Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Big Read, an initiative by the National Endowment for the Arts, has estimated that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they’ve printed. How do you do?
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling [not a single book!]
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible [I don't think bits and pieces in Sunday school count, do they?]
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens [I couldn't finish it, too wordy]
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens [to my brother's chagrin I have not yet read this]
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis [loved this as a kid but need to re-read to have an opinion now]
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis [again, read when I was really young]
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery [again, read so long ago I barely remember it]
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan [recently tried to read one of his other books and couldn't get into it and hated the movie so I doubt I will ever attempt the book]
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett [another childhood book I barely remember reading]
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola [in French, thank you very much!]
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery [partially read this in French]
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
I have read 44 out of 100, very close to half! I should probably italicize everything I have not read but there is far too much Charles Dickens on the list for that. There are also quite a few books I have never heard of or which are written by authors I do not like (Dickens!). But I think this is a great reading guide.
Most recently, I have finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth, which I devoured. I loved every last word and was sad to shut the book at the end. It is a collection of short stories that are so beautifully written and very relatable no matter your cultural/religious/ethnic/social background. I think we can all relate, in some way, to being pulled in different directions by the family who raised us and societal norms around us.
Next up on my reading list, or at least what I just purchased on Amazon this week primarily influenced by my upcoming vacation:
Sunday, July 27, 2008
so named because the blooms face the skyI love gazing at stars so I guess we have that in commonI love the vibrant color and delicate stamensI also love the intoxicating aromaand watching the buds unfold from a delicate and demure shape,as the flower gracefully reveals itselfalmost shylyto stretch out long, seductively curved petals. . . it is quite provocativeI love having them in my home, especially when they are a gift
Friday, July 25, 2008
Those of you who still manage to check in with my blog once in a while may have noticed I haven't had much to say lately. At first I was just too busy. I had to prioritize and blogging just fell to the bottom of the heap. After I fell out of the habit it became harder to fall back into the habit. I was no longer outlining posts in my head as I walked home from work and I lost the craving to write which sucked me into blogging in the first place.
While I was in the early stages of this space, my most inspirational blogging buddy wrote this. Her post captured a lot of what was holding me back and I decided her self-imposed guidelines are just what I needed to get myself healthy. Especially the one about not writing for comments. At some point in the last six months, as I embarked on the journey to write mydivorce story I became hyper-aware of my audience. I began monitoring my statistics and craved comments like they were sunshine. Early on the story just poured out of me onto the page with very little effort. But now, nothing. I came to the realization that I was no longer writing the story for myself and my inspiration withered up. I realized I was nearing some of the most difficult events I have endured in my life and could not bring myself to put any of them into words. I think the words will come again but I need to allow myself to enter another "composting" phase because my writing doesn't work when forced.
But that isn't all.
I am realizing that my lack of blogging is a reflection of my state of being right now. Lately I feel like I have lost something but I can't quite put my finger on what it is I have lost. I have been tired and moody and struggled with bouts of insomnia. I find it difficult to motivate myself to do more than go to work, read a book or watch tv. I have been neglecting simple tasks at home and at work in favor of leaving my mind on neutral to lazily float through the day. I struggle to connect with people and avoid social situations. Each week I count the days I have left before the weekend and then I spend my weekends curled up inside myself as summer drifts by.
I keep telling myself this is burn out, that I just need a vacation (2 seemingly long weeks away!) to perk myself back up but this morning I realized it might be something more. I turned my alarm off at 7:30 after snoozing for an hour and skipping my pilates class. I wasn't necessarily tired but in the fog of the morning I could not convince myself of a reason to get out of bed so I rolled over, shut my eyes and slept until 9 am when I finally realized I was being ridiculous and got up and out the door in a record 30 minutes.
I've pieced at this and that at work but mostly felt numb and wondered what is wrong with me. I don't feel depressed. I shouldn't be tired (although I always am lately). I'm burned out but I shouldn't have any trouble pushing through two fairly light weeks of work to reach my vacation. . .
Then, after reading a number of blogs to kill the time, my answer started formulating: I am treading water.
Forgive the mixed metaphors but I have hit a plateau in life and instead of re-grouping and pushing myself higher, I have allowed myself to just stand still (or tread water, if you will).
I am convinced this is not just a feeling-sorry-for-myself-because-I-am-single thing. It is more than that. Of course, I would be lying to you if I said being single wasn't a contributing factor but it is different.
I will confess that I have not read the Ensign [a church magazine I get once a month] in months. Sometimes I leaf through it but I just haven't felt inclined to read it in a while. Yesterday a new issue arrived and I glanced at the cover as I rode the elevator to my apartment. I was on the phone with my brother and I commented to him on how this issue was targeted at young single adults (of which, due to my 33 long years, I am not considered one). In recent years "singles" have become the new special interest group in my church - kind of like widows and single moms. I do not question the intent behind the talks and articles aimed at encouraging single members of my church to "be of good cheer" or to have hope or to volunteer. But I do take issue with the tone that is so often layered into these well-meaning articles - preachy. There is always a "success" story about a couple who got married "later in life" at the ripe old age of 28 and how that was a huge struggle for them. The articles offer good advice about pursuing an education and a career at the same time knocking those who "delay marriage" for these same worthy pursuits. They encourage service but forget that while giving helps fill voids, at some point we all need to receive a bit as well.
What these articles fail to mention when they instruct single church members to stay strong in the church is how uninviting church becomes to single people of a certain age. All my life the church has taught me that families can be together forever and that the absolute most important thing I must do in this life is to get married in the temple. As a teenager, while the boys were lectured about serving missions I was told to get married, get married, get married and then have babies. The success of my parents is measured by how many of their children served missions (1 out of 4) and how many of their children are sealed in the temple (technically 3 out of 4 but with one divorce let's hope only 2 of the 4 actually count) and how many grandchildren they have (1).
There is a subtle pressure that comes from this upbringing that whispers in my ear that I have failed by remaining single past 30. This subtle cultural layer can scream out at me when I am feeling sensitive as I sit alone at church amidst the couples and the babies and I wonder if I look the part of the old maid in dated clothes, more weight than necessary and an over-grown hair style or if I fall into the category of trying to hard to cling to my long-gone 20s by dressing a bit too young for my age and hanging around a crowd that I should have out-grown.
Then there is the not-so-subtle pressure as I listen to speakers in sacrament meeting talk each subject swinging back to marriage and family. The Sunday school and Relief Society lessons are the same as well - family, family, family.
No one reaches out, no one attempts to bridge the gap or tries to focus on what truly binds us together. Instead, my marital status feels like a scarlet letter emblazoned on my chest - SINGLE. Different, not like the others.
No matter how content I might be with my life, with my career, with my friends, this wears me down.
It also gets me thinking about what is missing. One of the pieces of advice offered in the article is for singles to surround themselves with good friends and to specifically have one close friend with whom you can have daily communication. But there is no advice for those of us who continue to make and lose that person. I have a long and wonderful list of beautiful, amazing, talented and funny women (and a few men as well) upon whom I have bestowed the title "best friend". But here is the thing, the older you get the more that list shifts because inevitably those amazing people are going to pair off and get married and have children. And as the years pass, between my moves and their moves the chances of me managing to be in the same city, state or even time zone as one of these great people grows smaller and smaller. And how do you replace a best friend who has laughed and cried with you and seen you at your best and worst? You don't. Which is why I am blessed to have this best friend position overflowing with names and yet vacant all at once. We are geographically challenged, my friends and me. And while I would love to find another one of these amazing people right here in my own city who isn't pulled in directions away from me by boyfriends, husbands and jobs . . . it is hard to imagine getting to that same comfort level any time soon.
This post has veered in a variety of directions away from where I started and while I feel a distinct impulse to just hit save and walk away, I also feel compelled to publish this and feel unburdened by this jumbled mess of thoughts that have been bogging me down for months.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
If you have a minute, here are some things I have been enjoying recently that I suggest you check out:
- Beck's new album Modern Guilt. I'm loving it. And listening to it right now for the third time since I downloaded it on the 11th. Which may not sound like much until you realize I haven't been alone in my house to listen to it since the 12th and I am just now syncing my ipod.
- blueberry smoothies a la Pioneer Woman. I can't get enough of them. Now I should probably invest in a blender (and find a place in my kitchen for it) because they are probably much easier to make in a blender than in my cuisinart! (PS let's just pretend my photo is as good as over there at PW Cooks):
- the ski jump game on Wii Fit. No lie, my quads were sore for two days after playing this on Saturday!
- Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. What an intense and compelling book! I have always had a fascination with Russian history (in college it was more Imperial Russia and this is full on Communist Russia but still). I highly, highly recommend this one.
- hosting a couple of Aussie girls for a few days. My first summer during law school I did an internship in Sydney, Australia (9 years ago!) and I hit it off so well with my mentor that I have kept in touch with him all this time and I have even managed to catch up with him once in a while when he is in the states. Well, his two step daughters are on a round the world adventure (I'm so jealous!) and spent a few days crashing on my couch. They are 18 and 23 (which is how old I was when I was in Sydney I think . . .). Anyway, they were such fun and I loved their perspective on everything. Plus, they left me some delicious Tim Tam cookies from Australia and passed me peanut butter m&ms in church when my stomach was growling, so what's not to love? Too bad I was lame and never snapped a pic of these cute girls.
- Dancing video. Have you seen it? I saw it a couple of weeks ago and LOVED it but failed to share. Shame on me, right? Today I ran across this article about the video and the guy and the story behind it all in the NY Times.
- chocolate chip cookies. Not that I have had any lately. I have just had a terrible craving ever since I read this article and every other baker blogger in the blogosphere has thrown their two cents (along with their experiments) in on the thing. Me? I haven't had the time. Or the people to give the cookies away to because let's be honest. I should not be eating a full batch of cookies. But one of these days I might have to run my own test. But not with their recipe. I already have a time-honored crowd pleasing recipe that has been refined through the generations (of my mom and me).
- Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is a collection of her short stories a friend gave me for my birthday and I have a hard time putting it down once I start a story so it is good they are short. But that is also my complaint, they are these beautiful little slivers of life that make me want to stay with the characters.
- Lobster at a beach club on Long Island. I should be more excited about this than I was. Big work event that was loads of fun last year and somehow fell completely flat this year. The food was fine. There was definitely lots of it. The problem was I was mostly looking forward to the dancing and everyone was lame and the dancing never got going.
- So You Think You Can Dance. Seriously, how have I missed this show before? Oh, right, that was before I had a DVR! And don't ask me who my favorite is because I love Will (who doesn't), Katee, Joshua and of course the Utah girl Chelsea. But I'm also a fan of Marc and Twitch and I must admit Courtney has grown on me . . . ugh. I think they are all pretty amazing. Except Kherrington and I wasn't a fan of Jessica either.
- the view from the Rainbow Room:Can you see the lights in the middle of the Park? That's the Bon Jovi concert. Pretty cool, no?
- Dance all night at the amazing art deco banquet room at a wedding in the Rainbow Room with the R-O-T-A-T-I-N-G-D-A-N-C-E-F-L-O-O-R! Which sadly only moved imperceptibly but was cool nonetheless. But if you get this amazing opportunity I'm guessing you will be better than me and take more than one photo of the whole thing and you would probably do it before 1 am when you are red-faced and sweaty. Oh, right. You probably don't get all red-faced and sweaty at a black tie affair . . .
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Alright friends, time to answer the urgent question of the day:Before I answer, let me take you on a brief journey through the last few months of me trying to plan a vacation. I am convinced that at least one of three things conspires against you when trying to plan a vacation: 1) money, 2) time and/or 3) travel companions. I am convinced that when money is not the biggest hurdle numbers two and three will conspire against you.
Theoretically I have four weeks of vacation a year. I have never taken four weeks of vacation in a year. I generally take a week at Christmas, a week to a week and a half in the summer and a few random long weekends that might total three weeks, but never four. So this year I decided I was taking two whole weeks. And so did my sister.
Our destination? Originally it was Kenya. Then there was civil unrest and we got worried about that so we turned to South Africa as a backup plan. I started dreaming about safaris and balloon rides over the Serengheti plains and building a school house in a small village. . . I ordered guidebooks on both South Africa and Kenya and investigated flights and tours and debated the pros and cons of each. In March I contacted the humanitarian organization my sister and I traveled to Guatemala with a couple of years ago. After asking many questions and reading many articles online, I decided Kenya was safe and was ready to sign up and turn in my frequent flyer miles for two roundtrip tickets. But my sister wasn't ready. So I waited. And waited. And waited. Until Memorial weekend when I forced her into making a decision and her decision was not to go.
There goes my travel companion. My sister and I have been to Europe, driven across the country, taken a cheap and crappy little cruise to Baja Mexico, built a water system in Guatemala, navigated our way around the whole of Iceland and I was really looking forward to another exotic adventure with her. I knew there would be a time when our annual adventures together would end but I was hoping we could fulfill this last dream of Africa before one of us called it quits.
I mourned for a while this loss of a trip. Then I considered taking it on my own. Then I freaked out about traveling for 36 hours on my own. Not because I was worried about the solo traveling but because I can barely stand the idea of spending that much time in airports and on airplanes with a travel buddy so the mere thought of doing it alone nearly sends me over the edge.
So I sulked.
And grew apathetic and bitter towards work.
Then a glimmer of hope formed. I called up a friend and told her I would travel anywhere and do anything at any time in August if she could get away. And she agreed!
She was heading to Hong Kong and Vietnam and invited me along. I investigated flights and found a surprisingly affordable non-stop flight to Hong Kong and was itching to book it. I bought books on Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and started investigating.
Then, sadly, this option fell through as well. I couldn't leave before July 31st and she needed to tack on the Utah holiday of 24th of July to be gone as long as we wanted. Our timing was off.
Once again I wallowed and sulked. I have had some amazing trips on my own to exotic locations such as Sydney and Tokyo and I have even enjoyed splitting vacations, spending part of the time with friends and part of the time on my own like I did in Costa Rica several years ago. And I enjoyed those adventures just as much as any I have shared. But these last few years as I have traveled with my sister I have taken her companionship for granted. The wonderful thing about traveling with a sibling is we will always have those memories together. Our photos will always have our familiar faces smiling back at us. We will always have the crazy tales of things gone wrong to laugh about. We can reminisce about that perfect Indonesian meal in Amsterdam or the horrifying 6 hour ride on the chicken bus in Guatemala or the nearly sleepless night in a tent on a fjord in Iceland or the time a bird pooped on my head in Pisa, Italy when we were trying to find the overrated leaning tower or sea kayaking around Catalina Island. Shared memories are somehow sweeter.
That being said, I still needed a Plan B, or C by this point and while shared memories may be preferable, I desperately need a vacation and so it was time to just strike out on my own again.
Over the last several months a glimmer of a plan was percolating in the back of my mind. At times I grasped onto it and fell in love with it and at other times I just wanted something . . . more. But even when I was convinced I was going to Asia, this solo adventure called to me and I was a little disappointed it might have to wait. But on Monday, I jumped on board and have completely fallen far my new plan that is now fully booked.
One month from today I jump on a plane to Idaho Falls, Idaho where I will spend one night with my 88-year old grandma. I will then spend the next six days on a river trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. According to my dad (who grew up in Idaho) and the all-knowing internet, the Middle Fork of the Salmon runs through some of the most pristine wilderness land in the continguous 48-states. From all written, verbal and photographic accounts I have encountered, it is stunning. I cannot tell you how excited I am.
I have been river rafting in Australia and Costa Rica but never for more than a day so I'm both excited about this trip and a bit daunted as to how to prepare. The outfit I am going with gives a fairly detailed packing list but I would love ideas, tips, suggestions or general encouragement from anyone who has ever done a multi-day river trip.
After the river trip, my parents will pick me up and we will spend a yet to be determined number of days reaquainting ourselves with Island Park and Yellowstone - destinations I knew well as a kid. We used to camp in Island Park for a week or two at a time and take day trips to Yellowstone, canoe in Henry's Fork at Mac's Inn or just explore on our bikes. My family also spent a significant amount of time camping in Yellowstone Park and I haven't been back in about 10 years.
I will finish up my trip with a few days in Salt Lake before flying home on the 23rd. Yes, I will be gone two whole glorious weeks that will be full of nature, sunshine, wilderness, no makeup and rigorous activity. There is also the possibility that my uncle will join my dad and I for a couple of days of fly fishing in Idaho.
While both Africa and Asia have a great appeal, I could not be happier with how things are working out and I am counting down the days to my trip. I will also be spending my Saturday mornings practice my paddling skills at the free kayaking in the Hudson River and doing plenty of push-ups so I don't embarass myself with an oar.
As I said before, any and all suggestions on what to pack or how to prepare for a 6-day river trip are more than welcome since this is new territory for me.
Monday, July 07, 2008
There are many things that have been running through my head to blog about including a percolating post on first love, how I spent my 4th of July weekend and nearly had a panic attack in the pressing crowds and my finally booked vacation plans, responding with memories for everyone who commented on mine or even whining about this ridiculous cold that snuck up on me yesterday.
But when I arrived home from work there was a little surprise waiting for me. I'm not sure what this says about my housekeeping or rather plant keeping skills but this is what I spied:
Did you see it? Take a closer look:
Peel back those fronds and you'll see . . .
It's a mushroom! Growing in my houseplant! In my bedroom!
It sprung out of nowhere! Overnight, or rather over day, while I was away at work.
Does anyone read Tiffany's blog? Of course you do. I hope you didn't miss the mushroom post. The one where she was talking to me and discovered a monstrous mushroom in her garden.
Ironically enough, I had just hung up from catching up with Tiffany when I discovered this freakish-grows-out-of-nowhere-while-I'm-at-work mushroom:
Did I mention I got a new camera?I think the mushroom enjoyed posing a bit as I played with the micro setting:
Of course I text messaged Tiffany as soon as I spotted my new fungal roommate and her reply? "Time to Blog! Do u have any legos?"
Unlike Tiffany, I chose not to sample the mushroom and despite realizing I am not nearly as funny, I knew I had to follow her blogging command. So I hunted around my apartment for a lego equivalent because although this thing wasn't as HUGE as the behemouth from Tiff's garden, it is worth sharing because HELLO, it was in my bedroom and the world deserves to see.
First I set the mushroom up with the buddha from my bookshelf:Then this little hippo wanted to play:He really enjoyed posing:and posing: Until spiderman came in to steal the show:Then they all wanted to pose before I threw the thing out
If this is all a bit too strange for you, stay tuned because later this week I will answer this question:
Thursday, July 03, 2008
In other stolen blog post ideas, I am stealing this fun little tag from Tiffany. First because it is fun reflecting on the fun times we have shared together and secondly because I would love to hear what others remember about me. If we know each other in real life then please share whatever you can think of. I'm pretty sure the Voice of Reason will mention something about my encounter with Jay Leno . . . an embarrasing tale I may recount one day. If you only know me virtually, throw out a favorite post because that counts too.
Here are the directions:
1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot, if we’ve actually met in person or not, anything you remember!
2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. If you don’t want to play on your blog, or if you don’t have a blog, I’ll leave my memory of you in my comments.
Then buy this beautiful house!
My good friend Tiffany and her family are about to embark on a great adventure and move across the country (to my side of the country) but before they do so they need to sell their beautiful home in West Jordan, Utah. I have been to this lovely home many times and have envied it every time. It is large and spacious and I LOVE the kitchen.
So, if you are in the market for a new home in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, check it out. Even if you aren't in the market for a new home you should still look into it. They are very eager to sell and have dropped the selling price low enough that you would have instant equity! Great investment if you ask me.
And if you aren't looking to move or make a $339,000 investment right now, why don't you just write a little post about the house yourself? Why? Because Tiff is giving away prizes, that's why:
Now, what’s in it for you? Well, you’re about to benefit from the fact that it is nearly impossible for me to ask a favor without some kind of reciprocal act of kindness. If my buyer finds my house (well I guess their house) thanks to your site, I will reward your kindness by giving you a $250 gift certificate to Amazon.com—my favorite place to buy stuff that isn’t sold at Target!
Even though I'm a big fan of Amazon.com, I'm not doing this for the prize. I'm doing it out of self-interest - helping one of my favorite families sell their home and move closer to me. So here is my twist. If you end up buying the house after reading about it here and I win the gift card, I'll give it to you. But even if you don't buy the house, you can still be eligible to win. You don't have to know Tiffany to help her out. Just post something on your own blog advertising the home and you are eligible to win!