Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a fun filled weekend! I didn't dress up this year, but I'll make sure to celebrate the holiday with some candy.


Friday, October 21, 2016


"'You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second.'
'I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed.'
'You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate.'
'Consciously, sir, consciously.' Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. 'I hate them consciously.' 'You're antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated or deceived. Misery depresses you. Ignorance depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Violence depresses you. Slums depresses you. Greed depresses you. Crime depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if you're a manic-depressive!'
'Yes, sir. Perhaps I am.'
'Don't try to deny it.'
'I'm not denying it, sir,' said Yossarian, pleased with the miraculous rapport that finally existed between them. 'I agree with all you've said.'"

The above is just one example of the brilliant writing in Catch-22. I knew going into this book that Heller's writing style was a dividing factor for fans and critics of his famous first novel. Thankfully I never read this book in high school since I would have hated Heller's non-lineal narrative back then. The novel's satirical elements would have probably gone over my head when I was sixteen but it's what solidifies this book as a new favorite now. War can be a tricky subject to approach, but Heller maneuvers it with such non-glorified honesty that he makes you understand just how frustratingly powerless and horrifying it is to be caught in the middle.


Monday, October 10, 2016

One Saturday In October

My mom and I had the house all to ourselves this weekend while my dad was in Detroit. We spent most of our time binge watching the first season of Arrow, but we did managed to leave the house Saturday morning for cream cheese pastries. Our typical Saturday morning routines consist of coffee and a trip to the farmers market; my parents usually get coffee at 7/11 during their morning walk and I walk downtown for coffee. This week however, also involved breakfast at Brew and window shopping through downtown TC.

Saturday was the first chilly day of the season and I spent most of the morning wishing I had worn gloves. Luckily I did find this hat from Haystacks to help keep me warm. I purchased my denim jacket after seeing it in Estée Lalonde's recent fashion haul. I had been eyeing the jacket ever since she featured it in an OOTD on Instagram and I finally bought it two weeks ago. The sweatshirt is one that I bought this summer out in Glen Arbor. I don't typically buy tourist sweatshirts but I love the look of this one.

It was so cold Saturday morning that I had to break out my hiking boots. These boots are one of the best investments I've ever made. They're beyond comfortable and keep my feet warm and dry in all types of weather.

After our morning jaunt through town, we road out to Gallagher's Farm Market for pizza bread. I'm pretty sure my mom is addicted to that bread, at least as addicted as I am to cream cheese pastries. Then it was on home for a full afternoon of being couch potatoes. I hope your weekend was as good as mine!

- S

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Kloosterman's Take Mackinac Island

Saturday was my family's annual trip to Mackinac Island. We've been going to Mackinac since I was little, but the annual visits only started four years ago now. It's funny how my relationship with the island has changed so drastically over these past few years. My parents used to have to drag me Mackinac while I spent most of the time sulking and whining about the crowds. If you've only ever been in the island in the summer I'd highly recommend taking your next trip during the autumn months. I love seeing the fall colors and walking through the woods for hours exploring different parts of the island. There's so much life and beauty on Mackinac, but when the weather starts to cool a sense of calm begins to settle. As the tourist season winds to a close horses are shipped to the main land, fewer carriages run, and many of the stores offer sales on their left over inventory. Even used bikes sell for cheap. Whether you like hiking through nature, exploring pieces of America's history, or shopping to your heart's content, there's something for everyone on Mackinac Island.

Since the weather called for rain in the afternoon, we started the day with a hike around the island. The long hill is always first and the most painful. First up was the "Somewhere In Time" gazebo. In the last couple years we started a tradition of taking a family photo at this gazebo (see the first photo of the post). It's a fun way to document our trip each year.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one with the rest of the weirdos.

Near the end of our trip it started raining, so we took refuge in the shops along Main Street. We stopped for a late lunch at Island Slice Pizzeria followed by a quick jaunt through The Island Bookstore. Of course I couldn't leave Mackinac without my yearly allotment of fudge. Despite the fact that Traverse City has several fudge shops, including Murdick's and Kilwins, it's never the same as getting it on the island. Overall Mackinac Island 2016 was a success, even with the rain. I'm blessed to have a family that gets along so well, and I can't wait to do it all again next year.

 - S

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Protect Your Freedom To Read!

This week, September 25 to October 1, is Banned Book Week in the United States. Banned Book Week began in 1982 and aims to raise awareness about the problem of book censorship. Although banning books might sound like a thing of the past, hundreds of books are still challenged in libraries and schools across the country, and books continue to be banned in countries around the world.

The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom gathers information every year on attempts to challenge and restrict books. Although the OIF aims to document all instances, studies actually suggest that for every reported challenge, four or five challenges go unreported. Too often that means that those challenges have succeeded. Thankfully attempts to restrict books are still stopped by those individuals willing to take a stand to protect our freedom to read, whether that be a librarian, teacher, student or community member.

The focus of this year's Banned Book Week is diversity. In an article for the New York Times, the director of the OIF, James LaRue, commented on the recent shifts in the type of challenges which are more frequently "focused on issues of diversity -- things that are by or about people of color, or LGBT, or disabilities, or religious and cultural minorities." Too often the books that are challenged are those that offer a different viewpoint than our own, or that of the majority. If diverse books are allowed to be banned it limits our ability to understand the world and it's complexity.

"Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight." - Stephen Chbosky

If we allow books to be censored we limit not only our freedom but an essential part of our education. Many of the frequently banned books are those being taught in schools across the country. Some of my favorite books from childhood and into adulthood have their place on the list of commonly banned or challenged books. Those books taught me what it means to be a good person and what it means to have sympathy for others. Those books taught me that good and evil exist in all of us and the world is not always black and white. Those books taught me to question the world around me.

Last year I made a video talking about Banned Book week, but this year I wanted to share some of my favorite frequently banned and challenged books. The list includes only a few out of the many important, thought provoking, and diverse banned books, and I hope to read plenty more in the future.

Looking for Alaska by John Green (reason for challenge: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)

The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling (reason for challenge: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence)

Persepolis by Marjane Satropi (reason for challenge: gambling, offensive language, religious viewpoint, and graphic depictions)

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger (reason for challenge: offensive language, unsuited for age group)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (reason for challenge: violence, offensive language, and sexually explicit)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (reason for challenge: anti-family, content regarding alcohol, bullying and violence, racism, sexually explicit, and offensive language)

Ordinary People by Judith Guest (reason for challenge: sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (reason for challenge: drugs, alcohol, and smoking, offensive language, homosexuality, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (reason for challenge: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, and violence)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (reason for challenge: unsuited for age group, anti-family, offensive language, smoking, alcohol, and violence)

A Light In The Attic by Shel Silverstein (reason for challenge: supernatural themes, encourages messiness and disobedience, and unsuited for age group)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (reason for challenge: offensive language, racism, and unsuited for age group)

As long as there are books, there will be people trying to control them. The most important thing you can do is read. If you know of any challenges to books in your community, don't forget to take a stand and report the challenge. Help protect your freedom to read!


For more information follow the links throughout the post.