please have snow and mistletoe.

So it snowed this morning. It's amazing how snow is this great equalizer, igniting in all of us the magic of that first snow every year when we were children standing with our runny noses and sticky hands pressed against the window panes. Snow is one of our last connections to innocence, in a way. It's nice to know that even as adults, the excitement of the first snow is one special moment we are allowed to hold on to.

My friend Taylor took this picture of the view outside her bedroom window this morning. I would have taken a picture from my bedroom window, but I think the barbed wire {I KID YOU NOT} would probably mar what would otherwise be a picturesque scene.

And of course, it also means Christmas is on its way, and it is now perfectly acceptable to listen to Christmas music to your heart's content, as I shamelessly did this morning. And drink white chocolate peppermint mochas in flashy Starbucks Christmas cups, as I shamelessly am doing now.

Thanksgiving, shmanksgiving. Maybe if there were any good Thanksgiving songs, people wouldn't skip that holiday and move straight on to the next month's.

But that's not to discount New York in the fall. As my last post gushingly conveyed, this city is splendid in the fall. Particularly when my parents come to visit {and buy me food}. There are Broadway shows to see and delicious meals to eat and crisp, colorful parks to stroll through. New York is always best when you have someone with whom you can share all your excitement and love of the city. And believe me, I have a lot to share.

Second round of The Great McCabe Vacation photos will be up soon, if my mother will ever send them to me {hint hint nudge nudge, Mom}.
Hopefully I can actually locate one with my dad in it.

Of course, I also have a lot of pent-up aggression {which, to be honest, probably just means I'm starting to fit in here}. For example, when I'm woken up each Sunday morning at the crack of dawn {or, you know, 8 a.m., which is pretty much the same thing} to the dulcet melody of what is either an exorcism or a baptist church service blasting from the building behind my apartment. Or when I see a mouse run under my door and behind my bookshelf when I'm in the middle of watching a horror movie {more horrifying than any movie, let me tell you}, leading to my roommate and I spending the next 10 minutes standing on top of the furniture, knowing that there is absolutely no way we are going to be able to kill a mouse but IT STILL CAN'T STAY HERE. Or when we try turning our ancient radiator on {as we can only wear 10 layers to bed for so long}, only to find the apartment has turned into a smoky, musty sauna after an hour. Or the fact that there are CRAZY CRAZY PEOPLE in our building, who, while being incredibly obnoxious, are also in possession of some of the most colorful insults I've ever heard. Particularly at 3 a.m.

These are a few things that make me a little angsty.

Yet I am willing to put up with all these things for the chance to live in New York at Christmastime:

Ice skating in Bryant Park, window shopping down Fifth Avenue, frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity's, lighting the giant Rockefeller Christmas tree... So many great Christmas movies take place in the city, and for a good reason. It's going to be magical. I can already feel the energy humming from the bundled-up crowds in the subway stations as they brush the snow off of their hair and eyelashes, their eyes shining just a little brighter and their cheeks flaming just a little redder. We are all starting to get caught up in the sweet anticipation of the season. There's not much better than this.

I'm not willing to completely push aside Thanksgiving, however. I have a friend visiting from D.C., and we plan on cooking our first Thanksgiving dinner — complete with a turkey{?} and pie, obviously — while watching the parade on TV {because let's be real, there is no way we're fighting the crowds to see it in person} and then eating until we throw up.

Doesn't that sound glorious?

And in six short weeks, I get to go home for 8 days and bake more Christmas desserts than any sane person should ever consider baking {luckily for me, sanity has always been simply a suggestion}. It turns out I'll be home for Christmas after all, which is actually the best gift I will get this year. I love the city, but admitedly, I miss my Kansans just as much.

But before ANY of that, I get to go see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in "Waiting For Godot" this weekend with my aunt. As these are two of my all-time favorite human beings, you can guess how excited I am. I mean, CAPTAIN PICARD AND GANDOLF. TOGETHER. IN THE SAME ROOM. I hope we don't spontaneously combust from the sheer amount of awesome concentrated in such a small place. I also hope this erases the bad memory of the A Midsummer Night's Dream opera my roommate and I went to a couple of weeks ago at the Met. Beside the problematic fact that making this play into an opera removes all comedy the play actually has, let me just say this: I understand that the play is basically an ode to homoeroticism, but when your Puck is a 15-year-old kid and your Oberon is a 35-year-old man, you DO NOT get to play up that aspect.

Needless to say, this opera was the only show in my life I've left only 1/3 of the way through. 

Hey, at least we looked good, although if you look closely enough, you can see our eyes are still bleeding from the horror of that show.

It's nice to check in. I should probably do that more often, as I'm sure you are just DYING to hear all about me, right?

On a side note, I've started a book review / general publishing blog over at ThePervasiveRandom.blogspot.com, if any of you guys want to check it out. I'm still in the process of designing the site, but I've added a few posts in the last few months to get me going. I'll be linking to it on a button in the sidebar. I plan to eventually start posting more about the publishing business there, but right now I'm playing catch up trying to review all the books I have been reading lately {as riding 40 minutes each way on the subway has left me with some spare reading time}.

And with that, I'm off to watch an embarrassing number of Fringe episodes.

Ciao, beautiful people.


i wish we could open our eyes to see in all directions at the same time.

Is there anything better than New York in the fall?

(If there is, keep it to yourself, because let's be honest, I really couldn't care less.)

The past couple of months, I've been Sara Crewe standing on the open balcony spinning wildly with my arms in the air as snow danced through my hair. I've been Charlie flying out of that tunnel in the bed of a beat-up truck with my heart turned out to the world and infinity on the horizon. I've been Harry as the brick wall slid back to reveal Diagon Alley in the moment when he finally felt the world shift into place and knew his life would never be the same.

I've been happy just being alive.

And how could I not be? I'm doing everything I've dreamed of doing and more I haven't, and every time I realize this, I am dizzy in that way you lose balance when you're not sure if you're revolving around the world or if the world is revolving around you. Perhaps this is part of growing older [wiser?], understanding that each day is a whirlwind, and it's easier if you stop fighting so hard to get your footing and instead let the gale carry you where it will.

For the first time, I feel... not old, no, but perhaps ready? Ready to take what I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle.

And then it's fall in New York, and I dream of frozen hot chocolates and thick scarves, brisk mornings and still nights, cool Subway stations and late night reading under piles of blankets with the covers pulled up to my chin, and layered over it all the promise of spending the holidays in the city doing exactly what I always imagined doing during the holidays in the city.

I'm here, I'm here, I'm here, and it's at once better and easier and more natural than I expected.

I'm content?

Who woulda thought?

Title song: "Marching Bands of Manhattan" - Death Cab For Cutie


swim until you can't see land.

Sometimes we struggle to keep afloat in the perpetual flood of the days of our lives. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can't keep up, and we're just dragged along by the current, swept away to a future far beyond our control. Sometimes, we drown.

And then sometimes, life seems to put itself together while we just stand on the banks and watch, slightly bemused and out of breath from chasing the flow.

It's disconcerting to see everything work out right in front of my eyes while I'm frozen, shocked that things are going right when I know I have no claim to luck; I've been too lucky already, and I still feel as if I'm stuck on the sidelines, waiting for that luck to run out. Have I struggled enough? "Easy" is unnerving, because it blinds you to what is to come, because it lures you into safe arms and then leaves you with nothing when it's gone...

New city. New apartment. New job. New friends. All in just a few months. Was it easy?

And I wonder, how did I get here, warm in new covers of a new bed, reading old favorites and reminiscing about every mistake and leap of faith that led me to this point?

Tomorrow I start a new job as an editorial assistant in the biomedicine department at Springer. Not only do I get to live and breathe in the city I've dreamed about for so long, but I get to work with some of the smartest people while doing what I love.

And yet, I am crossing a threshold that separates everything I've ever known from everything I've ever dreamed. I cannot go back. Although I still feel like a child, I have to be an adult. 

I have to swim.

But for someone who's grown up with a pool in their backyard, there could be worse fates than swimming.

Title song: "Swim Until You Can't See Land" – Frightened Rabbit


your sun is coming up and you're still alive.

So as it turns out, living in New York City is not like living in an episode of Sex and the City. Or Girls. Or Friends. Or really, any television show ever. Living in New York City is... well, just like living anywhere, actually. You know, if anywhere has a four-story Barnes and Noble within walking distance, the best $3 hamburgers in the world, a Starbucks on {almost} literally every corner, and nothing but dirty concrete and stinky piles of trash as far as the eye can see and, more particularly, as far as the legs can walk in the average sweltering, sticky day. It's nothing like I thought it would be. 

But it's more real. And honestly, I like it better that way.

Occasionally I still catch myself forgetting where I am and forgetting how hard I've worked to be here. When I'm shoving my way out of a busy subway, when I'm rolling my eyes and dodging the dawdling tourists in Midtown, when I'm grabbing my purse to walk 10 blocks to the nearest Trader Joe's — whenever I don't remember that I'm in New York, well, those are the times I feel most like a New Yorker

And once I move in to my new apartment on Thursday, I feel like my new New Yorker status will be solidified. This place isn't home yet, but I think I can make it one.

Although can I just say, moving was so much easier when I had a furnished apartment and a father with a truck that could carry a good 12,000 pounds? Because as it turns out, not having those things turns moving apartments into a thousand-dollar ordeal

It's super-broke times like these when I've heard people talk about IKEA in the same reverent tones as they use to pray to their god. 

'It's so cheap,' they say. 
'Everything is so cute and easy to put together,' they say. 
'Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zoey Deschanel frolic around it looking adorable,' they say.

It is 'they' who have reserved themselves a king suite in the eighth circle of hell, those unapologetic, diabolical worshippers of all that is unrighteous and unholy and UNTRUE.

IKEA is evil.

Picture an infinite labyrinth of glittering showrooms featuring beautiful things that I will never be able to afford disguised as affordable. Picture the rudest, least helpful employees acting like it is the biggest hassle to answer questions and, I don't know, DO THEIR FREAKING JOBS. Picture two little girls with zero percent muscle mass wrestling two queen mattresses onto a cart in the middle of a titanic warehouse while passersby stand off to the side and blandly watch the show without moving so much as a finger to help. And of course picture the walk to and from the supercenter, through a Brooklyn neighborhood that would even freak out Patrick Bateman.

And after all that, all I got was a mattress, because I am not abundant with the monies right now. So until I get a job, I will be living like a squatter in my own home. 

But hey, at least I'm not out on the streets. Yet.

The Summer Publishing Institute ended a couple of weeks ago, and since then, all I have been doing is stressing and applying for jobs and worrying and trying to find an apartment and agonizing and interviewing and, in general, wallowing in a puddle of unemployed post-graduate tormented woe. 

I am expecting things to get better, though, once I get a job and can afford to buy food. And, you know, a bookshelf.

I haven't left for good. I'm coming back, I promise! Just as soon as I can stop moping around and get a real life. Below are just a few pictures from my first two months in NYC, and I can't wait to show you my completely empty and ginormous-by-NY-standards apartment in a few days. A wine and brownie picnic on the bare living room floor has been scheduled, and I think things may be looking up.

Until soon,

Title song: "Vampire's Kiss" - John Gold


'cause somebody told me that's where dreamers should go.

Last night, as I was lying in bed, listening to the sounds of the cars whizzing by on the street 11 stories below, it hit me:

I am here in New York City.

I mean, not just here. But here. I am here. This is my life now, whether I am ready or not. And honestly, some days it's not. But I am here. I am here and I am young and I am living. I have the grand adventure I've been dreaming of dangling right out of eyesight, just waiting for me to finally look up and see it. And last night... Last night I did.

I know I've been in New York for two weeks, and yet for some reason, this is only now really dawning on me. The last 14 days have been a whirlwind of work and lectures and crazy crazy crazy. My summer program at NYU is amazing, but it is so intense that I've barely had time to breathe, let alone enjoy the city.  Of course I knew I was planning to stay, but it wasn't quite real yet

'One step at a time, Sarah, one step at a time,' I'd told myself, else I'd choke under a sea of my own bills and worries.

Then last night I started thinking about Christmas, for some odd reason, and the first image that popped into my head was the decorated tree in Rockefeller Center. And it hit me:

I was here. I would get to see it.

In that moment, all those nagging fears pushing at the corners of my consciousness didn't matter. 

It may have been brief — I am now firmly back in homework project land and studiously ignoring anything further — but it was encouraging, to say the least.

I know it's been a while since I've written. Like I said, the NYU Summer Publishing Program is basically the mental version of doing a Jillian Michaels work-out tape for 12 hours a day, every day. My brain isn't functioning well outside of the magazine world right now. I'm swimming in stats and edits and branding, and it's only going to get worse this week as my group prepares to present our magazine launch project. 

And then we start the book section, during which I can guarantee you I'll be a hell of a lot more cheerful. Well, cheerful for me, anyway... 

But I've met some amazing people. And I've had some amazing food {cheap as I am, I can't help but splurge sometimes}. And I've got my roommates hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So right now I'm just thankful for the little things.

Plus, did I mention I live within walking distance of a four-story Barnes and Noble?

Life is pretty good.

Title song: "Vegas," by Sara Bareilles


i am glad you're with me, here at the end of all things.

Finals and graduation and my Florida vacation have flown by in a whirlwind, and now my time here, in this chapter of my life, is almost over. Suddenly I find myself standing in the settling dust of May, confused as to how I got to this point and not really sure where to go from here. 

Graduation parties. 
Tears from speeches, Dr. Seuss and photo slideshows. 
Packing my life into boxes and bags.
Tears at the empty walls.

{My grandfather's backyard. Be jealous.}

A last week with my family in Florida.
Tears in anticipation of later tears.
My childhood come to life.
Tears in remembrance of earlier enchantment.

The rest is a blur of panic and joy, exhaustion and happiness, exasperation and love. And probably more tears.

In two days, I am moving to New York City. In two days, I am moving to New York City. I have to keep repeating this to myself, and yet it refuses to sink in. After everything I've done in the last three years—all aimed at reaching this exact moment—now all I can do is wonder if I'm doing the right thing. If I'm following the best path. If it will be worth leaving everything. Leaving the people I love. Leaving my home.

I've been thinking a lot lately about home.

For as long as I can remember, home to me has been lounging on my bedroom's cozy window seat, reading a long book and listening to the crickets chirping at dusk. Home has been a cold September night spent floating in my heated pool, when the steam rises like ghosts and an infinity of stars swallows the sky.

The stars, the stars. I will miss those stars.

Home has been watching trash television with my mom. Stealing my brother's books and arguing against everything he says just because it drives him crazy. Competing with my dad to see which one of us can be weirder. Knowing that there has yet to be a problem my parents couldn't fix with a hug and a sympathetic ear

And then four years ago I moved to another world 30 miles away, which at the time was just about as much separation from home as I could handle. The night before I left for college, I recall sitting in the rocking chair hours after I should have been in bed, memorizing the living room I already knew like my own face and wondering how I'd ever find a place I loved as much as that exact spot. And then something wonderful happened. Life went on. And I lived it. And I met the best people in the world. And everything became routine. And just like that, I had a new home.

Home became laughing in the dorm lobby to ridiculous programs on the Game Show Network. Answering my best friend when she talked in her sleep. Complaining about three hours of class a day when you used to have seven. Hosting Backstreet Boys dance parties in the elevator. Late night runs to IHOP and Steak 'n' Shake and Sylas & Maddy's {always Sylas & Maddy's}. Surrounding myself with people who take me as I am, quirks and sarcasm and moodiness and all.

And yet, despite all this, my old home remained my home. It's just that now I had one more, as well.

It took me a while to realize that I did not have to say goodbye to one home to have another. I could have my cake and eat it, too, and even have a glass of milk to go with it. Home is where I have always belonged, but I discovered I did not have to belong in only one place.

Home has become many things to me over the years. 

Say Yes To The Dress marathons with my roommates. 
Cuddling with a cat who has probably plotted a thousand ways to murder me. 
Starving at midnight after work and eating my way out of the kitchen. 
Rolling my car windows down on a Friday afternoon drive through the countryside.


Waking up at 4 a.m. on a Monday to drunk and screaming British people outside my window.
Surveying the whole world in one epiphanous moment on the top of a mountain in Edinburgh.
Drinking too much wine on a Roman rooftop while marveling at how unexpected life is
Stepping onto American soil after four months away and fighting the desire to kiss the ground I'm standing on.


Above all, no matter where I am, home is the people I don't want to let go.

I don't know if New York will become home to me. In a way, I feel as if it already is. Yet, at the same time, I am digging my heels into the ground and clinging to the familiar as if leaving is the end of all things. Which is ridiculous.

Just because I'm not here does not mean I've left. I can never truly leave a home I love.

And that home can never truly leave me.

And in the chaos of living, that, at least, is a comfort.

So here's to the next chapter. 

Here's to having one more place to belong.

Title quote: The Return of the King


counting the days that pass me by.

Tonight was my final newspaper shift. My final night editing articles and page proofs. My final night working in what may be the most beautiful old building in the world. My final night doing what I have been doing for the past two years of my life.

Only two years? It feels as if I was born into journalism, as if I've been an editor all of this life and in ones past. And yet it has been only a few years since I chose this path, chose a different life than the one I had planned out for myself so long ago. 

And now I'm done — I'm graduating in a week and chasing after that elusive and quite possibly too naive dream of living in "The Big City" and working in publishing. I'm leaving the newspaper world behind. I'm starting something new. I'm finally moving on.


Final is such a finite word.

So abrupt, so heavy, so deceptively short to be so pregnant with implication. 

Final is just another way of saying goodbye. And I have to admit, I'm exhausted with goodbyes, and I haven't even begun yet. I haven't even started to come to terms with the fact that I cannot perpetually exist in the safety of my family and friends while basking in the pleasant, distorted glow of a distant future. I cannot stay here, here, warm under the sheets, taking comfort in the maps and landscapes of far-off places that paper my walls.

I cannot stop. And neither can the days that pass me by.

I'm so close to grasping the world with my fingertips. 

I'm so close to an end of a life, a beginning of another.

I'm so close, and still I falter. I slow down. I let myself breathe in hope and dread and all the confusion mixed between. 

It's the final days of everything I know.

But can I pretend I still have time for goodbye?

Title song: "Goodbye to You" — Michelle Branch


i am writing a paper on lindsay lohan.

I am writing a paper on Lindsay Lohan...

I am writing a research paper on Lindsay Lohan for an actual class assignment.

I am............

I am..................................

What is life?

{I cannot believe this will be forever cemented as my final college assignment. I'm sorry, but I am WRITING a RESEARCH PAPER on Lindsay Lohan. Aaaaand I'm officially over this whole "college" thing.}


story of a girl.

Today I want nothing less than a life full of chasing that breathless buzz of starting the kind of book that makes your skin prickle and chest tighten in anticipation. 

I want the passing of years to feel like the turning of pages, when I'm just as excited {and maybe more} to reach that final chapter as I was reaching the fourth, the fifth, the sixth. 

I want my story to be occupied by the most affecting, passionate, maddening characters whose spirits inspire me to read their stories, as well, for all periphery characters have their own book somewhere just waiting to be opened and explored. 

I want my story to make me laugh, gasp, hurt and cry and smile, to smile most of all, because even the smallest smile is a promise that things will get better if you can only work up the courage to keep reading.

When I finish the book, I want to know that reading it was worthwhile. I want my heart to be full. 

I want to be happy with the ending.

And when it's over, I will abandon my story on a shelf in an endless library, to stand silent and content in the midst of my own little heaven.





Snow yesterday and then 60 degree weather today? Seriously, Kansas weather, I have had enough of your shenanigans. I would like to at least have a LITTLE spring before summer arrives...

But that's probably too much to ask.

You know, it's amazing how something so seemingly delicate is at its core so hardy. These poor daffodils have been frozen, snowed on, poured on, blown over and trampled, and yet {while a little worse for the wear} they are still standing and blooming bright as ever. Whatever's been thrown at them in the last month, they've taken it in stride {er, well, in firm rootedness?}. It's nice to know that not everything is as fragile as it may appear.

In other news, only two and a half weeks of school left...



two years of this being a thing.

I don't know what feels weirder: 

The fact that I've been sharing my personal life with complete strangers on the Internet for two years, or that it's only been two years of me sharing my personal life with complete strangers on the Internet.

Or that one year ago today, I was on a train alone heading to Munich, you know, just killing time until my parents would meet me in Paris.

Or that Monday I bought a one-way ticket to New York City. {Actually, this makes me feel less weird and more like I'm having a severe panic attack.}

Or that yesterday I threw on a coat I hadn't worn in a while, only to find a stone in my pocket that I had picked up last February from Loch Ness. {Okay, obviously I hadn't worn it in more than just a while.}

Or that, looking back, I wonder whether I am any closer to understanding myself and what I want out of life than I was two years ago.

It's strange; when I started college, I thought I knew all there was to know — about me, about the world, about everythingAnd yet now, only a few weeks before I graduate, I've never felt younger and more naive and more terrified than I do at this moment.

In these past couple of months, I've taken up a sort of mantra, turning it over and over in my head when I close my eyes to go to sleep, when I get in my car to drive to school, when I sit at my computer to start my homework, only to be too caffeinated and unfocused to concentrate. Or maybe it's a prayer, although whether to God or to myself or to some really unpunctual fairy godmother, I couldn't say. 

But then again, it doesn't really matter whom it's to, or if anyone is listening at all. Somehow I feel better simply concentrating on the echo, as if repetition makes everything a little more true than it was before.

"Just let it turn out okay."

"Please let it turn out okay."

I'm not exactly sure what "it" is. Life, I guess. Or perhaps it's just me. 

But for some reason, I am desperate to convince myself that it will. That it will, ultimately, turn out okay. I suppose if I'm going by precedent, I have no reason to doubt it. 

I mean, the last two years definitely didn't turn out so bad. 

Please let the next two, three, ten turn out okay, as well.


whew. definitely won't be doing that again anytime soon.

Oooooh. Ahhhhhh

A new layout. 
A new header. 

And it only took me 72 freaking hours of single-minded obsession instead of doing what I should have been doing: namely, preparing a 30-minute presentation I'm supposed to give on Saturday that I'd quite honestly rather wish out of existence.
It's a little absurd how much work it takes to redesign a website — and that's with all of Blogger's help. Of course, as HTML code and I are only distant acquaintances, I probably took twice as long as someone more experienced with, you know, that newfangled computer gadget thing. I'm starting to rethink the whole "digital publishing" direction in which I was hoping to head.

And now I've got to give up my life until I finish preparing to be booed out of the symposium this weekend for talking about young adult literature when my friends are giving speeches on topics such as "Effects of Incident Radiation on Monarch Caterpillar Development," "Identifying Factors Affecting Student Transition from Primary to Secondary Education in Selected Developing Countries," and "Herbal Remedies in 20th Century Slavic Folklore."

Oh dear. It looks even worse written down. I'm going to go bury my head in a hole now.

Wish me a swift and painless death, my friends.


under construction.

I'm currently eviscerating my blog layout.
To Build Books and Castles will be functioning again soon.

I hope...


spring has kinda sorta sprung.

So it appears the pear tree blossoms have finally, well, blossomed — which, while aesthetically pleasing, means that the campus is ripe with the smell of parmesan cheese and dead fish mixed with vomit.


I love spring.

Nothing makes me miss England more than endless drizzle and that perpetual moistness lingering in the air, which coupled make every step outside feel delightfully like taking a bath.

But hey, let's get real, any kind of weather that saves me from the constant snowpocalypse that was Winter 2013 is all right with me. Now that the school year is winding down, I'm starting more and more to savor my time left on campus, which come May will be one of the prettiest places you could find in the Midwest. As much as I'm ready to leave and start a new adventure, I have to admit:

I will miss Lawrence like crazy.

It's my own little oasis of weird in a white bread state. And no matter where I go, I will always be a Lawrence girl at heart. I honestly don't know what I'm supposed to do without The Mirth's bottomless coffee and Silas and Maddy's lemonade sherbet and the seemingly infinite stacks of Watson Library {where I'm fairly certain you could hide a body so it would never be found}.

But let's not get sentimental now. I can't even bear to think of goodbye just yet. I still have another month. And I will be taking advantage of it. 

Happy kinda sorta spring, everyone!

By the way, two posts in one week.


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