ve been dreading Father’s Day the same way I dreaded his birthday and my parents’ anniversary, but today definitely hit me harder than I was expecting it to, and I’ve been a little bit of a recluse, not wanting to deal with the Father’s Day brunches or sales or picnics in the park.

It’s been a strange, sad two months—on some days, it feels like he passed away years ago, on others, I feel that same numb hollowness I did when we drove home from the hospital that last time.  I keep it together pretty well on most days, but there are small moments that still sneak up on me, usually when I don’t expect it.  When I read an article and remember I can’t forward it to him, or when I’m standing in Best Buy and I can’t call him to get his opinion on whether or not it’s worth it to buy something.

I’m grateful every day that my life is overflowing with great, brilliant memories.  I love this picture—it was taken up at our old cabin in Flagstaff (this same cabin my grandmother sold the week he passed away).  We used to go up there all the time when we were younger, both in the summer to escape the heat and in the winter to go skiing.  My dad started us very early on skis; I still remember being in first grade and watching, awed, at how great of a skier he was.  I remember him out on the cabin’s porch, his feet propped up on the rails, reading, reading, reading with the mountains behind him.  And that’s been the hardest thing of all—accepting the fact that he’s alive only in memories, no matter how wonderful they are.

15 Feb My mom sent me this picture she found of my grandparents.  I never knew my grandfather growing up, still don’t know him, and will probably never care to know him.  He didn’t treat his family well, to say the least—his appearance at my parent’s wedding prompted one of my great-aunts to bring her knife Pepe to stab him (my uncle Cary walked Mom down the aisle).
But I can’t deny that it’s fascinating to see the two of them together, when they were both so young.  I think my mom and Uncle Dean look quite a bit like him.

My mom sent me this picture she found of my grandparents.  I never knew my grandfather growing up, still don’t know him, and will probably never care to know him.  He didn’t treat his family well, to say the least—his appearance at my parent’s wedding prompted one of my great-aunts to bring her knife Pepe to stab him (my uncle Cary walked Mom down the aisle).

But I can’t deny that it’s fascinating to see the two of them together, when they were both so young.  I think my mom and Uncle Dean look quite a bit like him.