Lil Lemon Drop

Lil Lemon Drop
Happy Clothes for Happy Kids

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Perfect moments, not perfect planning

 


Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

Have you been playing the balancing game-trying to give everything and everyone just the right amount of time and attention? I have been thinking about time management lately, and while I  know some schedule out each day, week, month, to perfection-I know this isn't the route for me. 

Schedules vs. Routines

First of all as an INFP (what's that? here's 16personalities description), the word schedule itself makes me a little cranky. I like routines, mind you. A quiet morning coffee in hand, contemplating life and where I stand in it, are just perfect. Every day. Slipping into bed, the perfect amount of lighting in the room, book or ebook in hand, pillows fluffed just right, is perfect every single day. But all that stuff in between? Let's keep it loose. Let's NOT make plans. Let's let it unfold naturally. 

Let It Happen

I don't know how I will feel next Sunday afternoon. How can I possible feel anything but dread if you try to force me into some arbitrary activity outside of my home. That's not to say Aunt Kate's backyard barbeque followed by a trip to Walmart and drive to Branson won't be exactly what I need. But how can I know that now?

I realize I am difficult.

And I have been thinking that maybe for people like me, it is less about perfect balance and more about perfect moments. 

This week I will shower my kids with attention and activities, next week they will play with the neighbor kids and I'll catch up on laundry. Today we have an impromptu game night and whoever can make it makes it. Next week, I'll screen my calls and snuggle in bed with a book and a glass of Cabernet. Perfect moments happen. They can't be planned.

When I discovered my newly remembered love for fiction reading, it changed my focus away from my online shop. And I realized I was done with the shop. Reading has always been a greater passion to me than kids' clothes. Reading changes my soul in a way that trying to earn money cannot. So one was let go and one I continue to pursue.

A Surprising Need for Control

This doesn't mean I am easy-breezy. In fact, I often doubt my INFPness due to my need for control and pickiness. I am not okay with just any background noise (and honestly, silence is golden to me). I can't just let the radio play. I need the right song at the right time, or nothing at all.   In fact, I often think my lack of commitment to future plans has more to do with my need to control the atmosphere by attending to my current mood than any happy-go-lucky easygoingness. And I think people misunderstand that and either steamroll me or think I am being intentionally difficult. I am just being me.

Recap

So, if you are finding you are struggling with finding the right balance or the right schedule or the right PLAN-maybe you are like me. And maybe focusing on your comfort routines and maybe letting your need to attend to your current mood and feelings are what you need in the future (I ALSO easily think I could be an ISFP (description HERE)-despite my lack of artistic prowess-especially when I am healthier and not ruminating on things. I would be totally cool with that, too).

Currently:

Listening  Spotify:

ACOMAF | Feysand| A Court of Mist and Fury | Feyre and Rhysand



Rereading


Also reading:


This post contains affiliate links for https://www.amazon.com/

Drinking:
Reusable K-cup mix of Great Value french roast and Creme brule!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Letting Go

I closed my online business today. A few months ago, this would have made me sad, but I feel comfortable. After the last big September push, in which my ads received lots of likes, praise, and views for the items, but only a few sales, I realized it was time to stop. I had been maintaining the online shop for the fun of it, but suddenly-it just stopped being fun. Ironically my organic store views are higher than ever lately, but ultimately it is sales that matter in a business. I always felt just on the brink of breaking out--but then--maybe that's a gambler's intuition, and not business intuition. Just one more day, one more ad, one more instragram push. I am over it. If I had been able to make it profitable, I would keep it up. If there was a chance of it replacing my day job, I would keep it up. But at the end of my life, I want to look back and see written words, lots of written words and self-expression, not an online store run at the expense of my free time with family and writing. The hours I was putting in after my regular job, just weren't worth the money I wasn't getting back anyway. But it was fun.

 It's a beautiful fall day. I love Wednesdays working at home. It's my lunch break now. I will be so sad when we go back to all-week learning. This break from forced extroversion is exactly what my aging body craves mid-week. The truth is, I started letting go a month ago. When I decided to obsess over books rather than searching for items to sell. And after just one last fight with my husband over advertising costs, I figured, enough is enough. And I feel good.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Autumn Aesthetics by MBTI type

 



Aesthetics is a term I don't really understand. I think it belongs more to the younger generation. However, since the younger generation tends to have the greatest influence on popular culture, I am gradually absorbing it into my own lexicon.

This particular Tumbr post was found on the MBTI is Dead account.

They all sound completely lovely. However, I was most swept up in the ENTP, ISTJ, and INFJ* (prob my fav) groupings.

There is just a magic in fall that encompasses all the senses. A chill which can be cozy or strangely isolating, a warmth of sun which can be delightful or sadly fleeting. Autumn can appeal to the macabre dark souls or the sweet,  homey bakers. It calls to the dreamer and the realist. I love that.


Just for fun:

ENFJ: Canoeing in an Oxford-blue lake, surrounded by hundreds of changing trees. Relaxing walks in the forest. Blue denim and brown leather shoes. Bright orange leaves sitting next to pine needles and pinecones.

ENFP: Bright red leaves and crackling bonfires. Hiking with friends on the weekend. Backpacks filled to the brim with trail mix and other snacks. The awareness of how much you are enjoying this moment.

ENTJ: Residential London streets that look like they’re from a 1920s detective novel. Tiffany lamps sitting on wrought iron balconies. Scarlet maple trees. Foxes roaming around like dogs. Red trench coats with furry collars flapping as you walk.

ENTP: Big oak trees covered in acorns, with brown squirrels running through their branches. Walks with friends through maple forests. Brown knit sweaters. Cozy woodside coffee shops with caramel and croissants.

ESFJ: Knit beige sweaters with bows on them. Homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Decorating the door with autumn wreaths. Cornucopias and warm pumpkin pie.

ESFP: Forests filled with colourful leaves, adorned with fairy lights. Lit jack-o-lanterns in all different sizes. Blue and orange sunsets and the first stars twinkling. Pointy shoes and black leggings. The coming of dusk on Halloween.

ESTJ: Plaid shirts and warm boots. Sitting in a patch of sunlight on a very cold day. Raking leaves and drinking apple cider. Watching squirrels gathers nuts and scurry up trees in your lawn. Memories and a sense of familiarity.

ESTP: Late-night brouhahas. The anticipation of Halloween. Pumpkins lined up across the cool, dewey night grass. Climbing over fences and exploring the autumnal town like cats. Cauldrons emitting neon green fog. Sitting on roofs of buildings and watching trick-or-treaters walk by.

INFJ: Cobblestone roads and little shops. Going for walks in the oldest parts of England and Scotland. The smell of shortbread within the cold, almost-winter air. Fuzzy trench coats, plaid scarves and flat caps.

INFP: Artfully painted foxes and deer. Solitary cabins in the autumn woods. Handcrafted furniture and the smell of wood. Soft golden light coming through the windows.

INTJ: Candlelit architecture and wooden staircases. Large clocks and all the gears behind them. Exploring the old libraries of London. Waiting for trains on hazy fall mornings.

INTP: Standing alone in the barren November woods as cars drive down the gravelly road nearby. Staring at nothing in particular, with an old backpack slumping down your shoulders. A deer standing in a clearing, somehow feeling nostalgic, telling you to follow it.

ISFJ: Misty cemeteries and Victorian mansions. Barren trees against clouded white skies. Wrought iron gates and dead plants. Owls and ravens perched high above, watching.

ISFP: A large harvest moon rising over the golden-orange cornfields while a fiddle plays a mysterious tune. Strange creatures with antlers getting lured from the forest out into the field. Dance-leaping in a circle until the crack of dawn.

ISTJ:  Golden light filtering through the autumn trees. Antique lockets and diaries with intricate engravings. Grand libraries and peaceful strolls. Reading under an oak as leaves brush by like flakes of gold.

ISTP: Grey, cloudy skies. Mugs of black coffee sitting next to an interesting novel. Dead apples falling from the trees. Chilly mornings and brown leaves on the ground. The lick of winter through the windows.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Thoughts this Week

;Whew! I had fun last night. First of all, I totally overindulged in a really tasty cabernet sauvignon (which don't those words just feel amazing on your tongue?), laid in bed and read, and snuggled with Alec, who is just the best thing ever. I understand increasing numbers of people are choosing not to have kids, but as for me and my body, we make little humans. Well, I mean not anymore. I don't want more little humans, but I am glad I have them! There is just something so incredible about getting together with a person and suddenly (9.5-10 nauseating,  exhausting months later) finding a whole new human emerging forth, with its own little looks and hodgepodge of shared physical traits-I love it!

I woke around 4 and played on Facebook-Oh. I just realized I went to bed after midnight. Hmm. I did not get enough sleep! It's going to be a long day, I guess. 

Being super hungry, I decided to go surprise everyone with some McDonald's breakfast. Karl had hinted at St. George's donuts last night, but they don't have a drive-thru and that requires a whole different level of grooming. So I was thinking about some Mickey D's breakfast burritos and then stopped myself. I had a lot of wine last night. A few quick punches into an online calculator and realized what I sort of felt in my cells already-I should not be driving until around 6 a.m. I can be quite cautious, like ISXJ cautious. I briefly think of the  times out drinking with friends and how I was always watching people and purses, wanting everything and everyone to get home intact. This is a pride thing-it embarrasses me. It is embarrassing to be careful and cautious and worried when I want to be carefree, and fun, and original. But that's my broken record.

So last night, riding the happy wave of red, red, wine (a good deal of it is reading--why do people DRINK so much in novels--do real life people drink so much or are the publishers trying to push alcoholism on us as a society--or maybe it is just that drunk and uninhibited characters are more fun and unpredictable for the author to work with), but craving people. I enjoyed hanging out with Alec of course, but when I drink, I generally want people around me laughing and having fun. I rarely meet people I'd consider peers though. Either they are one or two decades younger, or they are overly religious and well-behaved and wouldn't put up with my shocking words. I mean shocking not in a vulgar way--that's boring--but just maybe, overtly honest? It's a problem. 


I am so happy I am reading fiction again. It is just so exciting to get totally wrapped up in other worlds and other people. The main problem is 1) they are fictional and when I want to get totally wrapped up, I want to be there living out the stories, and 2) I like some not always high quality stuff. I struggle with embarrassment over not reading top-notch quality literature and wanting to just have a good time and be happy. I think the key is to adopt a key phrase and when I start to feel like maybe someone is judging me, repeat my phrase and fuggedaboutit! I am tough. I am strong. I can read smutty romance all I want, dang it! 

I cried a bit too much yesterday. It was awkward because I was at work, and by afternoon I was completely drained, eyes dry and tired. Letting loose a while felt really nice. But today I wake up, optimistic and excited. It's Saturday. The house always, always needs cleaned, and Liam needs a haircut desperately. The little boys can get away with longer hair because theirs lays nicely on their head, but Liam's is thick and coarse and sticks out strangely when it is getting longer. Fascinating stuff, right? Can you believe I am not a more popular blogger? Shocking.


I thought I would wake up sad, but I am not. I feel relieved and refreshed. Relaxing completely last night was needed perhaps. I had planned a good gut-wrenching post because readers like that. That gets shared and looked at. That brings out dozens and sometimes triple digit readers. But, I don't feel that now. I am not going to prostitute my feelings unless they are authentic and genuine. 

I am nearing the end of A Court of Frost and Starlight.



This is an affiliate link for Amazon.
 
This main story has been told in the first three books--this is like the Holiday special, as someone in a Facebook fan group stated. I am enjoying it though. Letting my mind be back in Velaris, dreaming of dreamy Rhys, and Cassian, and Azriel. These fictional characters are living the life, man. The next book is supposed to focus on Cassian and Nesta's "relationship," of which there doesn't seem to be much of one yet. Nesta is a hardcare, withdrawn bitch, but I get it. There is a fountain of mushy feelings she is hiding in there. I think her core is rather tender, so she protects it well. And Cassian. He's like the outgoing dumb jock, the ESXP, the cheerful and hot Emmett of the group, for you Twilight fans. Rhysand is the main man, but Azriel-- I want more of him. Strong, shadowed, and quiet. I want to hear his thoughts.  Anyway. Y'all see why I get embarrassed? I am a mess.

It's funny how a book or movie can change little things about the way you live. Rhys and Velaris are always described as smelling of sea salt and citrus...so of course, I traded out my normal wax melts (usually warm, autumny scents) for the closest I could find. I have two mixed together. I like it.  Jasmine is a scent emitted when magic is used, and Taryn just so happened to get me a jasmine scented face oil for my birthday in August. So using that makes me happy. Usually. Sometimes jasmine reminds me of bathroom freshener.  They don't drink coffee in my book. They are tea drinkers. I don't know if the author is British or what, but it is a bit sad. I am trying to live this imaginary life as much as possible and coffee really needs to be a part of that life. 

I am going to read Crescent City next, and then read the Kingdom of Ash series. 

So that's my weekend plan. Finish A Court of  Frost and Starlight this morning and start reading Crescent City.  I have to work with my homebound student tomorrow. I  took on a homebound student because so much of our money tied up in paying off credit cards. THREE MORE YEARS before they are paid off, barring extra payments. It hurts. But it has to hurt, to feel it. The more it hurts now, the longer I will go before using credit again.  But extra income to continue living a pleasant life with trips and cute things is nice. 

Do you have great Saturday plans? I love it when people share back. Makes this big, cold world feel a bit cozier, you know?

Thursday, October 1, 2020

It's Okay




 I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind about our relationship with others, particularly with the shallow relationship of social media, and our respective places in the world. I have come up with a list to remind myself that, "It's okay."


It's okay to complain about matters which seem trivial.

It's okay to unfollow that perfect friend who makes you question the fairness of life.

It's okay to thank God for the many blessings in your life, be they financial, social, or otherwise.

It's okay to be proud of the things you think and do and share.

It's okay to feel overwhelmed when your life is on a downward slope and others seem to be riding high.

It's okay to back away from someone you admire, but who stresses you in some way.

It's okay to not want the status quo. 

It's okay to be a hair extensioned, pumpkin spice latte loving "basic" gal.

It's okay to love parenthood.

It's okay to want your own life back at times.


This list reminds me that even when I dearly like some people, their seemingly good fortune grates on my nerves at time. I don't have to cheer every update. I can step back, unfollow with the best of intention until I am personally strong enough not to be jealous. What I can't do is try to make them feel bad or pity me because I haven't been as fortunate in that area. Well, I mean, I can...but should I? No. 

Also, I don't have to feel guilty about the areas which work out for me. I have worked hard to get to the place I am in, and I don't have to downplay my gratitude and good fortune. I cannot be responsible for other people's reactions to things done and said in good faith. I wouldn't post about my fortune to hurt or make someone feel bad. I would only do it because as a social introvert, social media is my way of connection, which helps me get mind to mind with others without expending energy reading faces and body language and trying to control my own, which is best saved for other matters.

I hope this list will remind you to approach other's good fortune and bad fortune with love and understanding. Step back when you need, don't feel guilty for the good things, and enjoy this crazy little thing called life.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Autumn and Shame

 



Autumn. Oh God. It's here. Slowly, slowly the leaves are turning. I haven't done any decorating. I just haven't felt like digging out the boxes. And I spend so much time just trying to keep the house in order with three little boys. Why add more clutter to the mess?


What is Autumn? Am I in the autumn of my life yet? Sometimes I pass by a mirror and just for a second, I think, "Whoa! Who is that old mom?" I watch as the lines etched into my face ever-deepen and the freckles on my arms and hands no longer fade in winter. Breasts and chins slowly give into gravity and we won't even discuss what six children can do to a body. And yet, I feel just like the quiet girl rushing through her schoolwork so she can get lost in a book and dream of the wonderful life which waits just out of reach.

This fiction reading is killing me. I feel more like myself than I have in years, and yet, the gnawing ache grows as I realize life will never be that way. I feel like I am grasping at something that doesn't exist. Part of me wants to believe so badly. I can have adventures! I can fall deeply into a never-ending love! I can be high lady of the fairies and sit at tables making important decisions! It takes me back to being in high school and so desperately desiring to go back in time. One New Year's Eve, I dressed Craig and I up (my mom had gone out), and I sat waiting, halfway believing that if I truly, truly believed, we would go back in time. Of course, we didn't, and I wonder at my grasp on reality a bit, but I think it is just the INFPishness. I wonder what I was searching for? Some imagined life where I fit in and find romance and adventure? On a group I was on, there was a some meme of INFP's leaving reality to daydream. I was initially offended, I am not a stupid person, but at the same time, had to acknowledge that I was only reading the meme because I had snuck off to lie in bed and dream about a fictional character. That's my kind of funny.  I suppose that is why I usually stick to nonfiction. Nonfiction can be inspiring and push you to get up and make changes, but as long as you don't drift too far into abundance theory, you aren't likely to be left holding a handful of nothing as your dreams dissipate in the wind.


I guess that is why people get into role playing games. There is this undercurrent that we should be having adventures! We should be physically fighting the bad guys or using our brains in extraordinary ways. And bonus points if romance is wrapped up in it, too (does that exist?-I need that). 

I find I am writing these posts, sharing excitedly, and then with low readership and no likes, slinking in ashamedly and deleting or unpublishing. I get so excited to share these thoughts, and then I realize noone cares. I don't mean that in a pitiful, poor me way. I just mean it in a why would anyone care about my ordinary thoughts? Why must I put it out there and have it ignored? Isn't it better just to keep it in, if it isn't important enough to elicit a response. People respond to pain and sorrow. Karl said it is because I usually put a positive twist on my pain, but...I wish my other moods were worth sharing, too. I don't want to have to tear my heart in my hands to get attention. And the shame builds, and the years pass, and the shame at being decidedly average grows and grows and grows. And I think of Brene Brown and I think, Hey, that's okay. I am in the arena. I am putting it out there. So many people, just lie and hide, and are never truly known. " But at what point are you being brave and sharing something of value, and what point does it become like...forcing guests to eat beets or something, because you think it would be good for them? What if all I am putting out there is a plateful of beets. And I am over here grinning like a fool, thinking I am offering something special, something meaningful?

We went out for the first time since March yesterday. We ate out on a patio and enjoyed the perfect air. I drank in  the sparkling night lights in the sky, but the lack of a crowd was difficult. I know it is safer without a crowd. But I wanted to drink wine until the moon spun around the sky and drink in all the beautiful people and come home and carry those good feelings into the early morning. But it was so quiet, and I had beer, which just makes me numb (I didn't want wine-stained teeth-and I don't like sweet white wine much), and I came home and ate too many salt and pepper chips (when I really wanted salt and vinegar, but was trying to be nice). And unsatisfied, I dragged my bloated beer bubble filled self to the sofa to relish being alone if nothing else. And awoke to my book and the deep fear that Rhysand, whom I dearly love now, is going to die. And frustration, that I had no adventure, no inner circle, no political plans, just housework, and a book of dreams. 

Twenty-six years ago, I placed Tierney in a swing and danced to August and Everything After, dreaming of being taken away by someone, in a Maryland apartment alone, so alone, with a wall full of glass as the maples changed magnificently outside the window. The sun has gone down now, and I sit here unaccomplished. Degrees which aren't my calling, no story in me to tell, no skill set to tell it with. And I grapple with the absolute ordinariness of being me and living this life. How does one crave adventure and intentionally  tie oneself with children? How does one reconcile being so very desperately ordinary with the need to see a life well-lived? 

I guess I am still working on that.


Friday, September 25, 2020

A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah Maas...Part 2

" Oh whilst thou leave me so unsatisfied?"


I closed book 2 of my series today. First of all...women fantasy/romance writers. That's where it is at. There was no being aware of how her nipples rubbed in the fabric crap as she walked across the room. I mean? Who does that?

I love the way women write women. I think maybe women clean men up a bit too much when they write them, but a book by a woman for women-I guess that's okay for me. 

So anyway, in book one you fall in love with Tamlin and he's okay. Not far into book two you are like, F&*% Tamlin and his misogynistic crap (sorry about the language..its the books). I want an amazingly powerful guy who also sees my power. Who is patient and healing and sexy and smart, and wants you to become all that you are and, goshed danged if this isn't just fiction. To me it was the difference between Thor and Loki. I'll give Thor my heart, but naughty, tricky Loki, I'd give my soul. 

And on top of it, you close the book, ready to don your fighting leathers, wield your fighting knives, save your people, and damned if you look in the mirror and you aren't a graying, overweight grandma, who has never used a weapon in her life and has an inside job moving papers and talking. Like, what?

Real life will never be the same. 

And I spilled coffee on the school library book.

Book 3 next.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Court of Mist and Fury By Sarah J. Maas

 

This post contains affiliate links.


On to book two! I am only seven chapters into this book so what will happen is all up in the air. 

Spoilers!

So Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, and Feyre are getting married. Perfect ending, right? Except...
Tamlim's being an ass. He won't let Feyre off the grounds and she is slowly being pushed into the role of lovely Lady of the manor (she has some powers now). There is this bitch priestess who is Tamlin's childhood friend, and Feyre likes her, but I don't. That wench is up to something, I feel it. And the author kindly mentions the "mating bond" hasn't descended upon the two yet. Not good.

Anyway, Feyre hasnt heard from Rhysand, whom I forgot to mentioned she has pledged to spend one week out of the month with for the rest of time, since he helped her out in the last book. She hates him. 

Then wedding day. Feyre, who hates dresses, of course (because all modern heroines eschew feminine clothing, right?) is as fluffed up and curled as a wedding cake. She's walking down the aisle and balks, inwardly screaming for help. Who shows up? Rhysand. Rhysand shows up at her WEDDING and says he wants his week now. And TAMLIN LETS HIM TAKE HER. Weakass beast, if you ask me. He doesn't fight for her. Something is wrong, here. I mean, yeah their sex scenes are fine (although not quite to After standards), but you  know... gotta have more than that. Something is off. 
Anyway, currently she is with Rhysand at his Starry night court or something. I really like him. I don't know that he "likes" her. He definitely respects her and her abilities. The question is-what is he doing with her? Does he want to use her to get back at Tamlin? Does he want to use her in the unfolding war? Is he just cool and wants her to discover her powers? He says it's the second by the way. Honestly, they are starting to get to know each other so well, toe curling sex is going to be IMPOSSIBLE. But this is hinting that she may be so strong, a man (albeit a powerful, magical high lordly man) isn't going to be enough for long anyway.

I hope I am strong enough for this journey. We shall see!

By the way, I am the world's worst book reviewer. But I have to write it so I don't bore everyone to tears in real life.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas


This post contains affiliate links.

I checked out A Court of Thorns and Roses based on a recommendations from someone in one of my After series groups when I was in the throes of heartbreak from that book series ending.
Note: This will contain spoilers.
Note 2: I know I made another site for book reviews, but...I don't know. I woke up Sunday feeling foolish over the Whole New Blog because a) there's Goodreads and b) noone cares.

So I put it on the back burner for now and am just going to post what I want here. 

Anyway, this book. Starts out fairly typical. Spunky, hardworking girl, Feyre has to go into the wilds to care for her family. Ends up killing a fairy and gets abducted by some beastly fairy creature and and taken back to his homeland. He has a big manor house. Powerful and wealthy. We fall in love. Girls, you are going to fall in love. He is tender and nervous, strong, and just the right amount of captivating, powerful brute. When he gives you an order you will tingle down to your toes even as your righteous feministic self recoils. He's great. But things happen (by the way, this is quite Beauty and the Beasty). It all goes to Hell. The underlying trouble that has been brewing breaks free. 
And then the story twists a bit. Everyone is captured by the bad lady who wants Tamlin (beastly guy) as her own. Feyre goes to the dark place to save him. She has to face horrible troubles. Help comes from others. It looks bad. 

Here's what the killer was. While Tamlin sat at the bad lady's side in court, unmoving, he witnesses Feyre going through all this crap and just sits there. It was explained that it was the only way to survival, but as the story is based on his strength and protection, he just comes across as pretty...weak. He starts to fade in my eyes. In a way, I felt this love had to fade some. First, they were already IN love but there are several more books. That new love feeling is THE BEST (I mean, I am not sure I have ever felt it, but in my imagination it's the best),  how could they possible sustain that. And two, as I was falling, falling, I knew this strong woman couldn't just end with happily every after and rainbows, sunsets, chubby babies, and doilies. Because we all know, as dazzingly romantic as the fairy tale ending in, eventually, sleepless nights with kids, farting in front of each other and him peeing on the damned toilet seat and throwing cigarette butts on your lawn ends the glow (oops too personal-I know I do some gross and annoying things, too. Just not going to talk about it). It isn't sustainable. So...even I dreaded the shift, I knew it was coming. At first, I was concerned it was just me, but gradually I realized the writer is just THAT skilled and subtle. I love it.

So there is this other guy Rhysand. And I think I really like him. But I am afraid this won't be a romance. This will become about her being more than that. I am working on the second book. See next post.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Sometimes "thier" is correct





 I am an imperfect soul. I am so imperfect I could spend hours cringing over what meager memories I have stored of my failings. 

One thing which has made my life much more difficult is a desire for honesty and bluntness in my view on the world. Women aren't supposed to be blunt. Women are expected to sweeten and sugarcoat and heal. Slowly, slowly I have been learning this lesson-at least to the extent I can stand.

Last week, someone was proofreading sentences with some students. One of the words that needed fixed was changing the form of "there" to the form which referred to people. They wondered aloud whether they were correct, but then nodded decisively and said, "Yes, it's t-h-i-e-r." 

And I looked up and wondered---what should I do?  Could I bear an inaccuracy to stand? I thought of the sped teachers who I had been working with as a substitute para when they  taught math (incorrectly). One I let it go, the other I corrected. The one who was corrected was not impressed with me. I thought of the para in my classroom leading the kids through a similar exercise and his mortification when I corrected him (and he is SO MUCH more knowledgeable than I will ever be).  It isn't like I don't make mistakes and misspellings even though I technically know better. And I thought of the kids and quickly decided. 

I let t-h-i-e-r stand. I could weave it into a lesson later. 

And today, the relief I felt at sparing someone a moment of embarrassment, despite how much I hate to let an inaccuracy stand, came full circle, and I thanked God for that brief, humane choice I made.



Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fragility


 It's funny how the spirit soars, the animal body stands erect, and good moods prevail...only to slowly deflate as the weeks wear on. Last week, I was on top of the world, I loved everyone, and felt confident in all that I did. This week, though, I have felt myself falling slowly. Just a downward float back into the land of insecurity.

I chose A Mighty Queen under the impression that I would be writing articles of success and inspiration. That is what the people want. People want a sure-footed leader with straight answers. To be such a person requires such self-denial however. Self-denial which smothers the soul over time. Plus, I used to always sing, "Gonna be a Mighty Queen," because I have no desire to be a king. I like girlyness.

I knew I was falling when I found myself chuckling angrily when someone snubbed me as I said Hello. Now, I know there are a hundred reasons why someone wouldn't return a greeting, but my ego was hurt, and I jumped into self-protection. Ten years ago I would have been disappointed in myself for my lack of control and letting the situation get to me and being mean. Five years ago, I would have been disappointed but understanding and forgiving of myself. Now I am understanding, but I also hold myself to a higher standard. I should have just let my embarrassment in the minute wash away and move on past. 

There are times I look about me and I see how mean people can be. How self-righteous and angry and gossiping and hurtful. I find myself standing there wondering why I ever thought they were cool or admirable or hoped to be friends with them. They are no better than me. They might play the game better, but inside their hearts are just as tainted as everyone else's. It's so disappointing when the facade of idealism wears away and you see people for the selfish, broken souls they are. I guess we all are. 

I feel so fragile today. Every word and expression, every phrase and action is sifted through searching for the needle. And sometimes the sharp needle can always be found. 

And the work piles up around me and I don't want to do it. I want to escape, but I have no escape. I am slowly untwisting my heart strings from my novel having fallen "deeply" in love with a fictional character and fictional life, and am waiting quietly for the surging emotions bubbling over to calm and slowly drain away. I did this to myself, and damn, if it wasn't fun, but returning to homeostasis is a must, I suppose.

And at least another week of falling awaits me, and I think that someday, in a few years time, perhaps this rise and fall won't rule my life anymore, and somehow that saddens me. Who will I be then without the ebb and flow of powerful hormones coursing through my body. Not to mention how rapidly my face will fall. I think about it. I have reached the age that it doesn't matter anymore. The imagined weight loss and tummy tuck and breast enlargement and nose reduction, all the lovely things I was going to do to be just a wee bit cuter are really irrelevant at this point. Nobody cares. And I stand here, shaking in my raw soul, aware of my meager accomplishments, aware of my transparent weaknesses, embarrassed by my failings, and just..wait.. For the clock to turn around again, for the sunlight to burst through once more. It will come. And I will tell you joyful stories of strength and peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Help! I have fallen

 


And I don't want to get up!

Listen. I get it. I am old. I am a granny for goodness sake. I am also keenly aware of being completely ridiculous!

I am embarrassed, but also an emotional exhibitionist, so I am compelled to share this absolutely perfect link (well, that's how I feel-my husband would argue I don't show my feelings-I feel transparent, however).

Any kindred spirits here?

Whose your book lover?


IN LOVE WITH A FICTIONAL CHARACTER


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Rambling Thoughts on Life in the Moment

 I woke up too early, but we went to bed relatively early-ten or so. The house is a mess. This is on me. I was a baby yesterday and overindulged and lay about like an emotional weakling. Well, those words are too strong, but I did overindulge in food and wine and awoke at 3 a.m. with the sense that I needed to get my act together.

Yesterday was stressful. I feel like I made things more difficult for others, and that brought guilt and just an overall feeling of being a screw-up. Then I had 3 punch glasses of sweet wine and way too much chocolate and ended up with a terrible stomachache. But when I awoke-I realized a few things. 1) The work issue was really just too much stress adding together. My heart and mind were in the right place. What does bother me about it is my need for emotional reassurance that it was all okay. Maybe I need to just hush a bit and rest in the ambiguity of uncertainty sometimes. I keep thinking of those little cliches and sayings from Little House on the Prairie, "Least said, soonest mended," being the one that comes to mind, but I found myself repeatedly seeking reassurance. But then, as I think about it, I think-maybe that is okay. Maybe it's okay to talk about things that are worrying me, and other people can suck it up a little. What's wrong with just talking about things to figure out where I stand on them? Maybe I need that feedback to get to the heart and figure out what I think about it. 

2) I also woke up with the clarity that I need to curtail my wine drinking. I love the wine, and I am A-OK with a glass in the evening. But the past week or so, it sometimes crept up to to 2 or 3 glasses and that's not okay. It's not physically healthy, and it's not good for my head. I think part of it is due to reading about the heavy drinking in the book series I have become obsessed with.

If you need an escape and to read about others drama (because let's face it, real life can be dull), these books are great.


Note: This is an Amazon Affiliate Link.

Essentially, the story has four books with a 5th book, which is sort of a compilation of thoughts by the guy in the book. Reading it, calms my jets (did I seriously just write that) regarding his horrific behavior in the first book, but I suspect, I'll never be satisfied completely. You know, the ache-where reality just cannot quite touch fantasy-though you can see glimpses through the fog, and the slightest scent of crackling fires and smoke drifts over to taunt you with the false promise of perfection waiting. And the crickets sing their slowing songs-where did the Cicadas go- as autumn spins back to us again. I should probably close the back door.

I love that the book dealt with the issues. The couple struggled through his substance abuse, cracking apart for ages. The time lost was heartbreakingly slow and a strong sense of sadness fell upon me as I finished the fourth book. But it was good. 

I read an argument that it still wasn't realistic. And maybe it wasn't. Maybe most people aren't able to overcome their serious problems and face down their demons and arise out of the ashes. But man, that NF in me has to believe in something. When I was a child I had a recurring dream where the devil's son, would keep following me, talking to me, and I, while terrified, would continue to talk to him, persuading him towards kindness. I wanted to make him want to be a better man. Am I just seeped in victim mentality? The truth is, we put up with things, far more than we thought we could or should, because-where is the line? How understanding should we be when someone crosses the line? If we stomp our foot enough, they'll retreat back over the line and then what? Do we dispose of them and move on, alone, or do we forgive, losing a bit ourselves and our dignity and our trust along the way. I don't know which is right. Nothing is ever clear, cut, and dried.

Here is the page I read that suggests Hardin Scott, our male love interest from the book, cannot and will not change: MBTI fanatic. Definite spoilers. I think what really caught my attention is the writer's assertion that we as readers, Trauma bond to Hardin along with Tessa. That thought has captivated me, as it's a delicious romance, but also terrible. I just want him to love her so badly, I continued reading after learning of his betrayals. When I first started reading I was appalled at the writing and the present tense and just the overall simpleness. But somehow, the genius starts to emerge. This may never be Pulitzer winning material, but writing that grabs, entertains, and won't let go, is something. It speaks to something in us. Some yearning for new first kisses and completion in the eyes of another, and escape from a dreary every day. 

So, this is where I am now. Still hanging onto the fringes of a fictional romance, reasserting the need to make better choices of consumption, and wishing I had a friend to talk to about the things I need to talk out to understand. My coworkers don't want to hear that stuff. And I find myself excited. It's virtual day for all, which I have to say, I love! I wish we could implement this every single Wednesday. There is always so much work to do, and just relaxing at home while working is such a bright spot. I think we might have to go in for a real-life meeting this afternoon, and that's not ideal, but still, this should always happen at the secondary level;). 
Why can't we do this? Come on, powerful people! Make it happen!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and the After Series

 This post contains affiliate links.



The Bookish Life of Nina Hill 


was recently loaned to me by a coworker. I read it quickly, as I found Nina somewhat akin to my soul. From books to a bookshop, to a perfect sounding apartment, Harry Potter references, and trivia-Nina is just living the introvert life. She really gets out quite a lot despite calling herself an introvert-she just doesn't go for empty, mindless pleasure. Nina is likable and relatable and this book is nothing if not a modern day fairy tale for bibliophiles. My only issue with Nina is how she didn't just clear off a page in her book for Prince Charming (whose profession is DELIGHTFUL), because she stuck to her plans too stringently. I couldn't do that-I'd toss the planner out the window for romance, but overall, it was a lovable fun book.


After


I have been craving romance lately, and after watching After, the movie, on Netflix, I found myself hooked. I went ahead and purchased the book and read through it quickly. I am not going to go into great detail of the harrowing, morally questionable journey I am going through right now 

but I am going to say, I like it and I don't care who cares.


After We Collided

I am currently reading the second book in the series, After We Collided. And you know what? I am loving it. I know the drama is ridiculous-the characters are so immature-and the misunderstandings abound. But alas, wouldn't life be dull if we couldn't dive into the fictional, dysfunctional, passionate relationships of interesting and beautiful characters?

Now, I have the house to myself for several hours, and I am alternating cleaning with reading (trading off,  straightening one room and reading a chapter). Perfect. I really just wish someone would drop off some laundry detergent and a can of pumpkin so I could make pumpkin bread on this overcast day (and do laundry). 

This day is fabulous!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

5 Secrets You Might Not Know About Me

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash



I spend so much time discussing books, self-help, and my internal musings, I thought it might be fun to share a few totally irrelevant facts about myself! Enjoy! Note: I do think I may have mentioned these before, but hopefully it was on a different blog.

1. My right ear lobe is torn. When I was seven, I was sliding down one of those metallic farm pools which had been placed upside down against a fence to dry. A boy had climbed up with me and grabbed my earring accidentally as we went down. My parents took me to the doctor, who felt I was too young to stay still during the minor surgery. Eventually when I was older, it just wasn't a family priority anymore. I use superglue when I want to wear earrings. When I was in high school I tried clip earrings, but they would grow slowly tighter throughout the day leaving me with bleeding and infected lobes. Once I borrowed my mom's tiny diamond studs. The superglue wore off and the stud was lost. She never asked about it, so I never said anything. 

2. In preschool and elementary I was in trouble nearly every day for talking. I was very extraverted. I was always the last to finish a meal because I was so busy talking. I lived with my nose against a brick wall for the first part of any given recess. Unfortunately I was also very honest and blunt and learned it was better not to say anything. Much less trouble that way. I always wonder if I might have fared better with my bluntness had I been male. The expectations of supportive warmth are not the same for males.

3. I have had a completely sober out-of-body experience. It is so hard to put in words, and I totally understand all the more scientific reasons for such an experience-but...I'm telling you I was flying around the room with my body on the bed.

4. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was planned and I was just 7.5 weeks along. I was so very sad. I was too shy to go to the hospital and the sac/embryo slipped out. As I attempted to wash it off in the sink to get a closer look, I dropped it down the drain. It was traumatic. This is one reason why strong punitive laws against women who have abortions scare the Hell out of me. How could I have proven that was a miscarriage? I have always called the baby Mallory. 

5. I believe my mom woke me up the night she her heart stopped and fatal damage was caused in the hospital. Many of my readers have already heard the story, but it was quite an experience. I won't rehash it here, but here the link: Why Downton Abbey?

Metamorphosis

 


All throughout our lives we are changing. At first the changes are blatantly physical, but as the physical changes slow down and eventually start to pull inward, rather than blossoming outward, the internal changes have the capacity to increase.

Internal changes are more subtle. They can be self-driven or occur due to circumstances. I have always found life is a circle with rhythmic patterns emerging and rising and slowly dipping below to surface to allow others areas to surface for a while. While I am always spiritual, my dependence upon organized religion tends to wax and wane over time. At times, I desperately long to be  part of  some religous organization, and at other times, I am happy with the hodgepodge of beliefs I have put together alone.

On my own, this is fine. I can allow the inner tide to ebb and flow and grow and retract as my soul needs. I think sometimes it confuses my husband. I can't count the number of times he has said, "I thought you liked...." or "but in the past you wanted....."   And all I can do is look at him exasperated, "But that was in the past! This is now. Now is different."

Then I think perhaps I am just trapped in perpetual adolescence with my identity wavering depending on my moon (I meant to write mood, but moon came out through my fingers, and isn't that a prettier thought).  But...I don't think that is it. I think the core of who I am is always present. I am just trying on different dresses to see how each on fits. To really taste what is like to walk a bit in that particular dress. It's just an experience to think about. 

I went to an activity recently which had me viewing other people in a different way. For this activity, I was hugely thankful for outgoing, go-getters and appreciated the role they can fill in getting certain activities done. The more reticent and shy are not as well suited for this activity.  in this activity. It made me think of all the times I technically "showed up," but wasn't particularly useful in that activity. But there are other gifts besides the gifts of recruitment. Some people need more time to feel secure before they open up. Others would prefer to have to have a task and work diligently on that task. I am sort of like that. It isn't who I want to be. I want to be at the forefront and influential and noticed, but...I think my walls are just too high. But I can work behind those walls. I remember in Astronomy club in college. We were doing a public showing at the observatory. I was actually a fairly new physics student (yes, I know. Nothing in me says difficult, abstract, creative math problem solving...but I had to try it out-to taste it, and the Universe is dazzingly romantic). Anyway, it was one of the years when Mars was a little closer to the Earth and relatively bright and prominent.  There were lines of people for hours. I was given an 8 inch telescope, already set up and was to allow people to look through it. I did this. But I didn't KNOW anything. I was just sweetly smiling and shaking my head and explaining I was new. But then one of the professors came over, looked through the telescope, then gave me information about the particular globular cluster the scope was focused on. And suddenly, I had a job. With some general information, I could get excited and share some facts that people could visualize and understand. I didn't have to rely on making awkward small talk. I had a purpose. What is my point? My point is, we can all play some sort of a role, you just have to find that role. 

So Metamorphosis. I don't think I am actively in the midst of a shift right now. I have learned a lot of the past several months, though. I don't have the patience for young children I used to have. Part of it may be, I don't have the large expanses of time I used to have. I always have work to do online, so time shaping my children is taking me away from time developing my plans or doing tasks which need attention. If I didn't have to work perhaps I will feel differently. If all I had to do was get through the day, maybe I could slow down and just focus on developing and enjoying my children. But that is not an option for me. For so many years, I wavered on the edge-desiring to be home and homeschool (not with that online stuff-but my own real, self-designed work for my kids). But now, I realize, I will NEVER get the sense of security I need by staying home. I cannot handle being financially dependent on someone else with the life experiences I have had. It sort of sucks. All I ever craved was a quiet domestic life, with some creative time for writing (I mean who doesn't want to be famous for their hobbies, right?), but that dream cannot be balanced with all the other factors. And it sort of makes me feel weak. Part of me is like, "No! you have to stand up, throw it all away, and go live a simpler life. You have to prove to yourself you can handle whatever comes. You have to do this hard thing because it is the only thing that will make you feel alive! Break out of  the middle class comfort zone, with its insurance and retirement plan and semi-security. Go be real and live where you can feel it." 

But it isn't good for kids to be poor. I feel too much anxiety to rely on the possibility of needing the social nets if  things go wrong. I don't trust they would be there.

Plus I cannot stand the idea of not having enough money to get the heck out of Missouri on a regular basis. Why wasn't I born somewhere romantic like Scotland or Ireland? 

I feel like I am still asleep. I guess what I am searching for is that next change. That next shift that gets me excited and feeling alive. I want more and I am ready for a change and something new to think about. 

And I await the Universe for God's perfect timing. 





Wednesday, August 5, 2020

When you feel it, but don't want to talk about it


How to talk about  a pain that doesn't like to be discussed. The lump in the throat, wetness dripping down, running across a heart that doesn't care to dwell in the pain. 
August has always been a marked time of year for me, because my birthday falls in August. It was always the last month of summer as a child, with long, hot evenings stretching out as the cicadas screamed out into the starry nights. As an adult, August was a time when college started, and the kids' school started, and later, when I would return to work to joyfully begin preparing my classroom (when I worked in a school where I had one), and getting ready for students to return. It was one of the best times of the year. 

Two years ago, though, everything changed a little. One August day, my 21-year-old son came by for a visit, said goodbye, and walked out the door-forever. Caleb had battled with depression for years. He had struggled with the world since he was very young, even in preschool he stood out, and in later elementary was rejected by his peers. As a young, inexperienced mother, I tried to do what I thought was best-but who really knows what best is? I could talk forever about signs I might have missed-or maybe just didn't know how to handle-but the fact is, August 4th, he said goodbye as if it were just another day and August 8th, they found where he lay. The days between those days stretched into eternity, but a monotonous, uneasy eternity. Although I love using strong, melodramatic words when I write, in reality, I tend to be on the optimistic side-almost to the point of detachment. I can't help it. I truly, truly believe it will all be okay in the end. We just don't know exactly when the end is, and that can be frustrating. 

As his mother, I wish I could jump back into moments long-forgotten and find ways to make it all turn out better. I wish I could find ways to improve myself and make him whatever I was supposed to make him, instead of stepping back to let him become. There must be more I could have done. There must have been a thousand little opportunities to spread light which dropped into the abyss.

There were things I wish I had known. Perhaps groups my shy self should have forced myself into. And now I am faced with---just---an abrupt end to a life which had been painfully blighted for years. And the simplicity in which I can carry on brings a feeling of guilt and "What the Hell is wrong with me, that I can keep smiling?" And the sun still shines and the complexity of human life keeps spinning the world around. 

This is August.

Friday, July 17, 2020

5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30







Life is fantastic. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with ups and downs and sometimes it simply feels too hard. I was walking the halls of the building I am working in, and found myself envying the position and opportunities other people have. And that's when I had to take myself in hand and get tough. Envy might be useful for just a brief moment, but Envyland is no place to live.

Fighting Tooth and Nail


There are so many things I wish I had learned early in life. Some people appear to be born with an inner sweetness and fortitude which helps them navigate the wilderness of life and they appear on top early and stay on top. Others of us had a lifetime of the wrong kind of training forming our brain patterns in ways which seemed beneficial at first, but eventually led us deeper into the fog and away from civilized life (meaning acceptable norms and behavior). 

I am from the second camp. I have used tooth and nail to drag myself (along with the quiet helpful hands of those who have guided me tenderly and forgivingly) out of the self-imposed wilderness into, well, maybe the edge of the woods.  Yes, my mistakes have been totally humiliating, but no, they aren't who I am. I am so much more than just the bad. So I wanted to share some of the thoughts on life I have been having. To some of you, they may seem blindingly obvious. To others, the lesson is still buried in your subconscious waiting for the right time to flip the switch on to self-realization. 






5 Things You Should Know About Life by 30 (or earlier)

Note: You'll notice I have 30 instead of the 40 in the infographic. After reflecting on it, I realized I may have learned the lessons late, but learning them early is, naturally, preferable.


1. Forgiveness is key to happiness- This is one  idea that has been brought up time and time again, but being able to forgive people is essential for a happy life. Forgiveness doesn't mean letting someone hurt you over and over again. You need to do what you need to do to set and enforce your own boundaries for safety and peace of mind. But forgiveness means allowing someone to make their own mistakes without letting the choices they made blacken your heart forever. It is hard not to hold a grudge. Sometimes not holding a grudge can feel like weakness. It can feel like you are letting people walk all over you. But holding a grudge is like a cancer, encroaching upon your heart, eating away at the happy possibilities for the future. Bitterness can feel very right, but bitterness is the language of the ego and the ego is a child. The ego doesn't necessarily have your best interest at heart, even though it will present itself as doing so. Like a pleading child, the ego will tug at your emotions, begging to you avenge wrongdoings against you. But as long as you listen to ego, and struggle to hold anger and hate close, you will be hurt. Learn to forgive.


2. You can't always get what you want- I know it is shocking. It is even more so when others seem to have a golden lighted path leading the way into greatness with strong hands lifting them up along the way. Life doesn't seem fair. Meanwhile you find yourself striving and stumbling, and that which you want just seems to be out of reach. Like grudges, this can lead to a deep and dark bitterness. Learning to visualize the bitterness and anger being washed away has been very helpful to me. When I feel the burden building up on my shoulders I like to imagine golden rays of sunshine lighting my head with warmth as turquoise foaming waves crash gently against my shoulders. Lifting my burden, I am left with all that truly matters. These external desires will all dissipate eventually. The world itself will some day disappear. Learning to find peace and joy with what is inside, with what is real, is the key. 

3. You get to determine your worth- Noone else gets to decide your greatness. Not your parents, not your boss, not your lover. If you are happy with who you are and what you have accomplished, you are a success. Maybe your parents dreamed of you walking the halls in a white coat with a stethoscope wrapped around your neck. But your heart lights up at the smiling faces of your preschool students each day. You are a winner! Perhaps your boss doesn't think you are worthy of her inner circle- but your job gives you time to go home and paint spectacular paintings which thrill your soul. Winner. Maybe your lover wants you to earn more money and bring up their lifestyle, but peace is your ultimate goal. You get to make that choice. This doesn't mean you should be a jerk and not listen to input from others or continue to be valuable in the jobs and family roles that you are responsible for. It means not allowing someone outside of you to dictate how you feel about who you are and the value you bring to this world. That's up to you. 

4. Life is incredibly short- It's really a blink of an eye in the eternities of time. Balance wisdom with childlike curiosity. Save for retirement as early as you can. If you are in your 20's, start now! Don't put it off one more year. Take that income tax refund, or next raise and start investing it right away. There are a myriad of books available to help you get started. At the same time, have fun! Take that vacation. If you are like most people you will have to choose between experiences and things. I can't make that choice for you. My husband and I have chosen an older home with a lower price tag so we have more money for traveling and experiencing the world. If your heart lies in aesthetics, you might prefer living in a beautifully decorated home more than taking a vacation. Only you can decide what your values are. Do some soul searching-discover your values-what matters to you-and start making choices which honor those values. Don't wait. You can always start planning for your amazing life today.

5. Make the effort- If you want to connect with someone, make the first move. Send a text, call, stop by and visit. The worst that can happen? Well, I guess they could go on a radio show and share your heartfelt attempts in a mocking manner, but is that likely? And are they worth your time if they mock you? Take a deep breath and reach out. You might be the light of someone's day. Make the effort in all that you do. Relationship, work, play, rest. Don't be afraid of failure, hiding behind mediocrity, excusing your flaws away. Love yourself immensely and enough to keep striving towards the best version of yourself. Remember number 4. When you have decided your values, go full-force into attaining them. If you screw up, remember number 1. Forgive yourself. We are all learning. We are all perfect in our imperfections. Then stand back up and try again. I won't promise you will reach some arbitrary goal, but I will promise if  you don't try for what you want, regret will sink deep into your bones.  

At some point, life is painful for all us. But it can also be very rich, very rewarding, and very, very good.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bathroom painting DIY / Free Boho Printable Freebie!

SEE BELOW for FREEBIE

Master Bath Painting

I am in the midst of painting the bathroom. I am the queen of half-asserie it appears. I live in an older 1970's home and frankly I love the retro vibe it has. Low ceilings, boxy rooms-this is my early childhood revisted. While the warm, cozy colors are what attracted me to this house in the first place, I find myself slowly replacing them with cooling, soothing colors. Except the front door. I wanted a rich, deep black for the front door, but somehow ended up with Terra Cotta Rose. Who knew?
Meanwhile, I went to paint the master bath (which was a warm golden yellow) a soothing shade called Highest Mountain Mist. If you have ever visited the alpine ridges you know the emotional appeal of anything mountain. So with a name like Highest Mountain Mist, well, this greeny color had to be mine. 


Before:

During:



OH MY GOSH! I had no idea the cabinets were so worn. My husband and I are both very much in our head type people. I just didn't "see" this. I am sure the cats are responsible. 



Really loving the counter/sink paint.



Problems? Who has Problems?

Sadly though I ran out of tape halfway through the taping. So, what a girl to do? That's right, start painting anyway! This is where the half-asserie comes in. So I splotched paint on the ceiling and reminded myself, heck, I'll touch it up later. I got paint on the woodwork. Not so pretty. I will try some kind of paint thinner or something later. If that doesn't work, I guess I will paint it. Personally the woodwork would look better with the highest Mountain mist if it were white, but...I'm tired, folks. 

Messy!

When the painting of the walls is complete and cleaned up, I will probably paint the wooden mirror frame and the deep wooden cabinets. I guess I will have to go white, like everyone else in the world, because it needs to match the cooler walls and the white sink (which I repainted last week). I am SO happy with the sink refinishing. I did my half-asserie work there as well, and it is still 100x greater than what I had before. Before it was a light almond fake marble with a gold glitter vein running through it. I actually would have lived with it, however, the paint in the sink was literally wearing away to the fiberglass or whatever the sink was made of. And hair color stains completed the look. I like it so much better now, but the white is bright and does strain my eyes a bit. 

This is what I used on the countertop. It only took one can! I have enough to do the shower next.
This is an affiliate link.



After:

Light on

Light off 


And now the freebie!!


Friday, July 10, 2020

When Breath Becomes Air Book Review

Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash


Biography and Autobiography is not a genre which I find attractive typically. When I picked up the book When Breath Becomes Air,  by Paul Kalanithi, after it was recommended in a Facebook book group, I found myself initially disappointed to see that it was an autobiographical book. However, it was fairly short, and I decided to give it a try. Within a few pages, I was hooked. The writing was interesting and the tone was one of a calm friend, explaining his world to me. I wanted to know this person.
 
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What interested me first was his casual dedication to excellence. The importance of a top-notch ivy league education to his family and the lengths his mother went to in order to ensure he was properly educated to be a competitive applicant to the top schools was fascinating. Honestly, it was a whole new mindset for me. All my life has been focused on reminding myself it was not a race-life was about experiences-prestige doesn't equal meaning. Suddenly, this person is earnestly talking about the importance of striving, and it was just--fascinating. My working class worldview couldn't help but be shook up a little. I found myself wondering how the mindset of his family and his friends was so different from mine. Are they just naturally more intelligent and thus striving towards excellence in their field is the only way of life they can fathom? Is it snobbery and keeping up with the Joneses-a life filled with achievements for bragging rights? Is it to build up a strong financial future so they can spend more time later working on wants rather than needs. I don't know. I was completely intrigued. My whole life was built around consoling myself that it is okay not to get what I desire because that isn't where meaning was to found anyway. To have someone so easily speak of achieving major accomplishments as if they were base expectations for life was just incredible.

The book itself is a heartbreaker. You will feel the wide open expanse of time as Paul briefly describes his childhood and feel the time cave in as he discusses his struggle with lung cancer. Paul struggled towards finding meaning and throughout the book, I found myself slightly unsatisfied. I kept waiting for that aha moment of illumination, when understanding of the purpose of life would shine on me, but it never came. His discussion of his childhood religion, and his belief that mercy trumps justice, left me feeling a bit in the dark. Of course, mercy trumps justice. Isn't that Jesus' point? Mercy and grace-giving people more than they deserve- are hopes we all cling to desperately as we feel life slipping away. But...why? Am I a sociopath in that I don't feel tremendously guilty about things? I feel bad when I hurt someone's feelings, particularly if it was intentional, but I don't writhe in my bed at night worrying about coming hell fires or even karmic vengeance. We are all just babies learning. My mother converted to Catholicism the year before she died. I struggle to understand this conversion. What had she done that was so bad she felt the need for someone to tell her God's grace was waiting. God's grace is all around us. God's grace is within us. We don't need Father Joe to tell us this-but maybe some do. Maybe some need that external validation that God loves them and will be merciful in light of their failings. It's a mindset I just don't struggle with. I've spent my share-precious few- less than two hands-of nights on the floor wrestling with the darkness and God's seeming absence. I've known what it is like not to feel another human's tender touch (besides my kids) for years, and finally broke down, staring at the carpet fibers as waves of darkness crashed over me. I've cried out in silent tears to God about the loneliness and despair of a world in which I just couldn't see or feel God's presence at all. But then, the loving arms of sleep would pull me in,  and in the morning I would rise once more.

But perhaps I am lucky. Perhaps my brain chemistry is just so that optimism is bound to peek around the corner even in the midst of the darkest thoughts.

And I started to feel that dark futility after I finished the book. For a brief moment, no matter how interesting and entertaining the book was, I wondered where Paul was. I wondered where the people I have lost are now. Are they there? Do they exist? My mom is deep within my cells-I am made of her. But Caleb? I can't feel him in my cells. I can't feel him around me. Is it because he takes me and goes out somewhere else? Does he feel me within him? If anyone has disappeared and ceased, it is him. And the darkness of death fell over me for just a moment or two. What happens when we die? Not the stories of old books, not the desires our heads have created, but what really, really happens? Is there this whole other existence, elsewhere? Is that the fairy tale we have created to make the days happier? Does the truth even matter? And then I pulled the sunshine out again. I will choose that which makes my soul sing. 

And the book was good.




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