Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours, and Novella Synergy Blanc

I'm always terribly nervous when starting a new blog. This blogspot marks the first time I've had a public blog in more than six years. The idea of people writing what I'm writing makes me nervous. How can this come from a writing major?

I finished Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf last weekend. I should have finished it ages ago, but I feel increasingly behind in my 19th and 20th century British Lit class. I knew, however, that I didn't want to write my final paper on Mary Barton (no WAY was I rereading that) and my tentative topic from J.M. Coetzee's Waiting for the Barbarians was used in one of our quizzes.

That left Mrs. Dalloway.

My tentative steps into the book assured me that it was something to be loved. My Pennsylvania penpal Katie Cyborg told me I needed to read it and my other friend, Lizzie, was endlessly raving about The Hours by Michael Cunningham. But first, she told me, I would need to read Mrs. Dalloway.

I know it might be cliche for unhinged and slightly neurotic women to claim that this book has changed their lives, that they are Clarissa Dalloway. I too fall into that pool, I guess. It has changed my life. I don't think I've ever been as affected by a novel before. What a lark! A plunge! I feel that way. I need that escape. It wasn't until this past weekend, when I hopped on the train with my copy of The Hours that I realized how much I need that lark.

It's something about trains that make me feel alive. Trains took Matt and I on our first big trip together; trains make it feel like you're escaping. This past Saturday, March 20, it was snowing something fierce. After a week of 50-60 degree weather, we were greeted with a blanket of snow upon the ground when we woke up at 9:30. Only in Illinois. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm one of those people who let their lives be controlled by the weather. I had made plans with Zach to explore Oak Park, but, as I watched the snow falling sideways, I wanted to do nothing by crawl back into bed. And it would have been perfectly acceptabled to me.

But I knew that if I crawled back into bed I would regret it. I would let my life pass before me. So I got dressed, 20 minutes before the train was set to arrive, and I flew out the door. Matt drove me to the station and we made it with maybe three minutes to spare. I stood there, without a hat or scarf, the snow blinding me as it fell into my eyes. I turned, saw Matt watching me as I stepped onto the train, and blew him a kiss. What a lark! A plunge! Just stepping off the train as we "landed" and I knew I had made the right choice, even though I'm prone to illness when the weather changes.

And it was fabulous. What a day. Walking through the snow with my hood pulled up, laughing at(with) Zach and not knowing what he's saying half of the time. We got back on the train after thrifting (and guess what I found? A Vintage Mrs. Dalloway) and headed to another "foreign" town. Because I couldn't go home yet. I couldn't go back. We stepped out of the snow and into a tea shop, sipping tea after tea. I think we tried at least 12 that day. And it was glorious.

I returned home to Matt, my homebody, my normal life. And I love it. I just needed the plunge for the day.

I finished The Hours this afternoon. It was wonderous, but I wasn't left as shattered as I was after Mrs. Dalloway. I think the issue is I couldn't figure out who I was more like and it bothered me. The introduction, where Virginia drowns herself in the river, that could be me (not to be morbid. I won't be morbid). The letter she wrote to Leonard was the most intense. The feeling of the onset of madness, the yearning for London, the return to real living: I've had it all.

I find myself most drawn to Laura Brown. I could see myself becoming like her...and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I already feel like her, some days, and I can only imagine it all. A life I thought I could want, only to find out that it's killing me. Myself or my family. I feel like that now, somedays, even though I'm still considered the child.

Anyway. I guess I should get on to the wine. The newest wine I tried, while reading Mrs. Dalloway, was Novella Synergy Blanc from Trader Joe's. I love Trader Joe's wine. While I work at World Market, I'm not quite in their price range most of the time. Syngery Blanc is a delicious "cuvee of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot grigio, Muscat Canelli and Chardonnay." You've got it all! While I find myself drawn more to drier Sauvignon Blancs lately, I still enjoyed the Synergy Blanc. I paired it with a grilled chicken and veggie pizza and found the combination delightful. Slightly yellow in color, I noticed aromas of white peach and kiwi as I sniffed. Upon tasting, I noted white peach and kiwi(?) flavors with a slight mineral finish. The label recommends serving with soft, mild cheeses or baked chicken.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

01 - To Be Conquered

Well, I should not be writing a post right now. That is for damned sure.

Still, I felt it was time for a new blog. My livejournal account, which I've had for 7+ years, has turned into a ranting post. So. I will keep all my rants there.

This blog, I hope, will serve as an outlet to grow as both a reader and a wino. Well, wino in the best sense possible, ;p.