Holidays Over Quotes

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The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
C.S. Lewis (The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7))
Christmas is never over,unless you want it to be... Christmas is a state of mind.
Lauren Myracle (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
The sooner this wedding's over the happier I'll be." [Ron] "Yeah" said Harry, "then we'll have nothing to do except find Horcruxes....It'll be like a holiday, won't it?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Wednesdays were the best thing about Atlantis. The middle of the week was a traditional holiday there. Everyone stopped work and celebrated the fact that half the week was over.
Walter Moers (The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1))
when I was four I almost fell down the shaft of a tin mine and when I was five the car rolled over on the motorway and when I was seven we went on holiday and the gas ring blew out in the caravan and nobody noticed I've been dying all my life
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
I followed your footsteps," he said, in answer to the unspoken question. "Snow makes it easy." I had been tracked, like a bear. "Sorry to make you go to all that trouble," I said. "I didn't have to go that far, really. You're about three streets over. You just kept going in loops." A really inept bear.
Maureen Johnson (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings. We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.
Oliver Sacks
Never, ever ask a former clergyman to say the blessing over a holiday dinner. Not if you like your dinner warm, anyway.
Mary Kay Andrews (Blue Christmas (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries, #3))
Guess the honeymoon is over!" Denise muttered once we are outside. "Next I suppose I'll be sleeping in the wet spot..
Jeaniene Frost (The Bite Before Christmas (Argeneau, #15.5; Night Huntress, #6.5))
Over the years I’ve collected a thousand memories of you, every glimpse, every word you’ve ever said to me. All those visits to your family’s home, those dinners and holidays—I could hardly wait to walk through the front door and see you.” The corners of his mouth quirked with reminiscent amusement. “You, in the middle of that brash, bull-headed lot…I love watching you deal with your family. You’ve always been everything I thought a woman should be. And I have wanted you every second of my life since we first met.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
[Peabody:] "Bite me." Though Eve managed to swallow a chuckle at her aide's use of her own standard response to annoyances, she didn't quite make it over McNab's cheerful, "Where?
J.D. Robb (Holiday in Death (In Death, #7))
The bragging was the worst. I hear this in schools all over the country, in cafés and restaurants, in bars, on the Internet, for Pete's sake, on buses, on sidewalks: Women yammering about how little they eat. Oh, I'm Starving, I haven't eaten all day, I think I'll have a great big piece of lettuce, I'm not hungry, I don't like to eat in the morning (in the afternoon, in the evening, on Tuesdays, when my nails aren't painted, when my shin hurts, when it's raining, when it's sunny, on national holidays, after or before 2 A.M.). I heard it in the hospital, that terrible ironic whine from the chapped lips of women starving to death, But I'm not hun-greeee. To hear women tell it, we're never hungry. We live on little Ms. Pac-Man power pellets. Food makes us queasy, food makes us itchy, food is too messy, all I really like to eat is celery. To hear women tell it we're ethereal beings who eat with the greatest distaste, scraping scraps of food between our teeth with our upper lips curled. For your edification, it's bullshit.
Marya Hornbacher (Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)
Once upon a time, the Reindeer took a running leap and jumped over the Northern Lights. But he jumped too low, and the long fur of his beautiful flowing tail got singed by the rainbow fires of the aurora. To this day the reindeer has no tail to speak of. But he is too busy pulling the Important Sleigh to notice what is lost. And he certainly doesn’t complain. What's your excuse?
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself. —PUBLIUS SYRUS
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
There will be no 'one day,'" I yell. "Because holidays are over, Griggs, and you and I are never going to cross paths again. Not in the next ten days. Not ever! Have a fantastic life. [...] "Be careful what you wish for," he says with quiet menace, "because I'm about this close to telling you to get the fuck out of my life." I stare at him. "What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no shame in that?” —EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 28
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter, It isn't just one of your holiday games; You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES. First of all, there's the name that the family use daily, Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James, Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey - All of them sensible everyday names. There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter, Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames: Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter - But all of them sensible everyday names. But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular, A name that's peculiar, and more dignified, Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular, Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride? Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum, Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat, Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum - Names that never belong to more than one cat. But above and beyond there's still one name left over, And that is the name that you never will guess; The name that no human research can discover - But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess. When you notice a cat in profound meditation, The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name: His ineffable effable Effanineffable Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
I feel I need a holiday, a very long holiday, as I have told you before. Probably a permanent holiday: I don't expect I shall return. in fact, I don't mean to, and I have made all arrangements.... I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can't be right. I need a change, or something.' Bilbo
J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings)
If the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then passion is a form of mental retardation- deliberately blunting our most critical cognitive functions.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
Like a kettle boiling over, the room foamed with laughter.
Heather Vogel Frederick (Home for the Holidays)
You made plenty, Abby. We just wanted to tide ourselves over until next year…unless you’d like to do this all over again at Christmas. You’re a Maddox, now. I expect you at every holiday, and not to cook.
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
Mrs. Cheerson, our old teacher? She gave us an essay to write over the holiday. It was on To Kill a Mockingbird, which I read and it was good, and I think it’s stupid to spoil a good book by writing an essay on it. So I didn’t do it.
Jaclyn Moriarty (Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury/Brookfield, #1))
If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
I'll just go over to the Duke's," I said. "Her parents already told me I could stay there. I'll go over there and open all my presents, and talk about how my parents neglect me, and then maybe the Duke will give me some of her presents because she feels so bad about how my mom doesn't love me.
John Green (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
Death's Diary: 1942 - It was a year for the ages, like 79, like 1346, to just name a few. Forget the scythe, God damn it, I needed a broom or a mop. And I needed a holiday. (...) They say that war is death's best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one. To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly. 'Get it done, get it done'. So you work harder. You get the job done. The boss however, does not thank you. He asks for more.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
To prevent becoming overwhelmed by the world around us, we must, as the ancients practiced, learn how to limit our passions and their control over our lives. It takes skill and discipline to bat away the pests of bad perceptions, to separate reliable signals from deceptive ones, to filter out prejudice, expectation, and fear. But it’s worth it, for what’s left is truth. While others are excited or afraid, we will remain calm and imperturbable. We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are—neither good nor bad.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
I will keep constant watch over myself and—most usefully—will put each day up for review. For this is what makes us evil—that none of us looks back upon our own lives. We reflect upon only that which we are about to do. And yet our plans for the future descend from the past.” —SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 83.2
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
Light the Christmas candles for your children! Let them sing carols! But don't delude yourselves, don't content yourselves year after year with the shabby, pathetic, sentimental feeling you have when you celebrate your holidays! Demand more of yourselves! Love and joy and the mysterious thing we call "happiness" are not over here or over there, they are only "within yourselves.
Hermann Hesse (If The War Goes On: Reflections On War And Politics)
Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them?
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
Dear ignoramuses, Halloween is not 'a yankee holiday' celebrated only by gigantic toddlers wearing baseball caps back to front and spraying 'automobiles' with eggs. This is ignorance. Halloween is an ancient druidic holiday, one the Celtic peoples have celebrated for millennia. It is the crack between the last golden rays of summer and the dark of winter; the delicately balanced tweak of the year before it is given over entirely to the dark; a time for the souls of the departed to squint, to peek and perhaps to travel through the gap. What could be more thrilling and worthy of celebration than that? It is a time to celebrate sweet bounty, as the harvest is brought in. It is a time of excitement and pleasure for children before the dark sets in. We should all celebrate that. Pinatas on the other hand are heathen monstrosities and have no place in a civilised society.
Jenny Colgan (Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of Dreams)
...one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I'm sure you'll agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters, who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature's wonders, gentlemen. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.
Terry Pratchett (Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37; Rincewind #8))
Mrs. Nightwing glances at the box in my hands. She clears her throat."I understand you've decided against Mr. Middleton."... It's best to be sure, through and through," she says, keeping her eyes steadfastly on the girls running and playing on the lawn. "Else you could find yourself one day coming home to an empty house, save for a note: I've gone out. You could wait all night for him to return. Nights turn into weeks, to years. It's horrible, the waiting. You can scarcely bear it. And perhaps years later on holiday in Brighton, you see him, walking along the boardwalk as if out of some dream. No longer lost. Your heartbeat quickens. You must call out to him. Someone else calls first. A pretty young woman with a child. He stops and bends to lift the child into his arms. His child. He gives a furtive kiss to his young wife. He hands her a box of candy, which you know to be Chollier's chocolates. He and his family stroll on. Something in you falls away. You will never be as you were. What is left to you is the chance to become something new and unsure. But at least the waiting is over.
Libba Bray (Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2))
In Workaholics Anonymous, one the exercises involves a simple reminder. We must, they say, "catch ourselves before we relapse into ego and self-will.” That is: Rest before you get tired. Check your impulses before they take over. Avoid the idiot lights—stop before there is a problem.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
Like any good school, learning from failure isn’t free. The tuition is paid in discomfort or loss and having to start over.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
What are we calling that, exactly?” I ask. Arthur ponders this for a moment. “Hmm. How about … Haphazard Medley Inspired By Radio on the Drive Over, Messrs. McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr, The Most Hideous Preteen Holiday Monstrosity Ever Inflicted Upon The Ears Of Longsuffering Parents, The Smiths Because I Know You Like Them, And A Great Deal Of Nonsense Made Up Spur Of The Moment, All For The Beautiful Boy Who Is Sitting Next To Me, Because Somehow, Amidst The Recent Chaos, Dissatisfaction, And Mediocrity Of My Existence, Lord Knows How, I Seem To Have Done Something Very Right.” Oh, this guy. “You’re never going to fit that on any album sleeves,” I say, leaning in to rest my forehead against his. “Just the beautiful boy part, then,” he compromises, starting to smile.
Hannah Johnson (Know Not Why (Know Not Why, #1))
It is imperative that you have no further contact with Archer Cross." I knew all of that. But there was something about having it actually said out loud that physically hurt. "I get it," I said,looking down. "I'm a demon, he's an Eye. If we got together, think of how awkward family holidays would be. Magic and daggers flying around, knocking over the Christmas tree...
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
The Patrician took a sip of his beer. “I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged on to a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters, who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining on mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.
Terry Pratchett (Unseen Academicals (Discworld, #37; Rincewind #8))
Would you have a great empire? Rule over yourself.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
Lucy said, 'We're so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.' 'No fear of that,' said Aslan. 'Have you not guessed?' Their hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them. 'There was a real railway accident,' said Aslan softly. 'Your father and mother and all of you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands- dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
C.S. Lewis
She looked up over Pony's shoulder and saw Noel, and Noel saw her - and he strode straight through the basement, over the love seat and up onto the coffee table and over the couch and through Pony and Simini, and wrapped his arms around Mags, swinging her in a circle. (Midnights)
Rainbow Rowell (My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories)
Just like that. Gone forever. They will not grow old together. They will never live on a beach by the sea, their hair turned white, dancing in a living room to Billie Holiday or Nat Cole. They will not enter a New York club at midnight and show the poor hip-hop fools how to dance. They will not chuckle together over the endless folly of the world, its vanities and stupid ambitions. They will not hug each other in any chilly New York dawn. Oh, Mary Lou. My baby. My love.
Pete Hamill (Tabloid City)
Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road. That’s what the canvas strategy is about—helping yourself by helping others.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
It was the seventh of November, 1918. The war was finally over. Maybe it would be declared a holiday and named War's End Day or something equally hopeful and wrong. Wars would break out again. Violence was part of human nature as much as love and generosity.
Claire Holden Rothman (The Heart Specialist)
Beyond the table, there is an altar, with candles lit for Billie Holiday and Willa Carter and Hypatia and Patsy Cline. Next to it, an old podium that once held a Bible, on which we have repurposed an old chemistry handbook as the Book of Lilith. In its pages is our own liturgical calendar: Saint Clementine and All Wayfarers; Saints Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt, observed in the summer with blueberries to symbolize the sapphire ring; the Vigil of Saint Juliette, complete with mints and dark chocolate; Feast of the Poets, during which Mary Oliver is recited over beds of lettuce, Kay Ryan over a dish of vinegar and oil, Audre Lorde over cucumbers, Elizabeth Bishop over some carrots; The Exaltation of Patricia Highsmith, celebrated with escargots boiling in butter and garlic and cliffhangers recited by an autumn fire; the Ascension of Frida Khalo with self-portraits and costumes; the Presentation of Shirley Jackson, a winter holiday started at dawn and ended at dusk with a gambling game played with lost milk teeth and stones. Some of them with their own books; the major and minor arcana of our little religion.
Carmen Maria Machado (Her Body and Other Parties)
As Gavin de Becker writes in The Gift of Fear, “When you worry, ask yourself, ‘What am I choosing to not see right now?’ What important things are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
The fact is that the British have a totally private sense of distance. This is most visibly seen in the shared pretense that Britain is a lonely island in the middle of an empty green sea. Of course, the British are all aware, in an abstract sort of way, that there is a substantial landmass called Europe nearby and that from time to time it is necessary to go over there to give old Jerry a drubbing or have a holiday in the sun, but it’s not nearby in any meaningful sense in the way that, say, Disney World is.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
Why are trains so popular at Christmas? People get on to meet their country over the holidays.
David Baldacci (The Christmas Train)
Nobody threatens my family and lives.” The dragon’s deep voice rolled over the waves like thunder. “Nobody.
Thea Harrison (Dragos Takes a Holiday (Elder Races, #6.5))
With this in mind, Ava tells herself to be present and celebrate the holiday instead of wishing it was over. After all, one is given only a certain number of Christmases in one's life.
Elin Hilderbrand (Winter Street (Winter, #1))
Toby placed his front paws on the track, looked up at Ian, and whined. "What in hell are you wearing, big man?" he asked, staring down at the dog. "It's his sweater." "That's a terrible thing to do to a noble beast," Ian muttered, grabbing the sweater by the hem and pulling it up over Toby's head. -Ian and Jessie
Janet Chapman (Highlander for the Holidays (Highlander, #8))
Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.56–57
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
You see that girl, she looks so happy right? But inside she's dying. She's hurt and tired. Tired of all the drama, tired of not being good enough, tired of life. But she doesn't want to look dramatic, weak or attention seeking so she keeps it all inside. Act's like everything's perfect but she cries at night, boy does she cry at night, so that everybody thinks she is the happiest person they know, that she has no problems and her life is perfect. Little do they know.
Jayne Higgins (Exactly 23 Days)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
From the pocket of her robe she pulled out the ring he’d given her, she put it over her finger, sliding it back and forth over her knuckle. “Can I tell you something?” Dad asked. “Yes. Please.” “Any promise you make, whether it’s to your school, or your family, or to Billy, half of the promise is commitment and the other half, is faith. Faith that your commitment is enough. There’s no answer, honey. None.” She stared down at her ring, his words like bells ringing in her head.
Molly O'Keefe (Naughty & Nice: Room at the Inn / All I Want for Christmas is You / One Perfect Christmas)
It seems there's confusion at this time of year regarding the reason for Christmas. From shopping for presents to spreading good cheer, the world makes an overly huge fuss. But Christmas is not for the gifts we exchange. It's not about sleigh rides or sweet candy canes. Nay, Christmas is simple. A time to recall Christ's gift of atonement He gave to us all.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
Not that she didn’t enjoy the holidays: but she always felt—and it was, perhaps, the measure of her peculiar happiness—a little relieved when they were over. Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afraid to step out of its frame in case one day she should find herself unable to get back.
Jan Struther (Mrs. Miniver)
Therefore, when facing any problem in marriage, the first thing you look for at the base of it is, in some measure, self-centeredness and an unwillingness to serve or minister to the other. The word “submit” that Paul uses has its origin in the military, and in Greek it denoted a soldier submitting to an officer. Why? Because when you join the military you lose control over your schedule, over when you can take a holiday, over when you’re going to eat, and even over what you eat. To be part of a whole, to become part of a greater unity, you have to surrender your independence. You must give up the right to make decisions unilaterally. Paul says that this ability to deny your own rights, to serve and put the good of the whole over your own, is not instinctive; indeed, it’s unnatural, but it is the very foundation of marriage.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
Liam couldn’t stand it any longer. He wriggled to get out of Mommy’s arms. As she bent to let him go, he scrambled over to the suitcase as fast as he could and dove into the gold coins. Picking up one coin after the other, he stared at them in complete fascination. Feeling giddy, he rolled around him. These were the best toys ever.
Thea Harrison (Dragos Takes a Holiday (Elder Races, #6.5))
People who don’t read have no advantage over those who cannot read.
Ryan Holiday (Stillness is the Key)
She ran her hand over his cock and said, "This is the only thing I ever want to come between us." His grin couldn't have stretched any further.
Terry Spear (A Silver Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf #17; Silver Town Wolf #5))
When you can break apart something, or look at it from some new angle, it loses its power over you.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph)
Maintain control over your mind and perceptions, they’d say. It’s your most prized possession.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
WELCOME. YOU ARE MOST WANTED. Come in. I'm R.L. Stine. Welcome to the Goosebumps office. Glad you made it through the barbed wire fence. Don't worry. Those cuts will stop bleeding in an hour or two. Why do we have a barbed wire fence? To keep the Abominable Snowman from escaping. I'm surprised you didn't see him. He's creeping up right behind you. Hurry. Step inside and shut the door. You don't want to find out why everyone calls him Abominable. Hey, don't be scared of Eddie over there. Eddie woke up dead tired one morning. Guess what? He actually was dead. Yes, Eddie is a zombie. But he doesn't like that word. He likes to be called "life-challenged." He's not much trouble. He only needs to eat human flesh once a day. Don't be nervous. He just finished his breakfast. Whom did he have for breakfast? I'm not sure. But I haven't seen my brother all morning... Eddie - what did I tell you about eating the family? Oh, well. Let me ask you a question before Eddie has to have his next meal. What do you think is the Most Wanted holiday?
R.L. Stine (Zombie Halloween (Goosebumps Most Wanted Special Edition, #1))
Go get it over with, and I'll reward you with a cherry margarita," April says. "With sugar rim?" "Of course. What are we? Heathens?" "I want two. And flan." "Done. Now get over there. And be nice.
Jennifer Harlow (Death Takes a Holiday (F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation, #3))
I remember another thing Cosmo said. It typically takes half the time you’re dating a guy to fall out of love with him. My ex and I were together almost ten months before he admitted over the holidays that he’d fallen out of love with me, so by that measure I should’ve been cured weeks ago. But once you’ve anticipated spending forever with someone, I’m not convinced you can ever feel complete after being uncoupled. I think you just learn to live without the person. Like when someone dies, you don’t stop loving them just because they’re not around to love you back anymore. Breakups truly are a kind of death.
Daria Snadowsky (Anatomy of a Single Girl (Anatomy, #2))
And then I stopped. I cut the whiny voice off midsentence. Because I was sick of it, and it wasn't doing me any good, and anyway, shouldn't I have some say over the endless thoughts running through my head
John Green (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
We have only minimal control over the rewards for our work and effort—other people’s validation, recognition, rewards. So what are we going to do? Not be kind, not work hard, not produce, because there is a chance it wouldn’t be reciprocated? C’mon. Think of all the activists who will find that they can only advance their cause so far. The leaders who are assassinated before their work is done. The inventors whose ideas languish “ahead of their time.” According to society’s main metrics, these people were not rewarded for their work. Should they have not done it? Yet in ego, every one of us has considered doing precisely that. If that is your attitude, how do you intend to endure tough times? What if you’re ahead of the times? What if the market favors some bogus trend? What if your boss or your clients don’t understand? It’s far better when doing good work is sufficient. In other words, the less attached we are to outcomes the better. When fulfilling our own standards is what fills us with pride and self-respect. When the effort—not the results, good or bad—is enough. With ego, this is not nearly sufficient. No, we need to be recognized. We need to be compensated. Especially problematic is the fact that, often, we get that. We are praised, we are paid, and we start to assume that the two things always go together. The “expectation hangover” inevitably ensues.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
I Have Walked Down Many Roads by Antonio Machado translated from the Spanish by Don Share I have walked down many roads and cleared many paths; I have navigated a hundred oceans and anchored off a hundred shores. All over, I have seen caravans of sadness, pompous and melancholy men drunk with black shadows, and defrocked pedants who stare, keep quiet, and think they know, because they don’t drink wine in the neighborhood bars. Bad people who go around polluting the earth . . . And all over, I have seen people who dance or play, when they can, and work their four handfuls of land. If they turn up someplace, they never ask where they are. When they travel, they ride on the backs of old mules, and don’t know how to hurry, not even on holidays. When there’s wine, they drink wine; when there’s no wine, they drink cool water. These are good people, who live, work, get by, and dream; and on a day like all the others they lie down under the earth.
Antonio Machado (Times Alone: Selected Poems)
Before we go further, why would you want to help vampires over your own kind?” I might be desperate, but I wasn’t about to ignore the most logical question. “Because I hate my job,” Balchezek said promptly. My brows rose. “You consider damning souls a job?” “What would you call something you have to do in order to fit in, where you’re bitched at whenever you underperform, yet you’re never, ever appreciated for when you do it right?
Jeaniene Frost (Home for the Holidays (Night Huntress, #6.5))
I'm getting chocolate. I need you. Come over." She hung up, hoping he would get the message. A binge was coming, get help. Inside the store, she blew past the small plastic shopping baskets not made for heavy lifting, and wheeled the full-sized grocery cart over to the holiday aisle. One of the wheels dragged like a conscience, pulling the cart halfheartedly in the direction of the fresh produce. The other wheels squealed in protest.
Ann Wertz Garvin (The Dog Year)
With backyard eggs, you can serve homemade eggnog at a holiday party with almost complete confidence that you won't make anyone sick--from Salmonella, anyway. Because drink enough homemade eggnog, and the race is on between heart failure and liver disease, unless a stroke fells you first. But life is short. Especially if you drink eggnog.
Jennifer Reese (Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods)
Sitting aimlessly in bedrooms- often on the bed itself- is another characteristic feature of the English holidays. The meal was over and it was only twenty five past seven. 'The evening stretches before us,' Viola said gloomily.
Barbara Pym (No Fond Return of Love)
the way it sounded under the bridge when the sleigh passed over, the thunder of the horses' hooves mingled with the brighter notes of the jangling bells; the way the blue bowl of the sky arched overhead; the way the air filled my lungs, so cold that it hurt; the way the enticing scent of hot chocolate drifted from the little gazebo on the island.
Heather Vogel Frederick (Home for the Holidays)
Most people who win the lottery are exactly as they were prior within a few years if they are not worse off. The fiscal management skills that lead one to give over daily money for scratch-offs will also cause the new money to vanish.
Thomm Quackenbush (Holidays with Bigfoot)
When a person you love dies, the calendar becomes a minefield. Anyone who has lost someone knows this. There is the loved one’s birthday. One’s own Birthday. Various national and religious holidays, if one is religious. All of these days are difficult in their own ways. But the anniversary is different. On the anniversary of the loved one’s death, you slip backward through time to this same day, one, five, ten years ago. You live it all over again, minute by minute.
Alexis Schaitkin (Saint X: A Novel)
Dear Jim." The writing grew suddenly blurred and misty. And she had lost him again--had lost him again! At the sight of the familiar childish nickname all the hopelessness of her bereavement came over her afresh, and she put out her hands in blind desperation, as though the weight of the earth-clods that lay above him were pressing on her heart. Presently she took up the paper again and went on reading: "I am to be shot at sunrise to-morrow. So if I am to keep at all my promise to tell you everything, I must keep it now. But, after all, there is not much need of explanations between you and me. We always understood each other without many words, even when we were little things. "And so, you see, my dear, you had no need to break your heart over that old story of the blow. It was a hard hit, of course; but I have had plenty of others as hard, and yet I have managed to get over them,--even to pay back a few of them,--and here I am still, like the mackerel in our nursery-book (I forget its name), 'Alive and kicking, oh!' This is my last kick, though; and then, tomorrow morning, and--'Finita la Commedia!' You and I will translate that: 'The variety show is over'; and will give thanks to the gods that they have had, at least, so much mercy on us. It is not much, but it is something; and for this and all other blessings may we be truly thankful! "About that same tomorrow morning, I want both you and Martini to understand clearly that I am quite happy and satisfied, and could ask no better thing of Fate. Tell that to Martini as a message from me; he is a good fellow and a good comrade, and he will understand. You see, dear, I know that the stick-in-the-mud people are doing us a good turn and themselves a bad one by going back to secret trials and executions so soon, and I know that if you who are left stand together steadily and hit hard, you will see great things. As for me, I shall go out into the courtyard with as light a heart as any child starting home for the holidays. I have done my share of the work, and this death-sentence is the proof that I have done it thoroughly. They kill me because they are afraid of me; and what more can any man's heart desire? "It desires just one thing more, though. A man who is going to die has a right to a personal fancy, and mine is that you should see why I have always been such a sulky brute to you, and so slow to forget old scores. Of course, though, you understand why, and I tell you only for the pleasure of writing the words. I loved you, Gemma, when you were an ugly little girl in a gingham frock, with a scratchy tucker and your hair in a pig-tail down your back; and I love you still. Do you remember that day when I kissed your hand, and when you so piteously begged me 'never to do that again'? It was a scoundrelly trick to play, I know; but you must forgive that; and now I kiss the paper where I have written your name. So I have kissed you twice, and both times without your consent. "That is all. Good-bye, my dear" Then am I A happy fly, If I live Or if I die
Ethel Lilian Voynich
James' first concern had been Ralph, who was indeed travelling over the holiday, staying with his dad at his flat in London. Zane assured them that he'd already been to see Ralph, warning him to keep his wand handy and try to never be alone.
G. Norman Lippert (James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper (James Potter, #2))
Jo knew nothing about philosophy or metaphysics of any sort, but a curious excitement, half pleasurable, half painful, came over her, as she listened with a sense of being turned adrift into time and space, like a young balloon out on a holiday.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
Since then he had taken these photos out too many times to count, but each time he looked into the face of this woman he had felt something growing inside him. It took him a long time to realize what it was. Only recently had his wounded synapses allowed him to name it. He had been falling in love all over again. He didn't understand how two people who were married, who saw each other every day, could forget what each other looked like, but if he had had to name what had happened- this was it. And the last two photos in the roll provided the key. He had come home from work- I remember trying to keep my mother's attention as Holiday barked when he had heard the car pull into the garage. 'He'll come out,' I said. 'Stay still.' And she did. Part of what I loved about photography was the power it gave me over the people on the other side of the camera, even my own parents. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my father walk through the side door into the yard. He carried his slim briefcase, which, years before, Lindsey and I had heatedly investigated only to find very little of interest to us. As he set it down I snapped the last solitary photo of my mother. Already her eyes had begun to seem distracted and anxious, diving under and up into a mask somehow. In the next photo, the mast was almost, but not quite, in place and in the final photo, where my father was leaning slightly down to give her a kiss on the cheek- there it was. 'Did I do that to you?' he asked her image as he stared at the pictures of my mother, lined up in a row. 'How did that happen?' ~pgs 239-240; Mr. Salmon dealing with the three c's (for families of addicts)- Cause (you didn't cause it), Control (you can't control it), and Cure (you can't cure it)
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Through my willingness to train every day and to dig deep in the after-class ukemi sessions, over time I earned the respect and friendship of my training partners, who were mostly Japanese men sincerely surprised to find themselves training with an American woman.
Linda Holiday (Journey to the Heart of Aikido: The Teachings of Motomichi Anno Sensei)
magine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you. The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road. That’s what the canvas strategy is about—helping yourself by helping others.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
You sure you don't want me to come over? We could make a snowman in the garden, or one in front of the hotel for the guests' arrival tomorrow. Or we could build snow forts and have a snowball fight. Surefire way to wear you out and make you sleepy. Then we could have cocoa with marshmallows on top. And I've been dying to have a piece of that seven-layer chocolate cake. I can't quit thinking about it.
Terry Spear (A Silver Wolf Christmas (Heart of the Wolf #17; Silver Town Wolf #5))
Grief is not a one-time thing for people with chronic health problems. Just like people grieving the loss of a loved one find the sadness washes over them at holidays or family events or even unexpected everyday moments, we who are grieving the loss of ourselves, or our former lives, will find the feelings come at random—when someone mentions an activity we used to love, or even something as simple as spilling a glass of milk, or not being able to find our keys. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re human. And it’s okay. Then
Kimberly Rae (Sick and Tired: Empathy, encouragement, and practical help for those suffering from chronic health problems (Sick & Tired Series Book 1))
And you expect us to take the word of your … very pregnant wife, over a DNA test? No offense, but pregnancy tends to lower a female’s IQ.” Burnett turned to the warlock, but before he could add his two cents— which didn’t look as if it would be pleasant— Holiday added her own. “That’s funny,” she said, but without humor. “I’ve heard it also makes us vicious if provoked. And for your information, I’d be happy to put my IQ up against yours, pregnant or not.” Hunter, C. C. (2014-05-20). Reborn (Shadow Falls: After Dark) (p. 336). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.
C.C. Hunter
It’s been my experience that most folk who ride trains could care less where they’re going. For them it’s the journey itself and the people they meet along the way. You see, at every stop this train makes, a little bit of America, a little bit of your country, gets on and says hello. That’s why trains are so popular at Christmas. People get on to meet their country over the holidays. They’re looking for some friendship, a warm body to talk to. People don’t rush on a train, because that’s not what trains are for. How do you put a dollar value on that? What accounting line does that go on?
David Baldacci (The Christmas Train)
This time of year is brutal. Joe knows exactly what Donny’s referring to. It’s January, just after the holiday season, a time for family and gift giving and celebration for most, a time of unbearable depression for others. The days are cold and dark by four thirty. Joe and Donny have responded to a lot of suicides over the years, and winter is sadly the most popular season. Joe won’t miss that part of his job. Discovering the bodies. Sometimes the body parts. A teenager overdoses on heroin. A mother swallows a bottle of prescription pills. A father leaps off the Tobin. A cop eats his gun.
Lisa Genova (Inside the O'Briens)
In actuality, the will has a lot more to do with surrender than with strength. Try “God willing” over “the will to win” or “willing it into existence,” for even those attributes can be broken. True will is quiet humility, resilience, and flexibility; the other kind of will is weakness disguised by bluster and ambition.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them? We might not be emperors, but the world is still constantly testing us. It asks: Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that inevitably fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: Uncommon Prostitues I have nothing to say about prostitues (other than you'd make a terrible prostitute,the profession is much too unclean), I only wanted to type that. Isn't it odd we both have to spend Christmas with our fathers? Speaking of unpleasant matters,have you spoken with Bridge yet? I'm taking the bus to the hospital now.I expect a full breakdown of your Christmas dinner when I return. So far today,I've had a bowl of muesli. How does Mum eat that rubbish? I feel as if I've been gnawing on lumber. To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: Christmas Dinner MUESLY? It's Christmas,and you're eating CEREAL?? I'm mentally sending you a plate from my house. The turkey is in the oven,the gravy's on the stovetop,and the mashed potatoes and casseroles are being prepared as I type this. Wait. I bet you eat bread pudding and mince pies or something,don't you? Well, I'm mentally sending you bread pudding. Whatever that is. No, I haven't talked to Bridgette.Mom keeps bugging me to answer her calls,but winter break sucks enough already. (WHY is my dad here? SERIOUSLY. MAKE HIM LEAVE. He's wearing this giant white cable-knit sweater,and he looks like a pompous snowman,and he keeps rearranging the stuff on our kitchen cabinets. Mom is about to kill him. WHICH IS WHY SHE SHOULDN'T INVITE HIM OVER FOR HOLIDAYS). Anyway.I'd rather not add to the drama. P.S. I hope your mom is doing better. I'm so sorry you have to spend today in a hospital. I really do wish I could send you both a plate of turkey. To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: Re: Christmas Dinner YOU feel sorry for ME? I am not the one who has never tasted bread pudding. The hospital was the same. I won't bore you with the details. Though I had to wait an hour to catch the bus back,and it started raining.Now that I'm at the flat, my father has left for the hospital. We're each making stellar work of pretending the other doesn't exist. P.S. Mum says to tell you "Merry Christmas." So Merry Christmas from my mum, but Happy Christmas from me. To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: SAVE ME Worst.Dinner.Ever.It took less than five minutes for things to explode. My dad tried to force Seany to eat the green bean casserole, and when he wouldn't, Dad accused Mom of not feeding my brother enough vegetables. So she threw down her fork,and said that Dad had no right to tell her how to raise her children. And then he brought out the "I'm their father" crap, and she brought out the "You abandoned them" crap,and meanwhile, the WHOLE TIME my half-dead Nanna is shouting, "WHERE'S THE SALT! I CAN'T TASTE THE CASSEROLE! PASS THE SALT!" And then Granddad complained that Mom's turkey was "a wee dry," and she lost it. I mean,Mom just started screaming. And it freaked Seany out,and he ran to his room crying, and when I checked on him, he was UNWRAPPING A CANDY CANE!! I have no idea where it came from. He knows he can't eat Red Dye #40! So I grabbed it from him,and he cried harder, and Mom ran in and yelled at ME, like I'd given him the stupid thing. Not, "Thank you for saving my only son's life,Anna." And then Dad came in and the fighting resumed,and they didn't even notice that Seany was still sobbing. So I took him outside and fed him cookies,and now he's running aruond in circles,and my grandparents are still at the table, as if we're all going to sit back down and finish our meal. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY FAMILY? And now Dad is knocking on my door. Great. Can this stupid holiday get any worse??
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
So,Batman,eh?" Effing St. Clair. I cross my arms and slouch into one of the plastic seats. I am so not in the mood for this.He takes the chair next to me and drapes a relaxed arm over the back of the empty seat on his other side. The man across from us is engrossed in his laptop,and I pretend to be engrossed in his laptop,too. Well,the back of it. St. Clair hums under his breath. When I don't respond,he sings quietly. "Jingle bells,Batman smells,Robin flew away..." "Yes,great,I get it.Ha ha. Stupid me." "What? It's just a Christmas song." He grins and continues a bit louder. "Batmobile lost a wheel,on the M1 motorway,hey!" "Wait." I frown. "What?" "What what?" "You're singing it wrong." "No,I'm not." He pauses. "How do you sing it?" I pat my coat,double-checking for my passport. Phew. Still there. "It's 'Jingle bells, Batman smells,Robin laid an egg'-" St. Clair snorts. "Laid an egg? Robin didn't lay an egg-" "'Batmobile lost a wheel,and the Joker got away.'" He stares at me for a moment,and then says with perfect conviction. "No." "Yes.I mean,seriously,what's up with the motorway thing?" "M1 motorway. Connects London to Leeds." I smirk. "Batman is American. He doesn't take the M1 motorway." "When he's on holiday he does." "Who says Batman has time to vacation?" "Why are we arguing about Batman?" He leans forward. "You're derailing us from the real topic.The fact that you, Anna Oliphant,slept in today." "Thanks." "You." He prods my leg with a finger. "Slept in." I focus on the guy's laptop again. "Yeah.You mentioned that." He flashes a crooked smile and shrugs, that full-bodied movement that turns him from English to French. "Hey, we made it,didn't we? No harm done." I yank out a book from my backpack, Your Movie Sucks, a collection of Roger Ebert's favorite reviews of bad movies. A visual cue for him to leave me alone. St. Clair takes the hint. He slumps and taps his feet on the ugly blue carpeting. I feel guilty for being so harsh. If it weren't for him,I would've missed the flight. St. Clair's fingers absentmindedly drum his stomach. His dark hair is extra messy this morning. I'm sure he didn't get up that much earlier than me,but,as usual, the bed-head is more attractive on him. With a painful twinge,I recall those other mornings together. Thanksgiving.Which we still haven't talked about.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I pointed to the balled-up socks. “Look at them carefully. This should be a time for them to rest. Do you really think they can get any rest like that?” That’s right. The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday. They take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest. But if they are folded over, balled up, or tied, they are always in a state of tension, their fabric stretched and their elastic pulled. They roll about and bump into each other every time the drawer is opened and closed. Any socks and stockings unfortunate enough to get pushed to the back of the drawer are often forgotten for so long that their elastic stretches beyond recovery.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
After three hours, I come back to the waiting room. It is a cosmetic surgery office, so a little like a hotel lobby, underheated and expensively decorated, with candy in little dishes, emerald-green plush chairs, and upscale fashion magazines artfully displayed against the wall. A young woman comes in, frantic to get a pimple "zapped" before she sees her family over the holidays. An older woman comes in with her daughter for a follow-up visit to a face-lift. She is wearing a scarf and dark glasses. The nurse examines her bruises right out in the waiting room. And you are in the operating room having your body and your gender legally altered. I feel like laughing, but I know it makes me sound like a lunatic.
Joan Nestle
45,000 sections of reinforced concrete—three tons each. Nearly 300 watchtowers. Over 250 dog runs. Twenty bunkers. Sixty five miles of anti-vehicle trenches—signal wire, barbed wire, beds of nails. Over 11,000 armed guards. A death strip of sand, well-raked to reveal footprints. 200 ordinary people shot dead following attempts to escape the communist regime. 96 miles of concrete wall. Not your typical holiday destination. JF Kennedy said the Berlin Wall was a better option than a war. In TDTL, the Anglo-German Bishop family from the pebbledashed English suburb of Oaking argue about this—among other—notions while driving to Cold War Berlin, through all the border checks, with a plan to visit both sides of it.
Joanna Campbell (Tying Down the Lion)
Sitting on the train home, I realize I don’t feel like I need another week’s holiday, to get over the holiday. I feel refreshed and ready to go back to work.
Catherine Gray (The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober)
The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.
Ryan Holiday (Stillness is the Key)
Christmas is never over, unless you want it to be.
Lauren Myracle (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
Bank Holiday weekend. Emma, however, was celebrating something far more important – her imminent wedding, due to take place in just over two
Paul Pilkington (The One You Love (Emma Holden Suspense Mystery, #1))
I’m going to have you fired!” and I wanted to lean over and say, “I’m going to have you killed.
David Sedaris (Holidays on Ice)
Your grandparents are English?" "Grandfather is,but Grandmere is French. And my other grandparents are American,of course." "Wow.You really are a mutt." St. Clair smiles. "I'm told I take after my English grandfather the most, but it's only because of the accent." "I don't know.I think of you as more English than anything else.And you don't just sound like it,you look like it,too." "I do?" He surprised. I smile. "Yeah,it's that...pasty complexion. I mean it in the best possible way," I add,at his alarmed expression. "Honestly." "Huh." St. Clair looks at me sideways. "Anyway.Last summer I couldn't bear to face my father, so it was the first time I spent the whole holiday with me mum." "And how was it? I bet the girls don't tease you about your accent anymore." He laughs. "No,they don't.But I can't help my height.I'll always be short." "And I'll always be a freak,just like my dad. Everyone tells me I take after him.He's sort of...neat,like me." He seems genuinely surprised. "What's wrong with being neat? I wish I were more organized.And,Anna,I've never met your father,but I guarantee you that you're nothing like him." "How would you know?" "Well,for one thing,he looks like a Ken doll.And you're beautiful." I trip and fall down on the sidewalk. "Are you all right?" His eyes fill with worry. I look away as he takes my hand and helps me up. "I'm fine.Fine!" I say, brushing the grit from my palms. Oh my God, I AM a freak. "You've seen the way men look at you,right?" he continues. "If they're looking, it's because I keep making a fool of myself." I hold up my scraped hands. "That guy over there is checking you out right now." "Wha-?" I turn to find a young man with long dark hair staring. "Why is he looking at me?" "I expect he likes what he sees." I flush,and he keeps talking. "In Paris, it's common to acknowledge someone attractive.The French don't avert their gaze like other cultures do. Haven't you noticed?" St. Clair thinks I'm attractive. He called me beautiful. "Um,no," I say. "I hadn't noticed." "Well.Open your eyes." But I stare at the bare tree branches, at the children with balloons, at the Japanese tour group. Anywhere but at him. We've stopped in front of Notre-Dame again.I point at the familiar star and clear my throat. "Wanna make another wish?" "You go first." He's watching me, puzzled, like he's trying to figure something out. He bites his thumbnail. This time I can't help it.All day long, I've thought about it.Him.Our secret. I wish St. Clair would spend the night again.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
It was four o'clock of a stickily wet Saturday. As long as it is anything from Monday to Friday the average library attendant goes around thanking her stars she isn't a school-teacher; but the last day of the week, when the rest of the world is having its relaxing Saturday off and coming to gloat over you as it acquires its Sunday-reading best seller, if you work in a library you begin just at noon to wish devoutly that you'd taken up scrubbing-by-the-day, or hack-driving, or porch-climbing or- anything on earth that gave you a weekly half-holiday!
Margaret Widdemer (The Rose-Garden Husband)
Those long uneven lines Standing as patiently As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park, The crowns of hats, the sun On moustached archaic faces Grinning as if it were all An August Bank Holiday lark; And the shut shops, the bleached Established names on the sunblinds, The farthings and sovereigns, And dark-clothed children at play Called after kings and queens, The tin advertisements For cocoa and twist, and the pubs Wide open all day-- And the countryside not caring: The place names all hazed over With flowering grasses, and fields Shadowing Domesday lines Under wheat's restless silence; The differently-dressed servants With tiny rooms in huge houses, The dust behind limousines; Never such innocence, Never before or since, As changed itself to past Without a word--the men Leaving the gardens tidy, The thousands of marriages, Lasting a little while longer: Never such innocence again. - MCMXIV
Philip Larkin
The sergeants are shunted forward and they blink and stare up at Gonzo as he leans on the edge of his giant mixing bowl. MacArthur never addressed his troops from a mixing bowl--not even one made from a spare geodesic radio emplacement shell--and certainly de Gaulle never did. But Gonzo Lubitsch does, and he does it as if a whole long line of commanders were standing at his shoulder, urging him on. "Gentlemen," says Gonzo softly, "holidays are over. I need an oven, and I need one in about twenty minutes, or these fine flapjacks will go to waste, and that is not happening." And something about this statement and the voice in which he says it makes it clear that this is simply true. One way or another, this thing will get done. Under a layer of grime and horror, these two are soldiers, and more, they are productive, can-do sorts of people. Rustily but with a gratitude which is not so far short of worship, they say "Yes, sir" and are about their business.
Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World)
Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only they truly live. Not satisfied to merely keep good watch over their own days, they annex every age to their own. All the harvest of the past is added to their store. Only an ingrate would fail to see that these great architects of venerable thoughts were born for us and have designed a way of life for us.” —SENECA
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
Madame Altamont was leaving for a holiday. With her characteristic concern for propriety and orderliness, she emptied her refrigerator and gave the left-overs to the concierge: two ounces of butter, a pound of fresh green beans, two lemons, half a pot of redcurrant jam, a dab of fresh cream, a few cherries, a port of milk, a few bits of cheese, various herbs, and three Bulgarian-flavour yoghurts.
Georges Perec
He looks up. Our eyes lock,and he breaks into a slow smile. My heart beats faster and faster. Almost there.He sets down his book and stands.And then this-the moment he calls my name-is the real moment everything changes. He is no longer St. Clair, everyone's pal, everyone's friend. He is Etienne. Etienne,like the night we met. He is Etienne,he is my friend. He is so much more. Etienne.My feet trip in three syllables. E-ti-enne. E-ti-enne, E-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate. He is so beautiful, so perfect. My throat catches as he opens his arms and wraps me in a hug.My heart pounds furiously,and I'm embarrassed,because I know he feels it. We break apart, and I stagger backward. He catches me before I fall down the stairs. "Whoa," he says. But I don't think he means me falling. I blush and blame it on clumsiness. "Yeesh,that could've been bad." Phew.A steady voice. He looks dazed. "Are you all right?" I realize his hands are still on my shoulders,and my entire body stiffens underneath his touch. "Yeah.Great. Super!" "Hey,Anna. How was your break?" John.I forget he was here.Etienne lets go of me carefully as I acknowledge Josh,but the whole time we're chatting, I wish he'd return to drawing and leave us alone. After a minute, he glances behind me-to where Etienne is standing-and gets a funny expression on hs face. His speech trails off,and he buries his nose in his sketchbook. I look back, but Etienne's own face has been wiped blank. We sit on the steps together. I haven't been this nervous around him since the first week of school. My mind is tangled, my tongue tied,my stomach in knots. "Well," he says, after an excruciating minute. "Did we use up all our conversation over the holiday?" The pressure inside me eases enough to speak. "Guess I'll go back to the dorm." I pretend to stand, and he laughs. "I have something for you." He pulls me back down by my sleeve. "A late Christmas present." "For me? But I didn't get you anything!" He reaches into a coat pocket and brings out his hand in a fist, closed around something very small. "It's not much,so don't get excited." "Ooo,what is it?" "I saw it when I was out with Mum, and it made me think of you-" "Etienne! Come on!" He blinks at hearing his first name. My face turns red, and I'm filled with the overwhelming sensation that he knows exactly what I'm thinking. His expression turns to amazement as he says, "Close your eyes and hold out your hand." Still blushing,I hold one out. His fingers brush against my palm, and my hand jerks back as if he were electrified. Something goes flying and lands with a faith dink behind us. I open my eyes. He's staring at me, equally stunned. "Whoops," I say. He tilts his head at me. "I think...I think it landed back here." I scramble to my feet, but I don't even know what I'm looking for. I never felt what he placed in my hands. I only felt him. "I don't see anything! Just pebbles and pigeon droppings," I add,trying to act normal. Where is it? What is it? "Here." He plucks something tiny and yellow from the steps above him. I fumble back and hold out my hand again, bracing myself for the contact. Etienne pauses and then drops it from a few inches above my hand.As if he's avoiding me,too. It's a glass bead.A banana. He clears his throat. "I know you said Bridgette was the only one who could call you "Banana," but Mum was feeling better last weekend,so I took her to her favorite bead shop. I saw that and thought of you.I hope you don't mind someone else adding to your collection. Especially since you and Bridgette...you know..." I close my hand around the bead. "Thank you." "Mum wondered why I wanted it." "What did you tell her?" "That it was for you,of course." He says this like, duh. I beam.The bead is so lightweight I hardly feel it, except for the teeny cold patch it leaves in my palm.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
He left through the patio door. He was not certain, but he thought he had proved something. He hoped he had made something clear. The thing was, they had to have a serious talk soon. There were things that needed talking about, important things that had to be discussed. They’d talk again. Maybe after the holidays were over and things got back to normal. He’d tell her the goddamn ashtray was a goddamn dish, for example.
Raymond Carver (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love)
Excellent,” says Gray, rubbing his hands together, a gleam in his eye. “The last person to sing gets to buy the drinks.” Ivy grins wide. “You’re on, Cupcake. I’m going to sing the house down.” We all pause, our gazes darting back and forth as a certain sense of terror falls over the table. Ivy sees us and slaps her palm onto the table. “Oh, for fuck’s sake. I know what you twats are thinking! If I suck at dancing, I’ll suck at singing? Well, I don’t. I’m awesome.” Awkward silence ensues, and she snorts. “What? You think I don’t know I suck at dancing? I just don’t give a shit.” She glares at Gray, though there really isn’t any anger in the look. “So you can stop dancing like an ass now.” A strangled sound leaves him. “You knew?” “Of course.” She tosses a lock of her hair over her shoulder. “You’re too coordinated on the field, and you kind of forget to suck when you do those victory dances.” He gapes at her for a long second, then gives a bark of laughter. “I fucking love you, Special Sauce.” With that, he hauls Ivy into his lap and kisses her. Fi, however, finally snaps out of the trance she’s been in since Ivy confessed. “You sneaky shithead,” she shouts over the music. “All these years I’ve been covering for your craptacular dancing, and you knew!” She shakes a fist. “I swear to God, Ivy Weed…” “Oh, please,” Ivy counters. “You pretend you suck at baking so you don’t have to cook for family holidays.” Fi sniffs, looking guilty as hell. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ivy leans in, her eyes narrowed. “Midnight cookie baking ring a bell, Tink?” Fi’s cheeks flush, and she studies her nails with undue interest while muttering something about traitor sisters under her breath. “Those are for PMS cravings and nothing more. I was baking under duress.
Kristen Callihan (The Game Plan (Game On, #3))
I conjured my father’s laugh and my mother’s cooking, the stars in the sky over Sylvan Lake. I made peace with anyone who might every have been an enemy. I asked forgiveness for every vain or selfish thing I’d done in my life. Inside the house in the sky, all the people I loved sat down for a big holiday meal. I was safe and protected. It was where the voices that normally tore through my head expressing fear and wishing for death went silent, until there was one left speaking. It was a calmer, stronger voice, one that to me felt divine. It said, See? You are okay, Amanda. It’s only your body that’s suffering, and you are not your body. The rest of you is fine.
Amanda Lindhout
I’m alarmed at how many creators gloss over creating. They fritter away their time on Twitter and Facebook—not killing time, but believing that they are building up followers to be the recipients of their unremarkable work.
Ryan Holiday (Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts)
slowly building muscle and strengthening his upper body against his weak lungs and for the future. By his early twenties the battle against asthma was essentially over, he’d worked—almost literally—that weakness out of his body.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ... I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
the world can control our bodies—we can be thrown in jail or be tossed about by the weather. But the mind? That’s ours. We must protect it. Maintain control over your mind and perceptions, they’d say. It’s your most prized possession.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
The strangest thing about becoming an atheist was how little things changed. With no divine rules or threat of eternal punishment hanging over my head, I still somehow managed to not lie, cheat, steal, or kill anybody. Although to be honest, I was a little confused as to why we weren't lying, cheating, or stealing. Not killing people still made sense, but why, for example, should we not steal some peanut butter crackers from the unmanned mini-mart in this Holiday Inn?
Pete Holmes (Comedy Sex God)
I'll fix things up with George soon as she gets here," Anthony mumbled. "You may depend upon it." "Oh,I know you will, but you'll have to hie yourself back to London to do so, since she ain't coming here. Didn't want to inflict her dour mood on the festivities, so decided it ould be best to absent herself." Anthony looked appalled now and complained, "You didn't say she was that mad." "Didn't I? Think you're wearing that black eye just because she's a mite annoyed?" "That will do," Jason said sternly. "This entire situation is intolerable.And frankly, I find it beyond amazing that you have both utterly lost your finesse in dealing ith women since you married." That,of course, hit quite below the belt where these two ex[rakes were concerned. "Ouch," James muttered, then in his own defense, "American women are an exception to any known rule, and bloody stubbron besides." "So are Scots,for that matter," Anthony added. "They just don't behave like normal Enlgishwomen,Jason,indeed they don't." "Regardless.You know my feelings on the entire family gathering here for Christmas.This is not the time for anyone in the family to be harboring any ill will of any sort.You both should have patched this up before the holidays began. See that you do so immediately, if you both have to return to London to do so." Having said his peace, Jason headed for the door to leave his brothers to mull over their conduct,or rather, misconduct, but added before he left, "You both look like bloody panda bears.D'you have any idea what kind of example that sets for the children?" "Panda bears indeed," Anthony snorted as soon as the door closed. James looked up to reply drolly, "Least the roof is still intact.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
Ultimately, the roast turkey must be regarded as a monument to Boomer's love. Look at it now, plump and glossy, floating across Idaho as if it were a mammoth, mutated seed pod. Hear how it backfires as it passes the silver mines, perhaps in tribute to the origin of the knives and forks of splendid sterling that a roast turkey and a roast turkey alone possesses the charisma to draw forth into festivity from dark cupboards. See how it glides through the potato fields, familiarly at home among potatoes but with an air of expectation, as if waiting for the flood of gravy. The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage. Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird? And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted? The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together. And because it is an awkward, intractable creature, the serving of it establishes and reinforces the tribal hierarchy. There are but two legs, two wings, a certain amount of white meat, a given quantity of dark. Who gets which piece; who, in fact, slices the bird and distributes its limbs and organs, underscores quite emphatically the rank of each member in the gathering. Consider that the legs of this bird are called 'drumsticks,' after the ritual objects employed to extract the music from the most aboriginal and sacred of instruments. Our ancestors, kept their drums in public, but the sticks, being more actively magical, usually were stored in places known only to the shaman, the medicine man, the high priest, of the Wise Old Woman. The wing of the fowl gives symbolic flight to the soul, but with the drumstick is evoked the best of the pulse of the heart of the universe. Few of us nowadays participate in the actual hunting and killing of the turkey, but almost all of us watch, frequently with deep emotion, the reenactment of those events. We watch it on TV sets immediately before the communal meal. For what are footballs if not metaphorical turkeys, flying up and down a meadow? And what is a touchdown if not a kill, achieved by one or the other of two opposing tribes? To our applause, great young hungers from Alabama or Notre Dame slay the bird. Then, the Wise Old Woman, in the guise of Grandma, calls us to the table, where we, pretending to be no longer primitive, systematically rip the bird asunder. Was Boomer Petaway aware of the totemic implications when, to impress his beloved, he fabricated an outsize Thanksgiving centerpiece? No, not consciously. If and when the last veil dropped, he might comprehend what he had wrought. For the present, however, he was as ignorant as Can o' Beans, Spoon, and Dirty Sock were, before Painted Stick and Conch Shell drew their attention to similar affairs. Nevertheless, it was Boomer who piloted the gobble-stilled butterball across Idaho, who negotiated it through the natural carving knives of the Sawtooth Mountains, who once or twice parked it in wilderness rest stops, causing adjacent flora to assume the appearance of parsley.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
A tree.” She spotted one. It was hidden behind a much larger tree, its limbs misshapen in its attempt to fight for even a little sunlight in the shadow. “Dana has this tradition of giving a sad-looking tree the honor of being a Christmas tree.” She walked over to the small, nearly hidden tree. “I like this one. “It’s…” He laughed. “Ugly?” “No, it’s beautiful because it’s had a hard life. It’s struggled to survive against all odds and would keep doing that without much hope. But it has a chance to be something special.
B.J. Daniels (Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene)
And then there’s the tale of an economist on holiday in Las Vegas. He found himself one night in a bar standing beside a gorgeous woman. “Would you be willing to sleep with me for $1 million?” he asked her. She looked him over. There wasn’t much to see—but still, $1 million! She agreed to go back to his room. “All right then, ” he said. “Would you be willing to sleep with me for $100?” “A hundred dollars!” she shot back. “What do you think I am, a prostitute?” “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.
Steven D. Levitt (Think Like a Freak)
I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There—for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators—there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus)
I think that there’s real wisdom in leaving the old year behind you as you step into the New Year. However, if you’re foolish enough to leave the lessons behind as well, it won’t matter that you left the old year behind because you’re going to repeat it all over again anyway.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
We have only minimal control over the rewards for our work and effort - other people’s validation, recognition, rewards. It’s far better when doing the work itself is sufficient. When fulfilling our own internal standards is what fills us with pride and self-respect. The less attached we are to the outcomes, the better. Our ego wants recognition & compensation. We have expectations. Let the effort, not the results be enough. Maybe your parents/kids/partner/etc won’t be impressed. We can’t let THAT be what motivates us. We can change the definition of success to: ‘peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.’ With this definition we decide not to let externals determine if something is worth doing. It’s on us.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right. Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both. It is necessary to use these pleasures with great temperance. For, nature is not always tricked in holiday attire, but the same scene which yesterday
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature)
Opportunities are not usually deep, virgin pools that require courage and boldness to dive into, but instead are obscured, dusted over, blocked by various forms of resistance. What is really called for in these circumstances is clarity, deliberateness, and methodological determination.
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
It’s like being a house-elf,” complained Ron in an undertone, still massaging his head as he and Harry followed. “Except without the job satisfaction. The sooner this wedding’s over, the happier I’ll be.” “Yeah,” said Harry, “then we’ll have nothing to do except find Horcruxes…It’ll be like a holiday, won’t it?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Your life right now is pretty darn good! Some people wait all day for 5pm, all week for Friday, all year for the holidays, all their lives for happiness. Don’t be one of them. Don’t wait until your life is almost over to realize how good it has been. The good life begins right now, when you stop waiting for a better one.
Anonymous . (The Angel Affect: The World Wide Mission)
think about how impossible it is to explain to the young what happens when you know you’re not immune from death. Everything changes. You look at the world differently. When you’re young, you have no perspective. You think life lasts forever—days and months and years stretching out to infinity. You think you don’t have to choose. You think you can waste time doing drugs and alcohol. You think time will always be on your side. But time, once your friend, becomes your enemy. It gallops by as you get older. Holidays come faster and faster. Years fly off the calendar as in old movies. All you long for is to go back and do it all over, correct the mistakes,
Erica Jong (Fear of Dying)
I had chosen the fifteenth day of July, the day that Roman Knights go out crowned with olive wreaths to honor the Twins in a magnificent horseback procession:from the Temple of Mars they ride through the main streets of the City, circling back to the Temple of the Twins, where they offer sacrifices. The ceremony is a commemoration of the battle of Lake Regillus which was fought on that day over three hundred years ago. Castor and Pollux came riding in person to the help of a Roman army that was making a desperate stand on the lake-shore against a superior force of Latins; and ever since then they have been adopted as the particular patrons of the knights.
Robert Graves (Claudius the God)
My sisters and I stand on the deck, the shale tile cool against the soles of our feet - for a week it seems we never have to wear shoes - and take turns twirling, the matching turquoise silk skirts my mother bought us sliding coolly up our legs, our laughter flying out over the ocean. We are all light and happy and far, far away from home.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir)
Nishi's sister, who was sixteen years old, had gone for a "holiday" in Sylhet and returned six months later with a husband and a swelling belly. Nishi, strong on forward-planning skills, was taking evasive action: she was going on a holiday of her own and she would return when she was twenty-five. At that ancient age the danger of marriage was over.
Monica Ali (Brick Lane)
Simchat Torah (rejoicing of the Torah) marks the day we complete the Torah and start it all over again. The last verses of the last book (Deuteronomy) are read, followed by the first verses of the first book (Genesis). It’s a clear snapshot of how we hold both the ending and the beginning in the same moment, not to mention that the ending never ends.
Abigail Pogrebin (My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew)
Fetch the other two bairns," she said as she scooped up the twins. "We're leaving James to get on with his murdering." Reggie tried to hide her grin as she plucked Jaime from Anthony and grabbed the other toddler's hand,then followed Roslynn out of the room.It was accomplished within moments, as efficient as the women were with children. James leaned back against the door after it closed, crossed his arms over his exceedingly wide chest, and said to his bemused brother, "How's it feel, old chap? Least she was still talking to you before she flounced out of here, whereas George ain't talked to me in a week." "Bloody hell," Anthony growled. "You can stop blaming me. You heard what I said. Wasn't as if I deliberately took the girls to Knighton's. Same thing could have happened to you,you know." "Beg to differ," James replied laconically. "I ain't that bloody stupid." Anthony flushed angrily, but it was a bit of guilt that had him retorting, "I like that.You want a piece of me, then? Won't be satisfied without it? Have at me,then." "Don't mind if I do.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
TIME TO SACRIFICE TAURUS This is the night of union when the stars scatter their rice over us. The sky is excited! Venus cannot stop singing the little songs she's making up, like birds in the first warm spring weather. The North Star can't quit looking over at Leo. Pisces is stirring milky dust from the ocean floor. Jupiter rides his horse near Saturn, "Old man, jump up behind me! The juice is coming back! Think of something happy to shout as we go. "Mars washes his bloody sword, puts it up, and begins building things. The Aquarian water jar fills, and the Virgin pours it generously. The Pleiades and Libra and Aries have no trembling in them anymore. Scorpio walks out looking for a lover, and so does Sagittarius! This is not crooked walking like the Crab. This is a holiday we've been waiting for. It is finally time to sacrifice Taurus and learn how the sky is a lens to look through. Listen to what's inside what I say. Shams will appear at dawn; then even night will change from its beloved animated darkness to a day within this ordinary sweet daylight.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
Ah, my child, you will have real troubles to fret about by and by," is the consolation we have almost all of us had administered to us in our childhood, and have repeated to other children since we have been grown up. We have all of us sobbed so piteously, standing with tiny bare legs above our little socks, when we lost sight of our mother or nurse in some strange place; but we can no longer recall the poignancy of that moment and weep over it, as we do over the remembered sufferings of five or ten years ago. Every one of those keen moments has left its trace, and lives in us still, but such traces have blent themselves irrecoverably with the firmer texture of our youth and manhood; and so it comes that we can look on at the troubles of our children with a smiling disbelief in the reality of their pain. Is there any one who can recover the experience of his childhood, not merely with a memory _of_ what he did and what happened to him, of what he liked and disliked when he was in frock and trousers, but with an intimate penetration, a revived consciousness of what he felt then, when it was so long from one Midsummer to another; what he felt when his school fellows shut him out of their game because he would pitch the ball wrong out of mere wilfulness; or on a rainy day in the holidays, when he didn't know how to amuse himself, and fell from idleness into mischief, from mischief into defiance, and from defiance into sulkiness; or when his mother absolutely refused to let him have a tailed coat that "half," although every other boy of his age had gone into tails already? Surely if we could recall that early bitterness, and the dim guesses, the strangely perspectiveless conception of life, that gave the bitterness its intensity, we should not pooh-pooh the griefs of our children.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
The girl, Gary's girl....would keep bowls of Hershey's Kisses on the coffee table, and she'd decorate the house for all the big holidays and most of the small ones. Probably she'd be class mother, and PTA president, and she'd deliver meals to the elderly once a month. In bed, she'd be exuberant, and would take it as an endorsement when Gary sweated all over her.
Jennifer Weiner (Fly Away Home)
It was the Church, they told me, that had kept alive the Latin and Greek of the classical world in the benighted Middle Ages, until it could be picked up again by the wider world in the Renaissance. On holidays, we would visit museums and libraries where the same point was made. As a young child, I looked at the glowing gold of the illuminated manuscripts and believed in a more metaphorical illumination in ages of intellectual darkness. And, in a way, my parents were right to believe this, for it is true. Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge. But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed. In a spasm of destruction never seen before—and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it—during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and mutilated. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was leveled. Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off, and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches. Books—which were often stored in temples—suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames.
Catherine Nixey (The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World)
Away from home, my partner and I are on holiday on a resort on an island. Mealtimes bring everyone together. We enter the dining room, where we face many tables places alongside each other… I face what seems like a shocking image. In front of me, on the tables, couples are seated. Table after table, couple after couple, taking the same form: one many sitting by one woman around a ‘round table,’ facing each other 'over’ the table… I am shocked by the sheer force of the regularity of that which is familiar: how each table presents the same form of sociality as the form of the heterosexual couple. How is it possible, with all that is possible, that the same form is repeated again and again? How does the openness of the future get closed down into so little in the present?
Sara Ahmed (Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others)
Marigold searched between the trees—free organic hot apple cider clutched between her hands, she was not immune to its lure—and strained her ears over the sounds of laughing children and roaring chain saws. Under any other context, this combination would be alarming. Here, it was positively merry. Or it would’ve been, had her stomach not already been churning with horror-movie-like dread.
Stephanie Perkins (My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories)
For the first time in his life, Midhat wished he were more religious. Of course he prayed, but though that was a private mechanism it sometimes felt like a public act, and the lessons of the Quran were lessons by rote, one was steeped in them, hearing them so often. They were the texture of his world, and yet they did not occupy that central, vital part of his mind, the part that was vibrating at this moment, on this train, rattling forward while he struggled to hold all these pieces. As a child he had felt some of the same curiosity he held for the mysteries of other creeds—for Christianity with its holy fire, the Samaritans with their alphabets—but that feeling had dulled while he was still young, when traditional religion began to seem a worldly thing, a realm of morals and laws and the same old stories and holidays. They were acts, not thoughts. He faced the water now along the coast, steadying his gaze on the slow distance, beyond the blur of trees pushing past the tracks, on the desolate fishing boats hobbling over the waves. He sensed himself tracing the lip of something very large, something black and well-like, a vessel which was at the same time an emptiness, and he thought, without thinking precisely, only feeling with the tender edges of his mind, what the Revelation might have been for in its origin. Why it was so important that they could argue to the sword what it meant if God had hands, and whether He had made the universe. Underneath it all was a living urgency, that original issue of magnitude; the way several hundred miles on foot could be nothing to the mind, Nablus to Cairo, one thought of a day’s journey by train, but placed vertically that same distance in depth exposed the body’s smallness and suddenly one thought of dying. Did one need to face the earth, nose to soil, to feel that distance towering above? There was something of his own mortality in this. Oh then but why, in a moment of someone else’s death, must he think of his own disappearance?
Isabella Hammad (The Parisian)
July had come, and haying begun; the little gardens were doing finely and the long summer days were full of pleasant hours. The house stood open from morning till night, and the lads lived out of doors, except at school time. The lessons were short, and there were many holidays, for the Bhaers believed in cultivating healthy bodies by much exercise, and our short summers are best used in out-of-door work. Such a rosy, sunburnt, hearty set as the boys became; such appetites as they had; such sturdy arms and legs, as outgrew jackets and trousers; such laughing and racing all over the place; such antics in house and barn; such adventures in the tramps over hill and dale; and such satisfaction in the hearts of the worthy Bhaers, as they saw their flock prospering in mind and body, I cannot begin to describe.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Men [with Biographical Introduction])
Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since. I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since. But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen. As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal. But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong. Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant. The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too. The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up. I mean, what does a child know about faith? It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known. Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about. Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg. I was devastated. I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life. ‘Please, God, comfort me.’ Blow me down … He did. My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.) To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies. This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes. The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life. This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree. I had found a calling for my life.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
I thought a voice had to be about what you could do. It wasn’t until I heard Billie Holiday that I realized a voice could be a collection of compensations for things you couldn’t do. It could be an ingenuity – in the same way some writers wrote books that coursed between the boulders of what they couldn’t do, and went faster, and tumbled over, fell in rills and rushed breathlessly over the stones. The great singers were also the great interpreters. She had just a single octave, and she made it her lifelong subject. I thought a voice had to be about your fluency, your dexterity, your virtuosity. But in fact your voice could be about your failings, your faltering, your physical limits. The voices that ring hardest in our heads are not the perfect voices. They are the voices with an additional dimension, which is pain.
Patricia Lockwood
In the history of terrible holidays, this ranks as the worst ever. Worse than the Fourth of July when Granddad showed up to see the fireworks in a kilt and insisted on singing "Flower of Scotland" instead of "America the Beautiful." Worse than the Halloween when Trudy Sherman and I both went to school dressed as Glinda the Good Witch,and she told everyone her costume was better than mine,because you could see my purple "Monday" panties through my dress AND YOU TOTALLY COULD. I'm not talking to Bridgette.She calls every day,but I ignore her.It's over. The Christmas gift I bought her,a tiny package wrapped in red-and-white striped paper,has been shoved into the bottom of my suitcase.It's a model of Pont Neuf,the oldest bridge in Paris. It was part of a model train set,and because of my poor language skills, St. Clair spent fifteen minutes convincing the shopkeeper to sell the bridge to me seperately. I hope I can return it. I've only been to the Royal Midtown 14 once,and even though I saw Hercules, Toph was there,too.And he was like, "Hey, Anna.Why won't you talk to Bridge?" and I had to run into the restroom. One of the new girls followed me in and said she thinks Toph is an insensitive douchebag motherhumping assclown,and that I shouldn't let him get to me.Which was sweet,but didn't really help.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Nate reaches over the counter to the sink, flinging a handful of water at me, and then flipping me off. 'Can we have one finger-free holiday, for Pete's sake?' Mom says. 'I don't know who Pete is, but tell him I don't like him fingering you,' I tease, my eyebrows high as I push backward out of mom's reach. She tries to fling water at me next, but it's too late. So instead, she just flips me off. 'Gosh, Mom. You're such a hypocrite,' I joke.
Ginger Scott (You and Everything After (Falling, #2))
As she lies in the bed she weeps, for Bing, for the melting, shimmering candles, the filigree on the holiday tablecloth. She is an unwilling astronaut, bumping against the thick glass of the ship, her line tangling lazily in zero gravity, face mask fogged with fear. My sister reaches across, over the bed, and we both embrace the mother, holding her on earth, pulling her onto the ship, breathing our oxygen into her line. Ten hours later she is dead.
Jo Ann Beard (The Boys of My Youth)
Claire loved early evening in the hotel the best. Between five and six, when the sun slanted in through the windows, it had a sort of sleepiness combined with a sense of expectation. As the kitchen launched into preparation and the barman filled his ice bucket and laid out bowls of olives, guests retired to their rooms, relaxing on their beds for a quick power nap, or watching the news, or putting on make-up over sun-kissed skin, or making lazy holiday love.
Veronica Henry (The Long Weekend)
I was starting to remember the whole problem now: I hate these fucking people [people at Tea Party rallies, ed]. It's never been just political, it's personal. I'm not convinced anyone in this country except the kinds of weenies who thought student council was important really cares about large versus small government or strict constructionalism versus judicial activism. The ostensible issues are just code words in an ugly snarl of class resentment, anti-intellectualism, old-school snobbery, racism, and who knows what else - grudges left over from the Civil War, the sixties, gym class. The Tea Party likes to cite a poll showing that their members are wealthier and better educated than te general populace, but to me they mostly looked like the same people I'd had to listen to in countless dive bars railing against "edjumicated idiots" and explaining exactly how Nostradamus predicted 9/11, the very people I and everyone I know fled our hometowns to get away from. So far all my interactions at the rally were only reinforcing my private theory - I suppose you might call it a prejudice - that liberals are the ones who went to college, moved to the nearest city where no one would call them a fag, and now only go back for holidays; conservatives are the ones who married their high school girlfriends, bought houses in their hometowns, and kept going to church and giving a shit who won the homecoming game. It's the divide between the Got Out and the Stayed Put. This theory also account for the different reactions of these two camps when the opposition party takes power, raising the specter of either fascist or socialist tyranny: the Got Outs always fantasize about fleeing the country for someplace more civilized - Canada, France, New Zealand; the Stayed Put just di further in, hunkering down in compounds, buying up canned goods and ammo.
Tim Kreider (We Learn Nothing)
Early mornings were given over to Bartok and Schoenberg. Midmorning I treated myself to the vocals of Billy Eckstine, Billie Holiday, Nat Cole, Louis Jordan and Bull Moose Jackson. A piroshki from the Russian delicatessen next door was lunch and then the giants of bebop flipped through the air. Charlie Parker and Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Al Haig and Howard McGhee. Blues belonged to late afternoons and the singers’ lyrics of lost love spoke to my solitude.
Maya Angelou (Singin' & Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas)
Such unexpected details carried over onto the blues rocker ‘Mr Lacey’ on their second album, What We Did on Our Holidays. Dr Bruce Lacey was an inventor of robots and automata who lived next door to Hutchings in the mid-1960s, and the hoover-like whooshing noises that take a ‘solo’ in the song’s middle eight are made by three of Lacey’s robots, which he transported down to the studio in south London, their inventor gleefully prodding them into life while dressed in a space suit.
Rob Young (Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music)
Woolf drew on her memories of her holidays in Cornwall for To the Lighthouse, which was conceived in part as an elegy on her parents. Her father was a vigorous walker and an Alpinist of some renown, a member of the Alpine Club and editor of the Alpine Journal from 1868 to 1872; he was the first person to climb the Schreckhorn in the Alps and he wrote on Alpine pleasures in The Playground of Europe (1871). By the time he married Julia Duckworth in 1878, however, a more sedentary Leslie Stephen was the established editor of the Cornhill Magazine, from which he later resigned to take up the editorship of the Dictionary of National Biography in 1882, the year of Woolf ’s birth. Stephen laboured on this monumental Victorian enterprise until 1990, editing single-handed the first twenty-six volumes and writing well over 300 biographical entries. He also published numerous volumes of criticism, the most important of which were on eighteenth-century thought and literature.
Jane Goldman (The Cambridge Introduction to Virginia Woolf)
Kid, time’s up,” Hunter said to the boy on Santa’s lap. “I’m not finished!” the boy cried. Hunter bent over, until their faces were level. The kid reminded him of Cupid,whose chubby face hid a diabolical brain intent on replacing Santa as the most beloved holiday figure. Hunter had lost more than one of his platoon members after they were lured into Cupid’s boiling pots of chocolate. He’d learned not to trust kids. “If you don’t want me to slip you a poison gumdrop in your sleep, get off Santa’s lap,” Hunter whispered. The boy burst into tears. “Next!” Hunter barked.
Lizzy Ford (Santa's Ninja Elves)
..Just two short guys home for the holidays.' Loafers bristled. 'What do you mean two short guys?' Carla snapped the compact shut. 'Who are you talking to, McGuire? Because you couldn't be talking to me. Not in that tone.' Loafers paled, his life flashing before him. 'I'm sorry, Miss Frazetti. It's just the short thing. I've been listening to it my whole life.' 'What do you want people to call you? Lofty? You're short, Loafers. Get over it. That's what gives you your edge. My godfather always says there's nothing more dangerous than a short guy with something to prove. That's why you've got a job.
Eoin Colfer (The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl, #3))
Mr. Mitchell should stop worrying and put Steph in charge. She will be good at this; she has the party planning gene in her family. I swear, they always have the entire familia over for every occasion. All her tias, tios, cousins, friends, ninas, and ninos go to her house for practically anything. Every day is a holiday at Casa Ayala. Anyway, we’re placed into committees, which totally sucks, because the fab four get split up. Keesha and I get selected for Activities, while Amy and Steph are slated for Rally committee. All the upperclassmen say these are the best committees, and we should feel lucky.
Julie Prestsater (So I'm a Double Threat (Double Threat, #1))
Merry Christmas,Ja-" To which he immediately cut her off with a very testy, "Bloody hell it is." Though he did halt his progress to offer her a brief smile, adding, "Good to see you,Molly," then in the very same breath, "Where's that worthless brother of mine?" She was surprised enough to ask, "Ah,which brother would that be?" when she knew very well he would never refer to Edward or Jason, whom the two younger brothers termed the elders, in that way.But then,Jason shared everything with her about his family, so she knew them as well as he did. So his derogatory answer didn't really add to her surprise. "The infant." She winced at his tone,though, as well as his expression, which had reverted to deadly menace at mention of the "infant." Big,blond, and handsome, James Malory was,just like his elder brothers, and rarely did anyone actually see him looking angry. When James was annoyed with someone, he usually very calmly ripped the person to shreds with his devilish wit, and by his inscrutable expression, the victim had absolutely no warning such pointed barbs would be headed his or her way. The infant, or rather, Anthony, had heard James's voice and, unfortunately, stuck his head around the parlor door to determine James's mood, which wasn't hard to misinterpret with the baleful glare that came his way. Which was probably why the parlor door immediately slammed shut. "Oh,dear," Molly said as James stormed off. Through the years she'd become accustomed to the Malorys' behavior, but a times it still alarmed her. What ensued was a tug of war in the reverse, so to speak, with James shoving his considerable weight against the parlor door, and Anthony on the other side doing his best to keep it from opening. Anthony managed for a bit. He wasn't as hefty as his brother, but he was taller and well muscled. But he must have known he couldn't hold out indefinitely, especially when James started to slam his shoulder against the door,which got it nearly half open before Anthony could manage to slam it shut again. But what Anthony did to solve his dilemma produced Molly's second "Oh,dear." When James threw his weight against the door for the third time, it opened ahead of him and he unfortunately couldn't halt his progress into the room. A rather loud crash followed. A few moments later James was up again suting pine needles off his shoulders. Reggie and Molly,alarmed by the noise, soon followed the men into the room. Anthony had picked up his daughter Jamie who had been looking at the tree with her nursemaid and was now holding her like a shield in front of him while the tree lay ingloriously on its side. Anthony knew his brother wouldn't risk harming one of the children for any reason, and the ploy worked. "Infants hiding behind infants, how apropos," James sneered. "Is,aint it?" Anthony grinned and kissed the top of his daughter's head. "Least it works." James was not amused, and ordered, barked, actually. "Put my niece down." "Wouldn't think of it, old man-least not until I find out why you want to murder me." Anthony's wife, Roslynn, bent over one of the twins, didn't turn about to say, "Excuse me? There will be no murdering in front of the children.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
Of course, none of that would matter if people heard Nina and Jesper arguing at the top of their lungs. They must have returned to the island and left theirgondel on the north side. Nina’s irritated voice floated over the graves, and Matthias felt a surge of relief, his steps quickening, eager for the sight of her. “I don’t think you’re showing proper appreciation for what I just went through,” Jesper was saying as he stomped through the cemetery. “You spent a night at the tables losing someone else’s money,” Nina shot back. “Isn’t that essentially a holiday for you?” Kaz knocked his cane hard against a gravestone and they both went quiet, moving swiftly into fighting stances. Nina relaxed as soon as she caught sight of the three of them in the shadows. “Oh, it’s you.” “Yes, it’s us.” Kaz used his cane to herd them both toward the center of the island. “And you would have heard us if you hadn’t been busy shouting at each other. Stop gawking like you’ve never seen a girl in a dress before, Matthias.” “I wasn’t gawking,” Matthias said with as much dignity as he could muster. But for Djel’s sake, what was he supposed to look at when Nina had irises tucked between … everything. “Be quiet, Brekker,” Nina said. “I like it when he gawks.” “How did the mission go?” Matthias asked, trying to keep his eyes on her face. 
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Deacon met my glare with an impish grin. “Anyway, did you celebrate Valentine’s Day when you were slumming with the mortals?” I blinked. “Not really. Why?” Aiden snorted and then disappeared into one of the rooms. “Follow me,” Deacon said. “You’re going to love this. I just know it.” I followed him down the dimly-lit corridor that was sparsely decorated. We passed several closed doors and a spiral staircase. Deacon went through an archway and stopped, reaching along the wall. Light flooded the room. It was a typical sunroom, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, wicker furniture, and colorful plants. Deacon stopped by a small potted plant sitting on a ceramic coffee table. It looked like a miniature pine tree that was missing several limbs. Half the needles were scattered in and around the pot. One red Christmas bulb hung from the very top branch, causing the tree to tilt to the right. “What do you think?” Deacon asked. “Um… well, that’s a really different Christmas tree, but I’m not sure what that has to do with Valentine’s Day.” “It’s sad,” Aiden said, strolling into the room. “It’s actually embarrassing to look at. What kind of tree is it, Deacon?” He beamed. “It’s called a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.” Aiden rolled his eyes. “Deacon digs this thing out every year. The pine isn’t even real. And he leaves it up from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. Which thank the gods is the day after tomorrow. That means he’ll be taking it down.” I ran my fingers over the plastic needles. “I’ve seen the cartoon.” Deacon sprayed something from an aerosol can. “It’s my MHT tree.” “MHT tree?” I questioned. “Mortal Holiday Tree,” Deacon explained, and smiled. “It covers the three major holidays. During Thanksgiving it gets a brown bulb, a green one for Christmas, and a red one for Valentine’s Day.” “What about New Year’s Eve?” He lowered his chin. “Now, is that really a holiday?” “The mortals think so.” I folded my arms. “But they’re wrong. The New Year is during the summer solstice,” Deacon said. “Their math is completely off, like most of their customs. For example, did you know that Valentine’s Day wasn’t actually about love until Geoffrey Chaucer did his whole courtly love thing in the High Middle Ages?” “You guys are so weird.” I grinned at the brothers. “That we are,” Aiden replied. “Come on, I’ll show you your room.” “Hey Alex,” Deacon called. “We’re making cookies tomorrow, since it’s Valentine’s Eve.” Making cookies on Valentine’s Eve? I didn’t even know if there was such a thing as Valentine’s Eve. I laughed as I followed Aiden out of the room. “You two really are opposites.” “I’m cooler!” Deacon yelled from his Mortal Holiday Tree room
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Deity (Covenant, #3))
My father was usually too far in the drink to remember he had children. My mother was half mad and had fewer morals than the barn cat we brought back today. Since none of our relations wanted custody of a pair of impoverished brats, Devon and I were sent to boarding school. We stayed there most holidays. I became a bully. I hated everyone. Henry was especially irritating- skinny, odd, fussy about his food. Always reading. I stole that book from the box under his bed because it seemed to be his favorite." Pausing uncomfortably, Mr. Ravenel raked a hand through his disordered hair, and it promptly fell back into the same gleaming, untidy layers. "I didn't plan to keep it. I was going to embarrass him by reading parts of it aloud in front of him. And when I saw what you'd written on the inside cover, I could hardly wait to torture him about it. But then I read the first page." "In which Stephen Armstrong is sinking in a pit of quicksand," Phoebe said with a tremulous smile. "Exactly. I had to find out what happened next." "After escaping the quicksand, he has to save his true love, Catriona, from the crocodiles." A husky sound of amusement. "You marked x's all over those pages." "I secretly longed for a hero to rescue me from crocodiles someday." "I secretly longed to be a hero. Despite having far more in common with the crocodiles.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors. It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air. It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season. It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect. I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated. I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free spirit. I was retired but it was middle-age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations. My life was over but I never got what I wanted.3
Linda Dillow (Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment (TH1NK Reference Collection))
You have nothing to tell me!" said Vyesovshchikov slowly. "Nothing! My heart is so—it seems to me as if wolves were howling there!" "And I don't want to say anything to you. Only I know that you'll get over this, perhaps not entirely, but you'll get over it!" He smiled, and added, tapping Nikolay on the back: "Why, man, this is a children's disease, something like measles! We all suffer from it, the strong less, the weak more. It comes upon a man at the period when he has found himself, but does not yet understand life, and his own place in life. And when you do not see your place, and are unable to appraise your own value, it seems that you are the only, the inimitable cucumber on the face of the earth, and that no one can measure, no one can fathom your worth, and that all are eager only to eat you up. After a while you'll find out that the hearts in other people's breasts are no worse than a good part of your own heart, and you'll begin to feel better. And somewhat ashamed, too! Why should you climb up to the belfry tower, when your bell is so small that it can't be heard in the great peal of the holiday bells? Moreover, you'll see that in chorus the sound of your bell will be heard, too, but by itself the old church bells will drown it in their rumble as a fly is drowned in oil. Do you understand what I am saying?" "Maybe I understand," Nikolay said, nodding. "Only I don't believe it." The
Maxim Gorky (Mother)
Images of people in the Middle East dressing like Westerners, spending like Westerners, that is what the voters watching TV here at home want to see. That is a visible sign that we really are winning the war of ideas—the struggle between consumption and economic growth, and religious tradition and economic stagnation. I thought, why are those children coming onto the streets more and more often? It’s not anything we have done, is it? It’s not any speeches we have made, or countries we have invaded, or new constitutions we have written, or sweets we have handed out to children, or football matches between soldiers and the locals. It’s because they, too, watch TV. They watch TV and see how we live here in the West. They see children their own age driving sports cars. They see teenagers like them, instead of living in monastic frustration until someone arranges their marriages, going out with lots of different girls, or boys. They see them in bed with lots of different girls and boys. They watch them in noisy bars, bottles of lager upended over their mouths, getting happy, enjoying the privilege of getting drunk. They watch them roaring out support or abuse at football matches. They see them getting on and off planes, flying from here to there without restriction and without fear, going on endless holidays, shopping, lying in the sun. Especially, they see them shopping: buying clothes and PlayStations, buying iPods, video phones, laptops, watches, digital cameras, shoes, trainers, baseball caps. Spending money, of which there is always an unlimited supply, in bars and restaurants, hotels and cinemas. These children of the West are always spending. They are always restless, happy and with unlimited access to cash. I realised, with a flash of insight, that this was what was bringing these Middle Eastern children out on the streets. I realised that they just wanted to be like us. Those children don’t want to have to go to the mosque five times a day when they could be hanging out with their friends by a bus shelter, by a phone booth or in a bar. They don’t want their families to tell them who they can and can’t marry. They might very well not want to marry at all and just have a series of partners. I mean, that’s what a lot of people do. It is no secret, after that serial in the Daily Mail, that that is what I do. I don’t necessarily need the commitment. Why should they not have the same choices as me? They want the freedom to fly off for their holidays on easy Jet. I know some will say that what a lot of them want is just one square meal a day or the chance of a drink of clean water, but on the whole the poor aren’t the ones on the street and would not be my target audience. They aren’t going to change anything, otherwise why are they so poor? The ones who come out on the streets are the ones who have TVs. They’ve seen how we live, and they want to spend.
Paul Torday (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
The responsibility/fault fallacy allows people to pass off the responsibility for solving their problems to others. This ability to alleviate responsibility through blame gives people a temporary high and a feeling of moral righteousness. Unfortunately, one side effect of the Internet and social media is that it’s become easier than ever to push responsibility—for even the tiniest of infractions—onto some other group or person. In fact, this kind of public blame/shame game has become popular; in certain crowds it’s even seen as “cool.” The public sharing of “injustices” garners far more attention and emotional outpouring than most other events on social media, rewarding people who are able to perpetually feel victimized with ever-growing amounts of attention and sympathy. “Victimhood chic” is in style on both the right and the left today, among both the rich and the poor. In fact, this may be the first time in human history that every single demographic group has felt unfairly victimized simultaneously. And they’re all riding the highs of the moral indignation that comes along with it. Right now, anyone who is offended about anything—whether it’s the fact that a book about racism was assigned in a university class, or that Christmas trees were banned at the local mall, or the fact that taxes were raised half a percent on investment funds—feels as though they’re being oppressed in some way and therefore deserve to be outraged and to have a certain amount of attention. The current media environment both encourages and perpetuates these reactions because, after all, it’s good for business. The writer and media commentator Ryan Holiday refers to this as “outrage porn”: rather than report on real stories and real issues, the media find it much easier (and more profitable) to find something mildly offensive, broadcast it to a wide audience, generate outrage, and then broadcast that outrage back across the population in a way that outrages yet another part of the population. This triggers a kind of echo of bullshit pinging back and forth between two imaginary sides, meanwhile distracting everyone from real societal problems. It’s no wonder we’re more politically polarized than ever before. The biggest problem with victimhood chic is that it sucks attention away from actual victims. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. The more people there are who proclaim themselves victims over tiny infractions, the harder it becomes to see who the real victims actually are. People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good. As political cartoonist Tim Kreider put it in a New York Times op-ed: “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” But
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Krebs, who knew some Russian and at one stage in his career had been embraced by Stalin, was "a smooth, surviving type." And so, with almost incredible effrontery, he tried to talk to Chuikov as an equal, opening the conversation with the general comment: "Today is the first of May, a great holiday for our two nations..." With seven million Russian dead, half his country devastated, and fresh evidence mounting daily of the unspeakable barbarity with which the Germans had treated Soviet captives and civilians, Chuikov's answer was a model of restraint, a standing testimony to the cool head and dry wit of that remarkable man. He said: "We have a great holiday today. How things are with you over there it is less easy to say.
Alan Clark (Barbarossa)
I'll be all over your business. I'd expect to be told where you're going and when, and I'll want to meet your friends." Sam cleared his throat and rolled his shoulders. "Being a couple means holidays and vacations together. It means I can count on you to be supportive when my work gets to be too much, and that you'll always be nice to my mother. That you'll have dinner with me, and we'll go to bed together as often as we can. It means I demand to be a priority, and not an option for when nothing else is going on in your life." He cleared his throat again. "Couples nowadays tend to live separate lives, but that would never fly with me. I've been told I can be overbearing, and I know there's a chance you'll feel suffocated and—
Taylor V. Donovan (Six Degrees of Separation (By Degrees, #2))
Warren,still staring at the splendid black eye and several cuts on his face, remarked, "Hate to see what the other fellow looks like," which James supposed was a compliment of sorts, since Warren had personal experience of his fists from numerous occasions himself. "Like to congratulate the other fellow myself," Nicholas said with a smirk, which got him a kick under the table from his wife. James nodded to Reggie. "Appreciate it, m'dear. My feet wouldn't reach." To which she blushed that her kick had been noticed. And Nicholas, still wincing, managed a scowl,which turned out rather comical looking, considering the two expressions didn't mix all that well. "Is Uncle Toony still among the living?" Amy asked, probably because neither James nor his brother had returned back downstairs last night. "Give me a few more days to figure that out,puss, 'cause I bloody well ain't sure just now," Anthony said as he came slowly into the room,an arm tucked to his side as if he were protecting some broken ribs. A melodramatic groan escaped as he took the seat across from his brother. James rolled his eyes hearing it. "Give over,you ass," he sneered. "Your ife ain't here to witness your theatrics." "She's not?" Anthony glanced down the table, then made a moue and sat back in his chair-minus groaning this time. However, he did complain to James, "You did break my ribs,you know." "Devil I did, though I'll admit I considered it. And by the by, the option is still open." Anthony glared at him. "We're too bloody old to be beating on each other." "Speak for yourself, old man. One is never too old for a spot of exercise." "Ah,so that's what we were doing?" Anthony shot back dryly, as he gently fingered his own black eye. "Exercising, was it?" James raised a brow. "And that's not what you do weekly at Knighton's Hall? But I understand your confusion in the matter, since you're used to doling out the damage, rather than receiving any. Tends to give one a skewed perspective. Glad to have cleared that up for you." It was at that point that Jason walked in, took one look at his two younger brothers' battered faces, and remarked, "Good God, and at this time of the year,no less? I'll see you both in my study.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
There was a big “Sesame Street Live” extravaganza over at Madison Square Garden, so thousands of people decided to make a day of it and go straight from Sesame Street to Santa. We were packed today, absolutely packed, and everyone was cranky. Once the line gets long we break it up into four different lines because anyone in their right mind would leave if they knew it would take over two hours to see Santa. Two hours — you could see a movie in two hours. Standing in a two-hour line makes people worry that they’re not living in a democratic nation. People stand in line for two hours and they go over the edge. I was sent into the hallway to direct the second phase of the line. The hallway was packed with people, and all of them seemed to stop me with a question: which way to the down escalator, which way to the elevator, the Patio Restaurant, gift wrap, the women’s rest room, Trim-A-Tree. There was a line for Santa and a line for the women’s bathroom, and one woman, after asking me a dozen questions already, asked, “Which is the line for the women’s bathroom?” I shouted that I thought it was the line with all the women in it. She said, “I’m going to have you fired.” I had two people say that to me today, “I’m going to have you fired.” Go ahead, be my guest. I’m wearing a green velvet costume; it doesn’t get any worse than this. Who do these people think they are? “I’m going to have you fired!” and I wanted to lean over and say, “I’m going to have you killed.
David Sedaris (Holidays on Ice)
From an interview with Susie Bright: SB: You were recently reviewed by the New York Times. How do you think the mainstream media regards sex museums, schools and cultural centers these days? What's their spin versus your own observations? [Note: Here's the article Susie mentions: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/05/nat... ] CQ: Lots of people have seen the little NY Times article, which was about an event we did, the Belle Bizarre Bazaar -- a holiday shopping fair where most of the vendors were sex workers selling sexy stuff. Proceeds went to our Exotic Dancers' Education Project, providing dancers with skills that will help them maximize their potential and choices. This event got into the Times despite the worries of its author, a journalist who'd been posted over by her editor. She thought the Times was way too conservative for the likes of us, which may be true, except they now have so many column inches to fill with distracting stuff that isn't about Judith Miller! The one thing the Times article does not do is present the spectrum of the Center for Sex & Culture's work, especially the academic and serious side of what we do. This, I think, points to the real answer to your question: mainstream media culture remains quite nervous and touchy about sex-related issues, especially those that take sex really seriously. A frivolous take (or a good, juicy, shocking angle) on a sex story works for the mainstream press: a sex-positive and serious take, not so much. When the San Francisco Chronicle did its article about us a year ago, the writer focused just on our porn collection. Now, we very much value that, but we also collect academic journals and sex education materials, and not a word about those! I think this is one really essential linchpin of sex-negative or erotophobic culture, that sex is only allowed to be either light or heavy, and when it's heavy, it's about really heavy issues like abuse. Recently I gave some quotes about something-or-other for a Cosmo story and the editors didn't want to use the term "sexologist" to describe me, saying that it wasn't a real word! You know, stuff like that from the Times would not be all that surprising, but Cosmo is now policing the language? Please!
Carol Queen (PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality)
About a block away from them there lived another Lithuanian family, consisting of an elderly widow and one grown son; their name was Majauszkis, and our friends struck up an acquaintance with them before long. One evening they came over for a visit, and naturally the first subject upon which the conversation turned was the neighborhood and its history; and then Grandmother Majauszkiene, as the old lady was called, proceeded to recite to them a string of horrors that fairly froze their blood. She was a wrinkled-up and wizened personage--she must have been eighty--and as she mumbled the grim story through her toothless gums, she seemed a very old witch to them. Grandmother Majauszkiene had lived in the midst of misfortune so long that it had come to be her element, and she talked about starvation, sickness, and death as other people might about weddings and holidays. The thing came gradually. In the first place as to the house they had bought, it was not new at all, as they had supposed; it was about fifteen years old, and there was nothing new upon it but the paint, which was so bad that it needed to be put on new every year or two. The house was one of a whole row that was built by a company which existed to make money by swindling poor people. The family had paid fifteen hundred dollars for it, and it had not cost the builders five hundred, when it was new. Grandmother Majauszkiene knew that because her son belonged to a political organization with a contractor who put up exactly such houses. They used the very flimsiest and cheapest material; they built the houses a dozen at a time, and they cared about nothing at all except the outside shine. The family could take her word as to the trouble they would have, for she had been through it all--she and her son had bought their house in exactly the same way. They had fooled the company, however, for her son was a skilled man, who made as high as a hundred dollars a month, and as he had had sense enough not to marry, they had been able to pay for the house. Grandmother Majauszkiene saw that her friends were puzzled at this remark; they did not quite see how paying for the house was "fooling the company." Evidently they were very inexperienced. Cheap as the houses were, they were sold with the idea that the people who bought them would not be able to pay for them. When they failed--if it were only by a single month--they would lose the house and all that they had paid on it, and then the company would sell it over again. And did they often get a chance to do that? Dieve! (Grandmother Majauszkiene raised her hands.) They did it--how often no one could say, but certainly more than half of the time. They might ask any one who knew anything at all about Packingtown as to that; she had been living here ever since this house was built, and she could tell them all about it. And had it ever been sold before? Susimilkie! Why, since it had been built, no less than four families that their informant could name had tried to buy it and failed.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
All right," he said. "Ready for the moment of truth?" Lindsay looked at him quizzically. Fred held a wooden spoonful of fudge up in front of her, waving it lightly through the air to cool it. "Here. Time to see if I've got it right." Lindsay looked at him over the spoon, a wonderful complication of emotions in her eyes. Did she want him to win or lose the bet? Fred wasn't sure she knew the answer herself. She turned her face up toward him as he held the spoon to her lips. And then, as she tasted it, she closed her eyes, savoring the chocolate. Her expression was one of blissful surrender. This was the real Lindsay, her face unguarded, completely in the moment. Very much like a woman lost in a kiss. He never should have brought the bloody mistletoe.
Sierra Donovan (No Christmas Like the Present)
Billy ran around with a rare old crew And he knew an Arsenal from Tottenham blue We'd be a darn sight better off if we knew Where Billy's bones are resting now Billy saw a copper and he hit him in the knee And he took him down from six to five foot three Then he hit him fair and square in the do-re-mi That copper won't be having any family Hey Billy son where are you now? Don't you know that we need you now? With a rat-tat-tat and the old kowtow Where are Billy's bones resting now? Billy went away with a peace-keeping force 'Cause he liked a bloody good fight, of course Went away in an old khaki van To the banks of the River Jordan Billy saw the Arabs and he had 'em on the run When he got 'em in the range of his sub-machine gun Then he had the Israelis in his sights, went a rat-tat-tat And they ran like shites Hey Billy son where are you now? Don't you know that we need you now? With a rat-tat-tat and the old kowtow Where are Billy's bones resting now? One night Billy had a rare old time, Laughing and singing on the Lebanon line Came back to camp not looking too pretty Never even got to see the holy city Now Billy's out there in the desert sun And his mother cries when the morning comes And there's mothers crying all over this world For their poor dead darling boys and girls Hey Billy son where are you now? Don't you know that we need you now? With a rat-tat-tat and the old kowtow Where are Billy's bones resting now? Have a Billy holiday… Born on a Monday Married on a Tuesday Drunk on a Wednesday Got plugged on a Thursday Sick on a Friday Died on a Saturday Buried on a Sunday. "Billy's Bones
Shane MacGowan (Poguetry)
I think it's important to explain that major depression is not even peripherally related to "sadness". Depression is the absence of emotion. I never cried during my darkest periods of depression. Crying would have been A HOLIDAY. It would have been FUCKING CHRISTMAS. A fight or a feeling of anger would have been AN EASTER EGG HUNT AT DISNEYLAND. I am vocal about my depression now because it was so fucking Satanically awful that I view it as one my life's primary missions to help other people understand and overcome it. Depression kills people because in the normal weather patterns of human emotion over a day or a week or a decade, actual unipolar major depressive disorder doesn't appear. It's like The Nothing in The NeverEnding Story. It eats your anger, your sadness, your happiness, your testicle and/or ovaries.
Rob Delaney (Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.)
Comparing marriage to football is no insult. I come from the South where football is sacred. I would never belittle marriage by saying it is like soccer, bowling, or playing bridge, never. Those images would never work, only football is passionate enough to be compared to marriage. In other sports, players walk onto the field, in football they run onto the field, in high school ripping through some paper, in college (for those who are fortunate enough) they touch the rock and run down the hill onto the field in the middle of the band. In other sports, fans cheer, in football they scream. In other sports, players ‘high five’, in football they chest, smash shoulder pads, and pat your rear. Football is a passionate sport, and marriage is about passion. In football, two teams send players onto the field to determine which athletes will win and which will lose, in marriage two families send their representatives forward to see which family will survive and which family will be lost into oblivion with their traditions, patterns, and values lost and forgotten. Preparing for this struggle for survival, the bride and groom are each set up. Each has been led to believe that their family’s patterns are all ‘normal,’ and anyone who differs is dense, naïve, or stupid because, no matter what the issue, the way their family has always done it is the ‘right’ way. For the premarital bride and groom in their twenties, as soon as they say, “I do,” these ‘right’ ways of doing things are about to collide like two three hundred and fifty pound linemen at the hiking of the ball. From “I do” forward, if not before, every decision, every action, every goal will be like the line of scrimmage. Where will the family patterns collide? In the kitchen. Here the new couple will be faced with the difficult decision of “Where do the cereal bowls go?” Likely, one family’s is high, and the others is low. Where will they go now? In the bathroom. The bathroom is a battleground unmatched in the potential conflicts. Will the toilet paper roll over the top or underneath? Will the acceptable residing position for the lid be up or down? And, of course, what about the toothpaste? Squeeze it from the middle or the end? But the skirmishes don’t stop in the rooms of the house, they are not only locational they are seasonal. The classic battles come home for the holidays. Thanksgiving. Which family will they spend the noon meal with and which family, if close enough, will have to wait until the nighttime meal, or just dessert if at all? Christmas. Whose home will they visit first, if at all? How much money will they spend on gifts for his family? for hers? Then comes for many couples an even bigger challenge – children of their own! At the wedding, many couples take two candles and light just one often extinguishing their candle as a sign of devotion. The image is Biblical. The Bible is quoted a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. What few prepare them for is the upcoming struggle, the conflict over the unanswered question: the two shall become one, but which one? Two families, two patterns, two ways of doing things, which family’s patterns will survive to play another day, in another generation, and which will be lost forever? Let the games begin.
David W. Jones (The Enlightenment of Jesus: Practical Steps to Life Awake)
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert talks about this phenomenon in his 2006 book, Stumbling on Happiness. “The greatest achievement of the human brain is its ability to imagine objects and episodes that do not exist in the realm of the real,” he writes. “The frontal lobe—the last part of the human brain to evolve, the slowest to mature, and the first to deteriorate in old age—is a time machine that allows each of us to vacate the present and experience the future before it happens.” This time travel into the future—otherwise known as anticipation—accounts for a big chunk of the happiness gleaned from any event. As you look forward to something good that is about to happen, you experience some of the same joy you would in the moment. The major difference is that the joy can last much longer. Consider that ritual of opening presents on Christmas morning. The reality of it seldom takes more than an hour, but the anticipation of seeing the presents under the tree can stretch out the joy for weeks. One study by several Dutch researchers, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life in 2010, found that vacationers were happier than people who didn’t take holiday trips. That finding is hardly surprising. What is surprising is the timing of the happiness boost. It didn’t come after the vacations, with tourists bathing in their post-trip glow. It didn’t even come through that strongly during the trips, as the joy of travel mingled with the stress of travel: jet lag, stomach woes, and train conductors giving garbled instructions over the loudspeaker. The happiness boost came before the trips, stretching out for as much as two months beforehand as the holiday goers imagined their excursions. A vision of little umbrella-sporting drinks can create the happiness rush of a mini vacation even in the midst of a rainy commute. On some level, people instinctively know this. In one study that Gilbert writes about, people were told they’d won a free dinner at a fancy French restaurant. When asked when they’d like to schedule the dinner, most people didn’t want to head over right then. They wanted to wait, on average, over a week—to savor the anticipation of their fine fare and to optimize their pleasure. The experiencing self seldom encounters pure bliss, but the anticipating self never has to go to the bathroom in the middle of a favorite band’s concert and is never cold from too much air conditioning in that theater showing the sequel to a favorite flick. Planning a few anchor events for a weekend guarantees you pleasure because—even if all goes wrong in the moment—you still will have derived some pleasure from the anticipation. I love spontaneity and embrace it when it happens, but I cannot bank my pleasure solely on it. If you wait until Saturday morning to make your plans for the weekend, you will spend a chunk of your Saturday working on such plans, rather than anticipating your fun. Hitting the weekend without a plan means you may not get to do what you want. You’ll use up energy in negotiations with other family members. You’ll start late and the museum will close when you’ve only been there an hour. Your favorite restaurant will be booked up—and even if, miraculously, you score a table, think of how much more you would have enjoyed the last few days knowing that you’d be eating those seared scallops on Saturday night!
Laura Vanderkam (What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off (A Penguin Special from Portfo lio))
That City of yours is a morbid excrescence. Wall Street is a morbid excrescence. Plainly it's a thing that has grown out upon the social body rather like -- what do you call it? -- an embolism, thrombosis, something of that sort. A sort of heart in the wrong place, isn't it? Anyhow -- there it is. Everything seems obliged to go through it now; it can hold up things, stimulate things, give the world fever or pain, and yet all the same -- is it necessary, Irwell? Is it inevitable? Couldn't we function economically quite as well without it? Has the world got to carry that kind of thing for ever? "What real strength is there in a secondary system of that sort? It's secondary, it's parasitic. It's only a sort of hypertrophied, uncontrolled counting-house which has become dominant by falsifying the entries and intercepting payment. It's a growth that eats us up and rots everything like cancer. Financiers make nothing, they are not a productive department. They control nothing. They might do so, but they don't. They don't even control Westminster and Washington. They just watch things in order to make speculative anticipations. They've got minds that lie in wait like spiders, until the fly flies wrong. Then comes the debt entanglement. Which you can break, like the cobweb it is, if only you insist on playing the wasp. I ask you again what real strength has Finance if you tackle Finance? You can tax it, regulate its operations, print money over it without limit, cancel its claims. You can make moratoriums and jubilees. The little chaps will dodge and cheat and run about, but they won't fight. It is an artificial system upheld by the law and those who make the laws. It's an aristocracy of pickpocket area-sneaks. The Money Power isn't a Power. It's respectable as long as you respect it, and not a moment longer. If it struggles you can strangle it if you have the grip...You and I worked that out long ago, Chiffan... "When we're through with our revolution, there will be no money in the world but pay. Obviously. We'll pay the young to learn, the grown-ups to function, everybody for holidays, and the old to make remarks, and we'll have a deuce of a lot to pay them with. We'll own every real thing; we, the common men. We'll have the whole of the human output in the market. Earn what you will and buy what you like, we'll say, but don't try to use money to get power over your fellow-creatures. No squeeze. The better the economic machine, the less finance it will need. Profit and interest are nasty ideas, artificial ideas, perversions, all mixed up with betting and playing games for money. We'll clean all that up..." "It's been going on a long time," said Irwell. "All the more reason for a change," said Rud.
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
You are grown, Abby, dear. You’re amazing. I don’t know why you don’t see that.” “But, that’s just it. I do see that. I know I’m amazing and that people should get over the past and see that I’m an adult who likes to dance and not just knit. They need to get over the fact that my parents always fought and don’t even know who I am anymore. They need to know that I’m not the goody-goody they think I am. But that’s not going to happen in a town where everyone knows the exact brand of tampons I use and when I need to buy them.” Jordan curled a lip and shook her head. “That’s just sick. You know, that was one part of small-town living I didn’t miss.” “Yeah, just wait until they make a connection to when you stop buying them. Because believe me, they’re watching to see when you and Matt make a mini Cooper.” She laughed at her own joke, even as Jordan’s eyes widened. “You’re kidding, right? We just got married.
Carrie Ann Ryan (Finding Abigail (Holiday, Montana, #3))
The whole village has been drunk for the last three days. And as for feast days, it is simply horrible to think of! It has been proved conclusively that alcohol does no good in any case, but invariably does harm, and it has been demonstrated to be an absolute poison. Then, ninety-nine percent of the crimes in the world are committed through its influence. We all know how the standard of morality and the general welfare improved at once in all the countries where drinking has been suppressed—like Sweden and Finland, and we know that it can be suppressed by exercising a moral influence over the masses. But in our country the class which could exert that influence—the Government, the Tsar and his officials—simply encourage drink. Their main revenues are drawn from the continual drunkenness of the people. They drink themselves—they are always drinking the health of somebody: ‘Gentlemen, the Regiment!’ The priests drink, the bishops drink—
Leo Tolstoy (A Very Russian Christmas: The Greatest Russian Holiday Stories of All Time)
Any relationship beyond acquaintanceship is composed of one to three qualities: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Simple friendship has one: intimacy. You can have other friends and you do not feel passionately about one another, or we are dealing with another animal. Most romantic relationships begin with a dollop of passion, often to the exclusion of anything else. The person in your arms is the best in the world, though you barely know him or her. You have never felt this way. Any gaps or deficits are temporarily puttied over by passion. When most people envision romantic love, this is where they stop. Romantic comedies but only rarely deal with washing your lover's dishes because they must be up early for work. No one wants to see the mundane when they can flip the channel to a desperate, emotionally-stunted frottage. The passion of infatuation triggers the release of addictive chemicals. We would rather get another hit than cope with the relative dullness of intimacy and commitment.
Thomm Quackenbush (Holidays with Bigfoot)
Arthur and his partner – shifting fridges is a two man job – are not employed by the delivery company directly, but rather have a contract that requires them to undertake a certain amount of deliveries while paying the company for the use of their liveried van. You read that correctly. Arthur pays for the privilege of going to work in a van owned by a company that pays him no sick pay, holiday pay or pension contributions. While technically self-employed, he is obviously unable to work for any other company or employer except over and above his already full-time schedule. Indeed, if one of them is ill or otherwise indisposed and unable to source their own replacement, the rent for the van is still due. It means that, in twenty-first-century Britain, getting sick while holding down a relatively menial job sees the sick person not just lose their wage for the days they’re off sick, but actually pay money to their employer (who’s not technically their employer) for every day they’re off the road.
James O'Brien (How To Be Right… in a World Gone Wrong)
Socrates could enjoy a banquet now and again, and must have derived considerable satisfaction from his conversations while the hemlock was taking effect, but most of his life he lived quietly with Xanthippe, taking a constitutional in the afternoon, and perhaps meeting with a few friends by the way. Kant is said never to have been more than ten miles from Konigsberg in all his life. Darwin, after going round the world, spent the whole rest of his life in his own house. Marx, after stirring up a few revolutions, decided to spend the remainder of his days in the British Museum. Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye. No great achievement is possible without persistent work, so absorbing and so difficult that little energy is left over for the more strenuous kinds of amusement, except such as serve to recuperate physical energy during holidays, of which Alpine climbing may serve as the best example.
Bertrand Russell
The knife point dug into Akos’s skin, right over the scar Ryzek had given him. “Vas,” Eijeh said, and he sounded a little terse. Nervous? Akos thought. But it was a foolish hope. “You can’t kill him, Ryzek won’t allow it. So stop playing at it.” Vas grunted, and took the knife away. Akos’s body ached as it relaxed. “Is there some kind of Shotet holiday today where you visit the people you hate to make them miserable?” He wiped at the cold sweat on the back of his neck. “Well, I’m not celebrating. Leave me alone.” “No, but your presence has been requested to witness the interrogation of a confessed renegade,” Vas said. “Along with Cyra’s.” “What use would I be at an interrogation?” Akos said. Vas tilted his head, a smile creeping across his face. “You were initially brought here to bring relief to Cyra on a regular basis. I assume that is the use you will be put to.” “Right,” Akos said. “I’m sure that’s the reason.” Vas sheathed his knife--he probably knew as well as Akos did that he wouldn’t need it to get Akos to do what he said. After all, they were on a ship. In space.
Veronica Roth (Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1))
My dad gets mad pissed at us for lighting fireworks on the Fourth. Not ’cause they can turn our fingers into knobs but because he doesn’t fuck with July 4th or Christmas or Easter or Presidents’ Day or any other holiday. Too white for Pops—white Christmas, all white on Easter, dead white presidents. He comes outside. “Whose independence are you celebrating?” He pulls out a book and reads while the M-80 smoke swirls over our heads: “ ‘What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.’ ” Roach
M.K. Asante (Buck: A Memoir)
To speak of a communication failure implies a breakdown of some sort. Yet this does not accurately portray what occurs. In truth, communication difficulties arise not from breakdown but from the characteristics of the system itself. Despite promising beginnings in our intimate relationships, we tend over time to evolve a system of communication that suppresses rather than reveals information. Life is complicated, and confirming or disconfirming the well-being of a relationship takes effort. Once we are comfortably coupled, the intense, energy-consuming monitoring of courtship days is replaced by a simpler, more efficient method. Unable to witness our partners’ every activity or verify every nuance of meaning, we evolve a communication system based on trust. We gradually cease our attentive probing, relying instead on familiar cues and signals to stand as testament to the strength of the bond: the words “I love you,” holidays with the family, good sex, special times with shared friends, the routine exchange, “How was your day?” We take these signals as representative of the relationship and turn our monitoring energies elsewhere. ... Not only do the initiator’s negative signals tend to become incorporated into the existing routine, but, paradoxically, the initiator actively contributes to the impression that life goes on as usual. Even as they express their unhappiness, initiators work at emphasizing and maintaining the routine aspects of life with the other person, simultaneously giving signals that all is well. Unwilling to leave the relationship yet, they need to privately explore and evaluate the situation. The initiator thus contrives an appearance of participation,7 creating a protective cover that allows them to “return” if their alternative resources do not work out. Our ability to do this—to perform a role we are no longer enthusiastically committed to—is one of our acquired talents. In all our encounters, we present ourselves to others in much the same way as actors do, tailoring our performance to the role we are assigned in a particular setting.8 Thus, communication is always distorted. We only give up fragments of what really occurs within us during that specific moment of communication.9 Such fragments are always selected and arranged so that there is seldom a faithful presentation of our inner reality. It is transformed, reduced, redirected, recomposed.10 Once we get the role perfected, we are able to play it whether we are in the mood to go on stage or not, simply by reproducing the signals. What is true of all our encounters is, of course, true of intimate relationships. The nature of the intimate bond is especially hard to confirm or disconfirm.11 The signals produced by each partner, while acting out the partner role, tend to be interpreted by the other as the relationship.12 Because the costs of constantly checking out what the other person is feeling and doing are high, each partner is in a position to be duped and misled by the other.13 Thus, the initiator is able to keep up appearances that all is well by falsifying, tailoring, and manipulating signals to that effect. The normal routine can be used to attest to the presence of something that is not there. For example, initiators can continue the habit of saying, “I love you,” though the passion is gone. They can say, “I love you” and cover the fact that they feel disappointment or anger, or that they feel nothing at all. Or, they can say, “I love you” and mean, “I like you,” or, “We have been through a lot together,” or even “Today was a good day.
Diane Vaughan (Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships)
I’m so sorry to break up this cozy little gathering,” she said, her voice trembling. “I’m sure you all need your rest…but there are wedding presents stacked in my room that need sorting out and I was under the impression that you had agreed to help.” “Oh yes,” said Hermione, looking terrified as she leapt to her feet, sending books flying in every direction, “we will…we’re sorry…” With an anguished look at Harry and Ron, Hermione hurried out of the room after Mrs. Weasley. “It’s like being a house-elf,” complained Ron in an undertone, still massaging his head as he and Harry followed. “Except without the job satisfaction. The sooner this wedding’s over, the happier I’ll be.” “Yeah,” said Harry, “then we’ll have nothing to do except find Horcruxes…It’ll be like a holiday, won’t it?” Ron started to laugh, but at the sight of the enormous pile of wedding presents waiting for them in Mrs. Weasley’s room, stopped quite abruptly. The Delacours arrived the following morning at eleven o’clock. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were feeling quite resentful toward Fleur’s family by this time, and it was with ill grace that Ron stumped back upstairs to put on matching socks, and Harry attempted to flatten his hair.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
I encounter forms of this attitude every day. The producers who work at the Ostankino channels might all be liberals in their private lives, holiday in Tuscany, and be completely European in their tastes. When I ask how they marry their professional and personal lives, they look at me as if I were a fool and answer: “Over the last twenty years we’ve lived through a communism we never believed in, democracy and defaults and mafia state and oligarchy, and we’ve realized they are illusions, that everything is PR.” “Everything is PR” has become the favorite phrase of the new Russia; my Moscow peers are filled with a sense that they are both cynical and enlightened. When I ask them about Soviet-era dissidents, like my parents, who fought against communism, they dismiss them as naïve dreamers and my own Western attachment to such vague notions as “human rights” and “freedom” as a blunder. “Can’t you see your own governments are just as bad as ours?” they ask me. I try to protest—but they just smile and pity me. To believe in something and stand by it in this world is derided, the ability to be a shape-shifter celebrated. Vladimir Nabokov once described a species of butterfly that at an early stage in its development had to learn how to change colors to hide from predators. The butterfly’s predators had long died off, but still it changed its colors from the sheer pleasure of transformation. Something similar has happened to the Russian elites: during the Soviet period they learned to dissimulate in order to survive; now there is no need to constantly change their colors, but they continue to do so out of a sort of dark joy, conformism raised to the level of aesthetic act. Surkov himself is the ultimate expression of this psychology. As I watch him give his speech to the students and journalists, he seems to change and transform like mercury, from cherubic smile to demonic stare, from a woolly liberal preaching “modernization” to a finger-wagging nationalist, spitting out willfully contradictory ideas: “managed democracy,” “conservative modernization.” Then he steps back, smiling, and says: “We need a new political party, and we should help it happen, no need to wait and make it form by itself.” And when you look closely at the party men in the political reality show Surkov directs, the spitting nationalists and beetroot-faced communists, you notice how they all seem to perform their roles with a little ironic twinkle.
Peter Pomerantsev (Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia)
But Shunt, he thirsted for understanding with obsessive perseverance. It was a pathology in this way, and pathologies aren't hobbies to be entertained through the inclination of the willing. With some assertion, you certainly can't direct a pathology: it directs, contorts, warps, wears you. Shunt walked through school, down his bedroom corridor, high-ceiling'd and close-panelled, over asphalt as hot as holiday sex, in his head, always relegated to a realm of internal mystery, a sphere of indecipherable symbols that were filtered in, held fast to, but never understood. He saw things or deduced things, and they were there for eternity. Once Shunt had them inside, it was impossible to divorce or expunge them, and so there they remained, infecting his peace and placidity of mind, thoughts like foreign bodies entering a gaping, unquenched wound, and after that Shunt's life devolved into the gangrene set in by these unpurged foreign bodies. Shunt suffered from epilepsy and a panic disorder. He didn't know who he was. He was not a funny person, a wise person, a valorous person, a soft person. Shunt was epilepsy and a panic disorder, and that's as encompassing as his personality had ever been. When you suffer a pathology it directs, contorts, warps, wears you.
Kirk Marshall (A Solution to Economic Depression in Little Tokyo, 1953)
Oskar Schell: My father died at 9-11. After he died I wouldn't go into his room for a year because it was too hard and it made me want to cry. But one day, I put on heavy boots and went in his room anyway. I miss doing taekwondo with him because it always made me laugh. When I went into his closet, where his clothes and stuff were, I reached up to get his old camera. It spun around and dropped about a hundred stairs, and I broke a blue vase! Inside was a key in an envelope with black written on it and I knew that dad left something somewhere for me that the key opened and I had to find. So I take it to Walt, the locksmith. I give it to Stan, the doorman, who tells me keys can open anything. He gave me the phone book for all the five boroughs. I count there are 472 people with the last name black. There are 216 addresses. Some of the blacks live together, obviously. I calculated that if I go to 2 every Saturday plus holidays, minus my hamlet school plays, my minerals, coins, and comic convention, it's going to take me 3 years to go through all of them. But that's what I'm going to do! Go to every single person named black and find out what the key fits and see what dad needed me to find. I made the very best possible plan but using the last four digits of each phone number, I divide the people by zones. I had to tell my mother another lie, because she wouldn't understand how I need to go out and find what the key fits and help me make sense of things that don't even make sense like him being killed in the building by people that didn't even know him at all! And I see some people who don't speak English, who are hiding, one black said that she spoke to God. If she spoke to god how come she didn't tell him not to kill her son or not to let people fly planes into buildings and maybe she spoke to a different god than them! And I met a man who was a woman who a man who was a woman all at the same time and he didn't want to get hurt because he/she was scared that she/he was so different. And I still wonder if she/he ever beat up himself, but what does it matter? Thomas Schell: What would this place be if everyone had the same haircut? Oskar Schell: And I see Mr. Black who hasn't heard a sound in 24 years which I can understand because I miss dad's voice that much. Like when he would say, "are you up yet?" or... Thomas Schell: Let's go do something. Oskar Schell: And I see the twin brothers who paint together and there's a shed that has to be clue, but it's just a shed! Another black drew the same drawing of the same person over and over and over again! Forest black, the doorman, was a school teacher in Russia but now says his brain is dying! Seamus black who has a coin collection, but doesn't have enough money to eat everyday! You see olive black was a gate guard but didn't have the key to it which makes him feel like he's looking at a brick wall. And I feel like I'm looking at a brick wall because I tried the key in 148 different places, but the key didn't fit. And open anything it hasn't that dad needed me to find so I know that without him everything is going to be alright. Thomas Schell: Let's leave it there then. Oskar Schell: And I still feel scared every time I go into a strange place. I'm so scared I have to hold myself around my waist or I think I'll just break all apart! But I never forget what I heard him tell mom about the sixth borough. That if things were easy to find... Thomas Schell: ...they wouldn't be worth finding. Oskar Schell: And I'm so scared every time I leave home. Every time I hear a door open. And I don't know a single thing that I didn't know when I started! It's these times I miss my dad more than ever even if this whole thing is to stop missing him at all! It hurts too much. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll do something very bad.
Eric Roth
My time at Eton did develop in me a character trait that is essentially, I guess, very English: the notion that it is best to be the sort of person who messes about and plays the fool but who, when it really matters, is tough to the core. I think it goes back to the English Scarlet Pimpernel mentality: the nobility of aspiring to be the hidden hero. (In fact, I am sure it is no coincidence that over the years, so many senior SAS officers have also been Old Etonians. Now explain that one, when the SAS really is the ultimate meritocracy? No school tie can earn you a place there. That comes only with sweat and hard work. But the SAS also attracts a certain personality and attitude. It favors the individual, the maverick, and the quietly talented. That was Eton for you, too.) This is essentially a very English ethos: work hard, play hard; be modest; do your job to your utmost, laugh at yourself; and sometimes, if you have to, cuff it. I found that these qualities were ones that I loved in others, and they were qualities that subconsciously I was aspiring to in myself--whether I knew it or not. One truth never changed for me at Eton: however much I threw myself into life there, the bare fact was that I still really lived for the holidays--to be back at home with my mum and dad, and Lara, in the Isle of Wight. It was always where my heart really was.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
They sat islanded in their foreignness, irrelevant now that the holiday season had ended, anachronistic, outstaying their welcome, no longer necessary to anyone's plans. Priorities had shifted; the little town was settling down for its long uninterrupted hibernation. No one came here in the winter. The weather was too bleak, the snow too distant, the amenities too sparse to tempt visitors. And they felt that the backs of the residents had been turned on them with a sigh of relief, reminding them of their transitory nature, their fundamental unreality. And when Monica at last succeeded in ordering coffee, they still sat, glumly, for another ten minutes, before the busy waitress remembered their order. 'Homesick,' said Edith finally. 'Yes.' But she thought of her little house as if it had existed in another life, another dimension. She thought of it as something to which she might never return. The seasons had changed since she last saw it; she was no longer the person who could sit up in bed in the early morning and let the sun warm her shoulders and the light make her impatient for the day to begin. That sun, that light had faded, and she had faded with them. Now she was as grey as the season itself. She bent her head over her coffee, trying to believe that it was the steam rising from the cup that was making her eyes prick. This cannot go on, she thought.
Anita Brookner (Hotel du Lac)
The silence was shattered as the bedroom door flew open with a wall-shaking crash. Hermione shrieked and dropped Secrets of the Darkest Art; Crookshanks streaked under the bed, hissing indignantly; Ron jumped off the bed, skidded on a discarded Chocolate Frog wrapper, and smacked his head on the opposite wall; and Harry instinctively dived for his wand before realizing that he was looking up at Mrs. Weasley, whose hair was disheveled and whose face was contorted with rage. “I’m so sorry to break up this cozy little gathering,” she said, her voice trembling. “I’m sure you all need your rest . . . but there are wedding presents stacked in my room that need sorting out and I was under the impression that you had agreed to help.” “Oh yes,” said Hermione, looking terrified as she leapt to her feet, sending books flying in every direction, “we will . . . we’re sorry . . .” With an anguished look at Harry and Ron, Hermione hurried out of the room after Mrs. Weasley. “It’s like being a house-elf,” complained Ron in an undertone, still massaging his head as he and Harry followed. “Except without the job satisfaction. The sooner this wedding’s over, the happier I’ll be.” “Yeah,” said Harry, “then we’ll have nothing to do except find Horcruxes. . . . It’ll be like a holiday, won’t it?” Ron started to laugh, but at the sight of the enormous pile of wedding presents waiting for them in Mrs. Weasley’s room, stopped quite abruptly.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Years later I saw a film - poignantly sad, and for me unbearably so - about a scientist who had invented a kind of total sense recorder, not just video but audio and smellio and touchio and the rest, which he set to play every afternoon in a given place a given time, for as long as the mechanism lasted. The scene he projected was that of a dozen or so young couples dancing on a terrace in the same holiday house, on the same island, where the recorder itself was kept. Then this young man comes across it while it is playing and at first is convinced he is watching a real occurrence: he sees this beautiful girl, in her slinky 1930s outfit, dancing and laughing and chattering with her friends, and he falls in love with her on the spot. Second day, same time around, he comes to the island at a slightly different time so he sees a slightly different excerpt, and still doesn't twig and falls deeper in love. And so on and so forth for various days until he happens on a duplicate bit and realises something is wrong. But by then, of course, he is irretrievably hooked. So what does he do? He digs out the machine, fiddles with its insides until he has grasped its workings, and then sets it up in recording mode and records himself into the scene in a desperate last-ditch attempt to join the dancers. Which works, and there he stays: trapped there amongst them in a virtual dimension, forever young, forever re-enacting the same little loop of life, over and over.
A.P. . (Sabine)
Matthew closed the door and turned toward her. He seemed very large in the small room, his broad frame dwarfing their civilized surroundings. Daisy’s mouth went dry as she stared at him. She wanted to be close to him… she wanted to feel all his skin against hers. “What is there between you and Llandrindon?” he demanded. “Nothing. Only friendship. On my side, that is.” “And on his side?” “I suspect— well, he seemed to indicate that he would not be averse to— you know.” “Yes, I know,” he said thickly. “And even though I can’t stand the bastard, I also can’t blame him for wanting you. Not after the way you’ve teased and tempted him all week.” “If you’re trying to imply that I’ve been acting like some femme fatale—” “Don’t try to deny it. I saw the way you flirted with him. The way you leaned close when you talked… the smiles, the provocative dresses…” “Provocative dresses?” Daisy asked in bemusement. “Like that one.” Daisy looked down at her demure white gown, which covered her entire chest and most of her arms. A nun couldn’t have found fault with it. She glanced at him sardonically. “I’ve been trying for days to make you jealous. You would have saved me a lot of effort if you’d just admitted it straight off.” “You were deliberately trying to make me jealous?” he exploded. “What in God’s name did you think that would accomplish? Or is turning me inside out your latest idea of an entertaining hobby?” A sudden blush covered her face. “I thought you might feel something for me… and I hoped to make you admit it.” Matthew’s mouth opened and closed, but he couldn’t seem to speak. Daisy wondered uneasily what emotion was working on him. After a few moments he shook his head and leaned against the dresser as if he needed physical support. “Are you angry?” she asked apprehensively. His voice sounded odd and ragged. “Ten percent of me is angry.” “What about the other ninety percent?” “That part is just a hairsbreadth away from throwing you on that bed and—” Matthew broke off and swallowed hard. “Daisy, you’re too damned innocent to understand the danger you’re in. It’s taking all the self-control I’ve got to keep my hands off you. Don’t play games with me, sweetheart. It’s too easy for you to torture me, and I’m at my limit. To put to rest any doubts you might have… I’m jealous of every man who comes within ten feet of you. I’m jealous of the clothes on your skin and the air you breathe. I’m jealous of every moment you spend out of my sight.” Stunned, Daisy whispered, “You… you certainly haven’t shown any sign of it.” “Over the years I’ve collected a thousand memories of you, every glimpse, every word you’ve ever said to me. All those visits to your family’s home, those dinners and holidays— I could hardly wait to walk through the front door and see you.” The corners of his mouth quirked with reminiscent amusement. “You, in the middle of that brash, bull-headed lot… I love watching you deal with your family. You’ve always been everything I thought a woman should be. And I have wanted you every second of my life since we first met.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))
As Christians, we celebrate many holidays and memorials throughout the year. Some we decide to celebrate by referencing events in the Bible. Others are related to events in our personal lives. Still more are pushed upon by this World. There's nothing necessarily wrong with celebrating events that bring us joy or keep important parts of our lives in focus. As a Christian, it is important for me to follow Christ's words and teachings. I do not obey man's intepretations of God's word. I read it and follow it. Its that simple. I dont need an interpreter. Christ is my intermediary. Ive been blessed to have been given the gift of language and... in the Bible, when you read it in Aramaic, there is only ONE event, one memorial that Jesus asks us to remember and thus honor our Savior. And its not His birthday. We are upon that annual event this weekend. For Jesus "blessed and he broke and he said, “Take eat; this is my body, which is broken for your persons; thus you shall do for my Memorial." [1 Cor 11:24] Holidays can be fun times for families to get together and to celebrate life. This weekend lets not lose focus. For this is the one and ONLY holiday that our Christ commands us to memorialize. Its in his words. Its in the Bible. It was important enough for Him to spell it out. It should be important enough for us to listen. Above all other events in our lives, isn't Christ Jesus's sacrifice truly the most magnificent one? Lets remember our Savior and not allow the World to mislead us into over prioritizing any other day than when -He gave His life for us. Truly His act was a gift to mankind that remains matchless.
José N. Harris
Maggie felt an unexpected pang. She had thought beforehand chiefly at her own deliverance from her teasing hair and teasing remarks about it, and something also of the triumph she should have over her mother and her aunts by this very decided course of action; she didn't want her hair to look pretty,–that was out of the question,–she only wanted people to think her a clever little girl, and not to find fault with her. But now, when Tom began to laugh at her, and say she was like an idiot, the affair had quite a new aspect. She looked in the glass, and still Tom laughed and clapped his hands, and Maggie's cheeks began to pale, and her lips to tremble a little. "Oh, Maggie, you'll have to go down to dinner directly," said Tom. "Oh, my!" ...But Maggie, as she stood crying before the glass, felt it impossible that she should go down to dinner and endure the severe eyes and severe words of her aunts, while Tom and Lucy, and Martha, who waited at table, and perhaps her father and her uncles, would laugh at her; for if Tom had laughed at her, of course every one else would; and if she had only let her hair alone, she could have sat with Tom and Lucy, and had the apricot pudding and the custard! What could she do but sob? She sat as helpless and despairing among her black locks as Ajax among the slaughtered sheep. Very trivial, perhaps, this anguish seems to weather-worn mortals who have to think of Christmas bills, dead loves, and broken friendships; but it was not less bitter to Maggie–perhaps it was even more bitter–than what we are fond of calling antithetically the real troubles of mature life. "Ah, my child, you will have real troubles to fret about by and by," is the consolation we have almost all of us had administered to us in our childhood, and have repeated to other children since we have been grown up. We have all of us sobbed so piteously, standing with tiny bare legs above our little socks, when we lost sight of our mother or nurse in some strange place; but we can no longer recall the poignancy of that moment and weep over it, as we do over the remembered sufferings of five or ten years ago. Every one of those keen moments has left its trace, and lives in us still, but such traces have blent themselves irrecoverably with the firmer texture of our youth and manhood; and so it comes that we can look on at the troubles of our children with a smiling disbelief in the reality of their pain. Is there any one who can recover the experience of his childhood, not merely with a memory of what he did and what happened to him, of what he liked and disliked when he was in frock and trousers, but with an intimate penetration, a revived consciousness of what he felt then, when it was so long from one Midsummer to another; what he felt when his school fellows shut him out of their game because he would pitch the ball wrong out of mere wilfulness; or on a rainy day in the holidays, when he didn't know how to amuse himself, and fell from idleness into mischief, from mischief into defiance, and from defiance into sulkiness; or when his mother absolutely refused to let him have a tailed coat that "half," although every other boy of his age had gone into tails already? Surely if we could recall that early bitterness, and the dim guesses, the strangely perspectiveless conception of life, that gave the bitterness its intensity, we should not pooh-pooh the griefs of our children.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
A new wife is not a matter. She is my family. Their Graces have had thirty years to spend holidays with us, and this my first—” Westhaven sighed, took a sip of punch, and glanced over at Val. “It doesn’t get easier the longer you’re married. You still fret, more in fact, once the babies start coming.” Val’s head cocked, as if he’d just recalled his brother was also his friend. “Well, as to that…” Val smiled at his punch. Baby Brother sported a devastating smile when he wanted to, but this expression was… St. Just lifted his mug. “Congratulations, then. How’s Ellen faring?” “She’s in fine spirits, in glowing good health, and I’m a wreck. I think she sent me off to Peterborough with something like relief in her eye.” Westhaven was staring morosely at his grog. “Anna isn’t subtle about it anymore. She tells me to get on my horse and not come back until I’ve worked the fidgets out of us both. She’s quite glad to see me when I return, though. Quite glad.” For Westhaven, that was the equivalent of singing a bawdy song in the common. St. Just propped his mug on his stomach. “Emmie says I’m an old campaigner, and I get twitchy if I’m confined to headquarters too long. Winnie says I need to go on scouting patrol. The reunions are nice, though. You’re right about that.” Val took a considering sip of his drink then speared St. Just with a look. “I wouldn’t know about those reunions, but I intend to find out soon. Dev, you are the only one of us experienced at managing a marching army, and I’m not in any fit condition to be making decisions, or I’d be on my way back to Oxfordshire right now.” “Wouldn’t advise that,” Westhaven said, still looking glum. “Your wife will welcome you sweetly into her home and her bed, but you’ll know you didn’t quite follow orders—our wives are in sympathy with Her Grace—and they have their ways of expressing their…” Both brothers chimed in, “Disappointment.” A
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
We came to the city because we wished to live haphazardly, to reach for only the least realistic of our desires, and to see if we could not learn what our failures had to teach, and not, when we came to live, discover that we had never died. We wanted to dig deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to be overworked and reduced to our last wit. And if our bosses proved mean, why then we’d evoke their whole and genuine meanness afterward over vodka cranberries and small batch bourbons. And if our drinking companions proved to be sublime then we would stagger home at dawn over the Old City cobblestones, into hot showers and clean shirts, and press onward until dusk fell again. For the rest of the world, it seemed to us, had somewhat hastily concluded that it was the chief end of man to thank God it was Friday and pray that Netflix would never forsake them. Still we lived frantically, like hummingbirds; though our HR departments told us that our commitments were valuable and our feedback was appreciated, our raises would be held back another year. Like gnats we pestered Management— who didn’t know how to use the Internet, whose only use for us was to set up Facebook accounts so they could spy on their children, or to sync their iPhones to their Outlooks, or to explain what tweets were and more importantly, why— which even we didn’t know. Retire! we wanted to shout. We ha Get out of the way with your big thumbs and your senior moments and your nostalgia for 1976! We hated them; we wanted them to love us. We wanted to be them; we wanted to never, ever become them. Complexity, complexity, complexity! We said let our affairs be endless and convoluted; let our bank accounts be overdrawn and our benefits be reduced. Take our Social Security contributions and let it go bankrupt. We’d been bankrupt since we’d left home: we’d secure our own society. Retirement was an afterlife we didn’t believe in and that we expected yesterday. Instead of three meals a day, we’d drink coffee for breakfast and scavenge from empty conference rooms for lunch. We had plans for dinner. We’d go out and buy gummy pad thai and throat-scorching chicken vindaloo and bento boxes in chintzy, dark restaurants that were always about to go out of business. Those who were a little flush would cover those who were a little short, and we would promise them coffees in repayment. We still owed someone for a movie ticket last summer; they hadn’t forgotten. Complexity, complexity. In holiday seasons we gave each other spider plants in badly decoupaged pots and scarves we’d just learned how to knit and cuff links purchased with employee discounts. We followed the instructions on food and wine Web sites, but our soufflés sank and our baked bries burned and our basil ice creams froze solid. We called our mothers to get recipes for old favorites, but they never came out the same. We missed our families; we were sad to be rid of them. Why shouldn’t we live with such hurry and waste of life? We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to be starved before we were hungry. We were determined to decrypt our neighbors’ Wi-Fi passwords and to never turn on the air-conditioning. We vowed to fall in love: headboard-clutching, desperate-texting, hearts-in-esophagi love. On the subways and at the park and on our fire escapes and in the break rooms, we turned pages, resolved to get to the ends of whatever we were reading. A couple of minutes were the day’s most valuable commodity. If only we could make more time, more money, more patience; have better sex, better coffee, boots that didn’t leak, umbrellas that didn’t involute at the slightest gust of wind. We were determined to make stupid bets. We were determined to be promoted or else to set the building on fire on our way out. We were determined to be out of our minds.
Kristopher Jansma (Why We Came to the City)
Eventually, two Swedish climbers and a Sherpa called Babu Chiri found Mick. By chance--by God’s grace--Babu was carrying a spare canister of oxygen. Neil and Pasang had also now descended, and met up with Mick and the others. Neil then located an emergency cache of oxygen half-buried in the snow nearby. He gave one to Alan and forced both him and Mick to their feet. Slow and tired, his mind wandering in and out of consciousness, Mick remembers little about the next few hours. It was just a haze of delirium, fatigue, and cold. Descending blue sheet ice can be lethal. Much more so than ascending it. Mick staggered on down, the debilitating effects of thin air threatening to overwhelm him. Somewhere beneath the Balcony Mick suddenly felt the ground surge beneath him. There was a rush of acceleration as the loose topping of snow--covering the blue ice--slid away under him. He began to hurtle down the sheer face on his back, and then made the all-too-easy error of trying to dig in his crampons to slow the fall. The force catapulted him into a somersault, hurtling him ever faster down the steep ice and snow face. He resigned himself to the fact that he would die. He bounced and twisted, over and over, and then slid to a halt on a small ledge. Then he heard voices. They were muffled and strange. Mick tried to shout to them but nothing came out. The climbers who were now at the col then surrounded him, clipped him in, and held him. He was shaking uncontrollably. When Mick and Neil reached us at camp two, forty-eight hours later, they were utterly shattered. Different men. Mick just sat and held his head in his hands. That said it all. That evening, as we prepared to sleep, he prodded me. I sat up and saw a smile spread across his face. “Bear, next time, let me choose where we go on holiday--all right?” I began to laugh and cry at the same time. I needed to. So much had been kept inside. The next morning, Mick, Neil, and Geoffrey left for base camp. Their attempt was over. Mick just wanted to be off this forsaken mountain--to be safe. I watched them head out into the glacier and hoped I had made the right decision to stay up at camp two without them all.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
pine nuts and toss gently again. Green Bean, Tuna, and Mushroom “Casserole” One of my favorite things from my Midwestern upbringing is the green bean and mushroom casserole at Thanksgiving—probably the same one that was on your holiday table, thanks to the canned-mushroom-soup marketing campaign. This is my grown-up version of that casserole, which has all the comfort appeal of the childhood dish, but way better flavor and nutritional value. Make it with a one-to-one ratio of mushrooms to green beans, and have some fun with the beans, if you like—you can grill them, slice them thin and use raw, use pickled green beans, or use a mix of all of the above. » Serves 4 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 1 pound wild mushrooms, wiped off and cut into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups) One 5-ounce can oil-packed tuna, drained 1 pound green beans, trimmed 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice ⅓ cup Dried Breadcrumbs Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt until it tastes like the sea. Meanwhile, add ¼ cup olive oil to a skillet that’s large enough to hold all the mushrooms and beans and still have some room to stir the ingredients. Add the garlic and cook slowly over medium heat to toast the garlic so it’s very soft, fragrant, and nicely golden brown—but not burnt—about 5 minutes. Scoop out the garlic and set it aside so it doesn’t burn. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Season generously with pepper and salt and sauté, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms are nicely browned around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tuna and toss to incorporate. Keep this warm until the green beans are ready. Add the beans to the boiling water and boil until they are just a bit beyond crisp-tender, 4 to 7 minutes. Drain them thoroughly in a colander and then add them to the mushrooms and tuna. Add the cream, toss all the ingredients to coat, and simmer until the cream has reduced to a nice cloaking consistency and all the flavors are nicely blended, 6 to 9 minutes. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and toss. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice. When the flavors are delicious, pile into a serving bowl and top with the breadcrumbs.
Joshua McFadden (Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables)
The speaker standing on an upturned barrel at the intersection of 135th Street and Seventh Avenue was shouting monotonously: “BLACK POWER! BLACK POWER! Is you is? Or is you ain’t? We gonna march this night! March! March! March! Oh, when the saints — yeah, baby! We gonna march this night!” Spit flew from his looselipped mouth. His flabby jowls flopped up and down. His rough brown skin was greasy with sweat. His dull red eyes looked tired. “Mistah Charley been scared of BLACK POWER since the day one. That’s why Noah shuffled us off to Africa the time of the flood. And all this time we been laughing to keep from whaling.” He mopped his sweating face with a red bandanna handkerchief. He belched and swallowed. His eyes looked vacant. His mouth hung open as though searching for words. “Can’t keep this up,” he said under his breath. No one heard him. No one noticed his behavior. No one cared. He swallowed loudly and screamed. “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT! We launch our whale boats. Iss the night of the great white whale. You dig me, baby?” He was a big man and flabby all over like his jowls. Night had fallen but the black night air was as hot as the bright day air, only there was less of it. His white short-sleeved shirt was sopping wet. A ring of sweat had formed about the waist of his black alpaca pants as though the top of his potbelly had begun to melt. “You want a good house? You got to whale! You want a good car? You got to whale! You want a good job? You got to whale! You dig me?” His conked hair was dripping sweat. For a big flabby middle-aged man who would have looked more at home in a stud poker game, he was unbelievably hysterical. He waved his arms like an erratic windmill. He cut a dance step. He shuffled like a prizefighter. He shadowed with clenched fists. He shouted. Spit flew. “Whale! Whale! WHALE, WHITEY! WE GOT THE POWER! WE IS BLACK! WE IS PURE!” A crowd of Harlem citizens dressed in holiday garb had assembled to listen. They crowded across the sidewalks, into the street, blocking traffic. They were clad in the chaotic colors of a South American jungle. They could have been flowers growing on the banks of the Amazon, wild orchids of all colors. Except for their voices. “What’s he talking ’bout?” a high-yellow chick with bright red hair wearing a bright green dress that came down just below her buttocks asked the tall slim black man with smooth carved features and etched hair. “Hush yo’ mouth an’ lissen,” he replied harshly, giving her a furious look from the corners of muddy, almond-shaped eyes. “He tellin’ us what black power mean!
Chester Himes (Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8))
But even in Gavle I went on digging into the case." "I don't suppose that Henrik would ever let up." "That's true, but that's not the reason. The puzzle about Harriet still fascinates me to this day. I mean... it's like this: every police officer has his own unsolved mystery. I remember from my days in Hedestad how older colleagues would talk in the canteen about the case of Rebecka. There was one officer in particular, a man named Torstensson - he's been dead for years - who year after year kept returning to that case. In his free time and when he was on holiday. Whenever there was a period of calm among the local hooligans he would take out those folders and study them." "Was that also a case about a missing girl?" Morell looked surprised. Then he smiled when he realised that Blomkvist was looking for some sort of connection. "No, that's not why I mentioned it. I'm talking about the soul of a policeman. The Rebecka case was something that happened before Harriet Vanger was even born, and the statute of limitations has long since run out. Sometime in the forties a woman was assaulted in Hedestad, raped, and murdered. That's not altogether uncommon. Every officer, at some point in his career, has to investigate that kind of crime, but what I'm talking about are those cases that stay with you and get under your skin during the investigation. This girl was killed in the most brutal way. The killer tied her up and stuck her head into the smouldering embers of a fireplace. One can only guess how long it took for the poor girl to die, or what torment she must have endured." "Christ Almighty." "Exactly. It was so sadistic. Poor Torstensson was the first detective on the scene after she was found. And the murder remained unsolved, even though experts were called in from Stockholm. He could never let go of that case." "I can understand that." "My Rebecka case was Harriet. In this instance we don't even know how she died. We can't even prove that a murder was committed. But I have never been able to let it go." He paused to think for a moment. "Being a homicide detective can be the loneliest job in the world. The friends of the victim are upset and in despair, but sooner or later - after weeks or months - they go back to their everyday lives. For the closest family it takes longer, but for the most part, to some degree, they too get over their grieving and despair. Life has to go on; it does go on. But the unsolved murders keep gnawing away and in the end there's only one person left who thinks night and day about the victim: it's the officer who's left with the investigation.
Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1))
SOCIAL/GENERAL ICEBREAKERS 1. What do you think of the movie/restaurant/party? 2. Tell me about the best vacation you’ve ever taken. 3. What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? 4. If you could replay any moment in your life, what would it be? 5. What one thing would you really like to own? Why? 6. Tell me about one of your favorite relatives. 7. What was it like in the town where you grew up? 8. What would you like to come back as in your next life? 9. Tell me about your kids. 10. What do you think is the perfect age? Why? 11. What is a typical day like for you? 12. Of all the places you’ve lived, tell me about the one you like the best. 13. What’s your favorite holiday? What do you enjoy about it? 14. What are some of your family traditions that you particularly enjoy? 15. Tell me about the first car you ever bought. 16. How has the Internet affected your life? 17. Who were your idols as a kid? Have they changed? 18. Describe a memorable teacher you had. 19. Tell me about a movie/book you’ve seen or read more than once. 20. What’s your favorite restaurant? Why? 21. Tell me why you were named ______. What is the origin of your last name? 22. Tell me about a place you’ve visited that you hope never to return to. get over your mom’s good intentions. 23. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever received? 24. What’s the neatest surprise you’ve ever planned and pulled off for someone else? 25. Skiing here is always challenging. What are some of your favorite places to ski? 26. Who would star as you in a movie about your life? Why that person? 27. Who is the most famous person you’ve met? 28. Tell me about some of your New Year’s resolutions. 29. What’s the most antiestablishment thing you’ve ever done? 30. Describe a costume that you wore to a party. 31. Tell me about a political position you’d like to hold. 32. What song reminds you of an incident in your life? 33. What’s the most memorable meal you’ve eaten? 34. What’s the most unforgettable coincidence you’ve experienced or heard about? 35. How are you able to tell if that melon is ripe? 36. What motion picture star would you like to interview? Why? 37. Tell me about your family. 38. What aroma brings forth a special memory? 39. Describe the scariest person you ever met. 40. What’s your favorite thing to do alone? 41. Tell me about a childhood friend who used to get you in trouble. 42. Tell me about a time when you had too much to eat or drink. 43. Describe your first away-from-home living quarters or experience. 44. Tell me about a time that you lost a job. 45. Share a memory of one of your grandparents. 46. Describe an embarrassing moment you’ve had. 47. Tell me something most people would never guess about you. 48. What would you do if you won a million dollars? 49. Describe your ideal weather and why. 50. How did you learn to ski/hang drywall/play piano?
Debra Fine (The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills and Leave a Positive Impression!)
The name is somewhat familiar, but I can’t recall a face to go with it.” Obviously disappointed in her reaction, her uncle said irritably, “You apparently have a poor memory. If you can’t recall a knight or an earl,” he added sarcastically, “I doubt you’ll remember a mere mister.” Stung by his unprovoked remark, she said stiffly, “Who is the third?” “Mr. Ian Thornton. He’s-“ That name sent Elizabeth jolting to her feet while a blaze of animosity and a sock of terror erupted through her entire body. “Ian Thornton!” she cried, leaning her palms on the desk to steady herself. “Ian Thornton!” she repeated, her voice rising with a mixture of anger and hysterical laughter. “Uncle, if Ian Thornton discussed marrying me, it was at the point of Robert’s gun! His interest in me was never marriage, and Robert dueled with him over his behavior. In fact, Robert shot him!” Instead of relenting or being upset, her uncle merely regarded her with blank indifference, and Elizabeth said fiercely, “Don’t you understand?” “What I understand,” he said, glowering, “is that he replied to my message in the affirmative and was very cordial. Perhaps he regrets his earlier behavior and wishes to make amends.” “Amends!” she cried. “I’ve no idea whether he feels loathing for me or merely contempt, but I can assure you he does not and has never wished to wed me! He’s the reason I can’t show my face in society!” “In my opinion, you’re better off away from that decadent London influence; however, that’s not to the point. He has accepted my terms.” “What terms?” Inured to Elizabeth’s quaking alarm, Julius stated matter-of-factly, “Each of the three candidates has agreed that you will come to visit him briefly in order to allow you to decide if you suit. Lucinda will accompany you as chaperon. You’re to leave in five days. Belhaven is first, then Marchman, then Thornton.” The room swam before Elizabeth’s eyes. “I can’t believe this!” she burst out, and in her misery she seized on the least of her problems. “Lucinda has taken her first holiday in years! She’s in Devon visiting her sister.” “Then take Berta instead and have Lucinda join you later when you go to visit Thornton in Scotland.” “Berta! Berta is a maid. My reputation will be in shreds if I spend a week in the home of a man with no one but a maid for a chaperon.” “Then don’t say she’s a maid,” he snapped. “Since I already referred to Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones as your chaperon in my letters, you can say that Berta is your aunt No more objections, miss,” he finished, “the matter is settled. That will be all for now. You may go.” “It’s not settled! There’s been some sort of horrible mistake, I tell you. Ian Thornton would never want to see me, any more than I wish to see him!” “There’s no mistake,” Julius said with completely finality. “Ian Thornton received my letter and accepted our offer. He even sent directions to his place in Scotland.” “Your offer,” Elizabeth cried, “not mine!” “I’ll not debate technicalities any further with you, Elizabeth. This discussion is at an end.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I took a shower after dinner and changed into comfortable Christmas Eve pajamas, ready to settle in for a couple of movies on the couch. I remembered all the Christmas Eves throughout my life--the dinners and wrapping presents and midnight mass at my Episcopal church. It all seemed so very long ago. Walking into the living room, I noticed a stack of beautifully wrapped rectangular boxes next to the tiny evergreen tree, which glowed with little white lights. Boxes that hadn’t been there minutes before. “What…,” I said. We’d promised we wouldn’t get each other any gifts that year. “What?” I demanded. Marlboro Man smiled, taking pleasure in the surprise. “You’re in trouble,” I said, glaring at him as I sat down on the beige Berber carpet next to the tree. “I didn’t get you anything…you told me not to.” “I know,” he said, sitting down next to me. “But I don’t really want anything…except a backhoe.” I cracked up. I didn’t even know what a backhoe was. I ran my hand over the box on the top of the stack. It was wrapped in brown paper and twine--so unadorned, so simple, I imagined that Marlboro Man could have wrapped it himself. Untying the twine, I opened the first package. Inside was a pair of boot-cut jeans. The wide navy elastic waistband was a dead giveaway: they were made especially for pregnancy. “Oh my,” I said, removing the jeans from the box and laying them out on the floor in front of me. “I love them.” “I didn’t want you to have to rig your jeans for the next few months,” Marlboro Man said. I opened the second box, and then the third. By the seventh box, I was the proud owner of a complete maternity wardrobe, which Marlboro Man and his mother had secretly assembled together over the previous couple of weeks. There were maternity jeans and leggings, maternity T-shirts and darling jackets. Maternity pajamas. Maternity sweats. I caressed each garment, smiling as I imagined the time it must have taken for them to put the whole collection together. “Thank you…,” I began. My nose stung as tears formed in my eyes. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect gift. Marlboro Man reached for my hand and pulled me over toward him. Our arms enveloped each other as they had on his porch the first time he’d professed his love for me. In the grand scheme of things, so little time had passed since that first night under the stars. But so much had changed. My parents. My belly. My wardrobe. Nothing about my life on this Christmas Eve resembled my life on that night, when I was still blissfully unaware of the brewing thunderstorm in my childhood home and was packing for Chicago…nothing except Marlboro Man, who was the only thing, amidst all the conflict and upheaval, that made any sense to me anymore. “Are you crying?” he asked. “No,” I said, my lip quivering. “Yep, you’re crying,” he said, laughing. It was something he’d gotten used to. “I’m not crying,” I said, snorting and wiping snot from my nose. “I’m not.” We didn’t watch movies that night. Instead, he picked me up and carried me to our cozy bedroom, where my tears--a mixture of happiness, melancholy, and holiday nostalgia--would disappear completely.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
It interests me that there is no end of fictions, and facts made over in the forms of fictions. Because we class them under so many different rubrics, and media, and means of delivery, we don't recognize the sheer proliferation and seamlessness of them. I think at some level of scale or perspective, the police drama in which a criminal is shot, the hospital in which the doctors massage a heart back to life, the news video in which jihadists behead a hostage, and the human-interest story of a child who gets his fondest wish (a tourist trip somewhere) become the same sorts of drama. They are representations of strong experience, which, as they multiply, began to dedifferentiate in our uptake of them, despite our names and categories and distinctions... I say I watch the news to "know". But I don't really know anything. Certainly I can't do anything. I know that there is a war in Iraq, but I knew that already. I know that there are fires and car accidents in my state and in my country, but that, too, I knew already. With each particular piece of footage, I know nothing more than I did before. I feel something, or I don't feel something. One way I am likely to feel is virtuous and "responsible" for knowing more of these things that I can do nothing about. Surely this feeling is wrong, even contemptible. I am not sure anymore what I feel. What is it like to watch a human being's beheading? The first showing of the video is bad. The second, fifth, tenth, hundredth are—like one's own experiences—retained, recountable, real, and yet dreamlike. Some describe the repetition as "numbing". "Numbing" is very imprecise. I think the feeling, finally, is of something like envelopment and even satisfaction at having endured the worst without quite caring or being tormented. It is the paradoxically calm satisfaction of having been enveloped in a weak or placid "real" that another person endured as the worst experience imaginable, in his personal frenzy, fear, and desperation, which we view from the outside as the simple occurrence of a death... I see: Severed heads. The Extra Value Meal. Kohl-gray eyelids. A holiday sale at Kohl's. Red seeping between the fingers of the gloved hand that presses the wound. "Doctor, can you save him?" "We'll do our best." The dining room of the newly renovated house, done in red. Often a bold color is best. The kids are grateful for their playroom. The bad guy falls down, shot. The detectives get shot. The new Lexus is now available for lease. On CNN, with a downed helicopter in the background, a peaceful field of reeds waves in the foreground. One after another the reeds are bent, broken, by boot treads advancing with the camera. The cameraman, as savior, locates the surviving American airman. He shoots him dead. It was a terrorist video. They run it again. Scenes from ads: sales, roads, ordinary calm shopping, daily life. Tarpaulined bodies in the street. The blue of the sky advertises the new car's color. Whatever you could suffer will have been recorded in the suffering of someone else. Red Lobster holds a shrimp festival. Clorox gets out blood. Advil stops pain fast. Some of us are going to need something stronger.
Mark Greif (Against Everything: Essays)