Wednesday, December 30, 2020

How Short Time Is

 Naara Turner died yesterday. I suppose it has been Naara Toole for quite a while. A few days ago I told my husband an old classmate was going to die (based on photos of her with friends on Facebook, with her seated and wrapped in a blanket). It was such a weird feeling. To lose a classmate is such a reminder of the how fleeting and fragile life is. Our bodies will give out. Whether to illness or old age, one day we each will draw our last breath, and our time of influence-our time to leave an imprint-will be done.

To me, Naara is just a few memories. When she first came to Springfield (from Georgia, I believe), explaining how to pronounce her name. She smiled politely at teachers when they remarked on her lack of a Southern accent. Naara had a big smile and teachers seemed to warm to her quickly. To me, Naara is a cabbage patch kid, a beautiful song. When Nichole Tummons had a Halloween (sleepover?) party, Naara was the other girl (besides me) who wet her pants when Nichole's older sibling knocked on the garage window, scaring us 10-year-olds. I feel somewhat of a solidarity with her as a fellow weak-bladdered gal. I remember trying out for the solo/duet for our Christmas program at North Town Mall. I went up with Debbie Barnes, despite neither of us having a spectacular voice), and we giggled through the audition. Then Naara came forward and sang, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," with such beautiful sincerity (she even closed her eyes at times), I wondered why the rest of us even bothered. I don't know if we performed or not. It might have been snowed out. Naara is the girl who would sneak in her tight jeans to change in the bathroom before school in 5th grade because her mom didn't approve. She is the 6th grader who supported my short romance writing efforts. I would bring in thick Writer's Market books to determine where to send my gems, and Naara would smile and offer to edit them for me before I sent them off. I was first runner-up in the school spelling bee in 6th grade, second to Naara. My disappointment was evident, I am sure, when I congratulated her, and Naara reassured me she wasn't feeling great and maybe couldn't go. Everyone was mad at her that week (we were a petty, petty group of kids), so they congratulated me instead. She did go, of course.

After we changed to junior high, I didn't see Naara much. We didn't seem to fall into the same classes anymore. Naara was in theatre and though I longed to be, I was shy. Naara could sing, and I wasn't interested. And that's okay. Naara was more mature than me, falling into different crowds with her brilliant smile, while I still had many years of work to bring myself up on my own. 

Naara brings to mind lessons I wish I had understood decades ago. She is a symbol of power to me: who has it and who doesn't. When I was with Naara's group, I was a hanger-on. My words, no matter how carefully crafted, were never quite right. I could never understand why, when I used the same tone, said the same words, they weren't received in the same light. It wasn't until my late 20s, when I realized, I have an underlying pettiness, a chip on my shoulder, an immaturity, which makes my most sincere responses questioned. It wasn't until my 40s when I realized power within a group also played a strong role. I grew up in a world without role models. I watched the girls I admired closely and strived to be more like them. I watched how they dressed and how they talked. I listened to how they handled themselves with others. I remember sitting in French IV, realizing with shock, that this girl I admired so much (Lynnette Pember), might not get slapped for being bratty. All my life I just assumed every family was somewhat the same, and then --I realized--some people don't get slapped. Some girls may never have had their hair pulled by someone else's frustration. It really blew my mind. I couldn't help but think of this amusing scene in As Good as it Gets. There is a kernel of truth  in it. 

Click the link  --->Good times, noodle salad. <----Click the link

The world's loss of Naara is likely great. Some lights shine brighter than others, and Naara appeared to be such a light. Not perfect, no one is, but a shining light reminding us we can do better. We can be more. We can smile at anyone. Not only are the days we have to create something amazing and long-lasting numbered, but the days we have to brighten someone else's world are finite. The time we are given to change a life is so short. I hope to never take each moment for granted. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Let's Talk About Health, Baby!


Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Winter is officially here, right? Happy Birthday, fictional character, Feyre Alcheron! Welcome, winter solstice. I wish I were into rituals and had something symbolic and meaningful planned, but alas! I am not big on the preparation that ritualistic symbolism requires. I do admire the romanticism, however.

Do you ever just feel Amy Marchy? Like clearly you were intended to have a staff? Can you guys imagine what life would be like with a housekeeper and maybe a part-time nanny? What could be accomplished? Or a personal assistant who just does all those details?  I can. And it looks pretty nice from right here.

My Simple Weight Loss Plan

So health. I am gaining weight! I can see it in my face, and feel it around my waist and suffer with it with my ongoing heartburn/acid reflux, and esophagus narrowing problems. The thing is, I don't know what I am doing differently. I don't feel like I am eating that much. But number don't lie, and I must be. My old standby-the only weight loss trick that works consistently for me-is counting calories. And there is no trick there, just hard work and discipline. And friends, I think that is the threshold I stand upon now. So back to MyFitnessPal, back to counting candy calories, back to just saying no to that bowl of chips and salsa after dinner. 

Have you tried MyFitnessPal? You must! I use the free version and it is perfect.

I can lose weight on 1500 calories, and lose it faster on 1200. Somewhere in between those will be my target. I can do this.

My Simple Exercise Plan

If you know me, you know I am big proponent of K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Sweetheart). When planning a vacation, I have a rough itinerary of the must-sees, but believe in leaving a lot of room open for surprise side trips. I will be the first one up and out the door at the hotel, but I am not going be checking the time, herding everyone along (unless something might close). I also believe in ACTIVE vacations. As appealing as lying on a beach with an alcoholic drink appears, the fear of missing out on the WORLD hasn't allowed me to take such a vacation just yet. That and I always have kids around. But why lie on a beach when you can go to an art museum? Or hike to a waterfall? Or drink coffee in a rainy metropolis? Hell, let's just do all of this, beach included. That's the life for me. The truth is, I think I was meant to be an active person. I was an active kid. I loved running and climbing and playing. But whereas other girls funneled their energy into organized sports as puberty hit, I didn't know how. I had no teacher, no experience, and let's be honest, possibly no talent. As I watched other girls seem to flourish, I disappeared into myself behind a wall of shame and self-hatred. The self-hatred kept my weight down throughout high school, but once the babies came, the struggle became quite real. The last time I was really happy with my weight was after my first child was born, and before the others came. I was working out to a video 3x a week, walking the stroller on alternate days, and sticking to three small meals a day. All that work got me to just  under 130 pounds. Perhaps if I hadn't gotten pregnant with Caleb (very much planned), I would have continued to shave off a few more pounds.

This year, I have been doing some floor exercises pretty regularly. Stretches, (REAL!) pushups, crunches, and some leg/butt exercises. Then a couple weeks ago, I just stopped. Sometimes the carpet needed vacuumed and grossed me out, and sometimes I just didn't sleep well, and wanted to conserve my energy for the day. It is amazing how rapidly a tightening abdomen can disintegrate into softness. Also I had been walking a couple nights a week with my son. We decided to add jogging, he protested on the second time we went out, and we haven't done anything active since. 

So my new plan:

  1. Renew the exercises. I may have to get strict with myself (no getting dressed for work until they are done). 
  2. Continue/amp up the squats I do while waiting for my coffee to brew. I thought my 20-30 squats were great, then my coworker (who is 10 years older!) told me she did 400 squats one day. Umm, Okay. I can do better. 
  3. Go back to walking/jogging. I happen to know my son is getting a new scooter for Christmas, so I can still jog and with a new scooter, he can keep up (and get some exercise time).

I don't think I have caught the Coronavirus, though I have had one bad cold and one minor cold since it all started. Who is to say the colds weren't the virus? I don't know, I never had a fever, cough, or loss of taste or smell. But I do know if I do get a heavy viral load, I am overweight, over 45, and A positive blood type. So I need to get my act together, man. And I teach! I am surrounded by germs. 

I am not a big vitamin person. I think vitamins should mostly come from healthy foods. However, my husband did purchase some vitamin gummies, which taste yummy, so I have been eating a few of them each day.

With these steps in place, I have no reason to think, I won't lose at least one of these chins by spring!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Winter Break is coming!


The year is ending! While I enjoyed my share of 2020 memes, let's face it-it ain't the year that's the problem. I can't complain about this year, but I don't want to be too nonchalant about it. Some people have suffered greatly and are suffering still. 

What I am tired of is the politics. So tired of the politics. Listen, if this is all some scheme to take away our freedoms, your bitching over masks isn't going to make a difference. Now, if two years from now, Covid isn't a thing, and we are still wearing the damned masks, then yeah, let's throw a hissy. But now is not the time. 

I have been a bear lately. I hate it when I get down, because my mind spirals to worst case scenarios quickly. Some may have a kernel of truth, and some are just a runaway imagination playing with possibilities. But the thing is, even when the truth is evident, not everyone wants to hear your truth. I can only blame myself, for not being successful enough to quit the day job...but then I think woah! Maybe I am caught up in that capitalist rat race idea that I am just not trying hard enough. On the other hand, maybe I am not. I am not sure. It's kind of hard to step outside of your own paradigm and see things as they truly exist. 

So grumpiness aside, it is nearly time for the end-of-the-year festivities. I have plans!

Plans to reread Anne's House of Dreams (my favorite-around-New-Year's read), maybe the ACOTAR series, and to finish watching this season of Call the Midwife. Those are my grand and glorious plans for my week and a half off. I am super-excited. As you know, since I work both sessions of summer school, the winter break is often my longest break of the year. Although I applied for summer school jobs a couple weeks ago, I haven't heard anything and my insecurities are raging. What if I didn't do a good job last year? What if the person who usually hires me, and also sent me an invitation for Gabe to go reading tutoring, now thinks I am a poor teacher because my kid needs tutoring, and won't hire me? Those are the things running through my head. I was invited to the virtual learning orientation, but haven't got a job. Now I am wondering what I did wrong. Did I ask the wrong questions-did they uncover something about me they didn't like? I was so excited and felt cherished when I received the invitation, and now I I have bills to pay, and I am willing to work, people!

Hope springs anew, of course, and the day is glorious and bright, and while I acknowledge the fear and insecurity, I know there is a plan. The Universe is racing through its cosmic destiny, and I am where I need to be. Being fearfully and wonderfully made, I can rest assured in the knowledge that God's plan cannot be thwarted. And all is well.

And I can't wait.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

A Little Housecleaning...Literally

The older I get, the more I desire a clean environment.  When you are young, you have so little that you spend a lot of energy buying and collecting things. At some point, though, you reach the apex, and you start to question all the crap you have around you. You go to those amazing craft fairs and tourist traps, and you begin to question whether you really want to spend the next 20 years dusting that personalized wooden...whatever. You start to groan when your MIL, despite having her heart in the right place, gives you another Hummel figurine, because you KNOW she is going to want it displayed (although this particular problem was temporarily solved when the toddler brought the curio cabinet crashing down and so many things busted). At some point, I became the person who will stop and do dishes in the middle of a get-together, because I simply cannot relax and tolerate the mess.

However, as much as I desire a neat environment, I work full-time outside the home and have three small boys constantly pushing the tide against me. My house will not be company ready for a few more years. 

That said, a gal can only take so much chaos, am I right? Occasionally I get the kids' dad to take them somewhere for a good chunk of the day, and I am able to get a good housecleaning in. However this only happens every couple of months, and that is just not enough. So I am going to introduce you to my survival trick for Saturdays like today.

First of all, after a crazy busy weekend last week, this weekend is blessedly open. Nothing on the table, just me and my home and my time. The best. But I awoke to a disaster. By 8 a.m. there was cinnamon toast crumbs everywhere, remnants of last night's feasting (I went to bed early instead of cleaning up) all over the table, piles of laundry waiting to be folded, dirty bathrooms, dirty carpets, some sticky, sweet something all over the floor, and a host of other horrors. I would get a picture, but the kids always steal my phone.

But I am at energy level: Recovery. This means I am relaxing as much as I can, so my stores build back up.

And that is where the 10-minute clean-up comes in. The 10-minute clean-up is exactly what it sounds like. For 10 minutes out of every hour, I straighten one room. It is important to focus on one area at a time during the 10 minutes to see progress, but you don't have to finish one room to move to another. For example, I usually start in the front room and/or dining room. They clean up the quickest, so I can see progress right away.  However, 10 minutes is usually not enough time for vacuuming, so the room is never completely done. During the next 10 minutes, I might move to the kitchen. Obviously, a trashed kitchen will not be cleaned within 10 minutes, especially since my dishwasher is broken. I might do a couple 10 minute sessions here. Sometimes I see so much progress, I keep cleaning. Sometimes I don't. Later in the afternoon, the big boys will go outside, and this is when I start to fold the laundry. Usually by the end of the day, at least the downstairs is straight and pleasant, and I don't feel wiped out or like I was cleaning all day. Plus, once he sees the positive progress I have made, Karl will usually get inspired and pitch in. And there is nothing like manly muscle for getting some jobs done (like that sticky stuff in the fridge-takes him 5  minutes to clean what I would scrub for 30).

So basically that is the lazy girl's guide to cleaning when you really just want to be a slug.

I actually use this method at work, too. When I have to start some less than stimulating paperwork, I tell myself I only have to do 10 minutes worth. Generally after 10 minutes, the flow is going and I continue working. But if I don't, I pat my back and call myself successful for meeting my goal. 

Works for me!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Two steps forward, one step back is how I would describe the journey of personal growth. You learn, and ponder, and stretch, and reach, and you are rewarded with real signs of growth and then...suddenly you look up and realize your focus has been lost.

This blog is about positivity and motivation for leading a better life, but I lose sight of that sometimes. I can be a very melancholic person-I love diving into the sadness, because that is where I feel my creativity is held. I get a lot out of it personally. However, sharing that on this blog, instead of my personal blog, is off-focus. And I find my slip-ups-the sharing of the darker side, on this blog, embarrassing. 

It is okay, though. Mistakes and less-than-ideal choices are part of life. One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn is how to stop regret and let shame roll slowly off. Shame is a strong emotion- it can hit unexpectedly, and usually shows up uninvited. But regret is intentional. Regret can be dismissed easier. In my 20s, I spend so much time regretting choices, imagining what I should have done differently. But my 30s were about letting go of regret. Occasionally, regret will visit, and I will have to stop and think about what I can do better in the future, but never invite regret to stay. It will tear your life apart. 

Shame loves to just let itself in by the back door. I have found the best way to deal with it, is to acknowledge it, and give yourself an inner hug, and remind yourself, we are ALL just babies here. We are all learning. We are ALL okay. I can't say shame doesn't visit me ever-or that an occasional dose doesn't shake us out of destructive patterns, but I do know this: Shame should be an uninvited acquaintance, not a close friend. Take a deep breath, wrap your arms around your waist and give yourself a big hug...and send shame on its merry way.

Good morning!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

It's all About the Gnomes


Christmas fads may come and go, but a gnome, pointy hatted, and fuzzy bearded is forever. Even when it isn't. I hope I always have a gnome watching over us during the Holidays.

Thanksgiving break. Are you all drowning in the memories? I am not sure I am drowning in memories person, but it is IMPOSSIBLE not to have little flashbacks around the holidays. The magic of youth-was anything better than playing with my many cousins? There was always a little initial shyness and then we would become fast temporary friends, playing hard, gathering memories. It wasn't until later I realized I didn't fit in. I do wonder if that was influenced by mom's discomfort. She had real reasons to be uncomfortable but maybe sharing it with us wrong. I have probably passed than onto my own kids. Well, it takes a long time to open your eyes to the bigger picture. It's okay. 

Thanksgivings away from family when I was married to my Air Force ex-husband. Time with friends. I miss friends. I actually love having people over-once they are there. The dread and cleaning and shame over my less-than-perfect house and lacking housewifery skills make it so hard. And now I never meet anyone I think would mesh. Maybe friendship is for the young. And I remember how my ex's friends were always fun, and the fancier, middle-classier people I snuggled up next to, always turned out to be so tremendously dull-party-wise. Fun and intelligent when sober-dull as tombs for letting your hair down. Not that I am some wild child-but a little too much wine, a little too much laughing, a little too much silly girl-- talk that's where it was at.

Later, Thanksgiving days, miserable somewhere, and evenings with my mom when my kids went with their dad. And on and on. I don't really like Thanksgiving. Brown and orange? Really-what kind of decor plan is that? Turkey? Oh well. Time off work is nice, although I still have to work with my homebound student.

When did Barefoot wines become screw cap? There is something...fancy-feeling about corkscrews and corks, and this screw-off cap isn't working for me. 

Last week, I decided I was going to dive into alternative religions, maybe buy some herbs, impart meaning into crystals, search elsewhere for the missing. And then suddenly, I don't want to. 

I feel the pull of traditional religion, despite being a Democrat and knowing I would likely never be completely accepted in traditional religious groups because I actually believe in feeding the poor without forcing them to listen to a sermon and treating immigrants and refugees like humans rather than animals. What a sinner I am. But at Christmas time, I long to stand with a group and sing praises-to feel the light and warmth. Or maybe it is God pulling me back-I know he loves me-though I think it is more in the ugly, unplanned daughter way, rather than a cherished child. I tried reading about the tug back to God-(if you know, you know)  but it just talked of guilt, and guys, I just don't feel that. I feel guilty when I hurt people, but guilt for pulling away from organized religion? God is God. If he is strong and all-powerful, he doesn't need my guilt. He doesn't need my tears. I am a drop in the ocean. And I have this fear, this deep, undying fear, that Heaven is going to be SO BORING. I fear it will be like that middle-class Thanksgiving, with subdued restraint and polite small talk. 

I want more! I want to be a warrior, fighting a battle for good. I want to soar through the Universe and dance in the ocean of an alien moon. I want to be beautiful and fall madly in love with someone who loves me back and wants what is best for me, and slowly let's go when it is time for me to move on. I want laughter and dew dropped lily of the valley wreaths wrapped around my head while we dance happily in rings as the golden sun rises. And friendly, happy gossip and hand-holding and glowing, crackling firelight, and books of knowledge crammed into libraries with stars for ceilings. 

And seafood. I am craving creole-flavored seafood. I find myself thinking of my Marketing teacher at MSU, in the intro class I needed to get into the MBA program. It was such a fun class. Practical, but -still creative. The older teacher liked to talk about how she had crayfish flown in from the shore because they had to be fresh and they had to be from New Orleans. I want that life. I only got a B in there-like so many classes I took the grade drop to avoid the presentation-but this time, I wasn't avoiding. I was interviewing for the Teacher job corps (whatever it was called) in NYC. I didn't get the job. But I did get a trip to NYC and a chance to meet native New Yorkers, and walk through Central Park, and buy a coffee at a coffee shop, and wear a suit as I walked through NYC, and it was pretty amazing. It wouldn't have worked out well, though. A single mom in NYC with no family to help out? Nah. So I came back and started the MBA program for awhile. It was crazy interesting, but I didn't have a focus there, so I went back into the teaching program. 

Knowing what I know now, I should have double-majored in geology (or geography should geology be too tough) and antiquities (because come on! That's would be so interesting). I should have gotten my master's in geospatial science-although the job market is probably better for younger, single people-which is sort of what stopped me. I would have liked the public admin master's too-I was in it for a week or so, but doubts over not having a clear path overcame me. But maybe not. I had some correspondence with graduate geology program, advisors and I certainly would have gotten into one, even without a background in geology (some math and physics will make people drool--they probably think I can do programming or something-ha-jokes on them), but really, I just wanted to go to Antarctica to study ice cores. But I think, I think, I just wanted to go to Antarctica. I think, I am much more into experience than actual scientific knowledge. And I think, that's okay. Once upon a time, I would have hated that-called it shallow, but screw that. It's a rare person who really wants to study the chemical composition of the polar ice caps. And it is okay if I am not that person. It is okay not to be the smartest or most serious. What isn't okay is this deep longing that I am supposed to do something, and not knowing what it is. Once upon a time I wanted to be a mom, just raising babies and homeschooling and being all right-wing and homemakery--where did that girl go? Was she even me? She certainly married the wrong danged people to live that lifestyle. I just---want to know the whole danged point of dreams and desire if maybe they aren't even real. Maybe they are just influenced by a book I read and a romantic notion. So weird.

What I am doing is fine. It is. I just-don't know what to do if there is nowhere for me to climb. I don't know how to stay still. I don't want to stay still. 

Red Moscato is good but so so sweet. I am just a cabernet gal, I think. 

My two gnomes are watching from the side table, wise, quiet, mystical. I hope when I sleep tonight, I fall back into the ancient dreams of wise women long-past.

It has to beat this mornings dream about cleaning out a filthy garage filled with spiders.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

November Weather

 This weekend has been a weekend of wet, falling grey skies and cooler temps. Otherwise known as November. It has been perfect. I have been lazy and homebound (mostly) and enjoying it as much as a mom of three loud, boisterous, fighting boys can. 

I am reading two books this week. Queen of Shadows is part of the Throne of Glass series, which is pretty good. I am losing steam on it, I think due to the lack of romance-I am a sucker for romance- but  I will finish. Plus I keep reading spoilers, which isn't smart, but I get impatient.

In Nonfiction, I am reading The Art of Showing Up: How to be there for yourself,  and your people. Thus far, it appears to be about knowing yourself and knowing your boundaries. It's pretty good. I struggle with the first part: the knowing yourself and your boundaries. I think the problem is, I read too much. I know I am this person, I think I should want to be this person, and if I want to meet worldly success I should be this other person. And thus, I struggle with deciding who exactly I want to be. The common-sensical side of me says, umm, girl , you aren't a spring chicken. Look at who you are and where your energy is now and it should be evident where your values lie-, but alas...I want more.

My marriage is in a weird place. My spouse and I are separated, but he lives down the hall. It's cheaper and easier for now. We still do some things together. It's a weird place to be. I will spare you the details, but my own boundaries were crossed one too many times, and I just had to put my foot down. And now we are floating in this weird limbo area. I know, realistically, I am not good at dating. I have high expectations, huge needs for independence and privacy, and yet crave intimacy and getting lost in love. I think my romantic self actually sabotages my ability to fall in love. Since I went nearly five years without a relationship when I was single in my late 20's and early 30's, I don't imagine it would be better now with more weight, an older body, and less energy. I don't like casual sex, I can't imagine 50-something men desire raising someone else's young boys. This may be it for me, romance-wise. I used to think I was just too shy or picky, but now the words, "low end of average...just a 4," keep resonating in my head. Maybe I already knew that anyway. But in this world, a girl needs to at least FEEL pretty. Well.  Maybe I will just have to place my energy and hope elsewhere. Plus the men I am attracted to are not the type who I respect in the long run. I am a mess!:)

But I love having my own room, and when my two little ones stop creeping in bed with me at night-Oh the good sleep I will get. 

But I am lonely. I am lonely, folks. I want to shop with my girls, sometimes, but don't want to be a burden, so I don't ask. I find myself thinking of how people would go calling in the past, a la Little Women, and wish there were just a designated time when we opened our houses for people. Just an hour or two once a week. I want to write a novel, but fear I have nothing to say. 

But it is delightfully Novembery, and I wonder what Anne would say about such a Novembery day. Although on P.E.I. I imagine November is more like December here. 

Next week, I really should get out and explore the world a little more. But for today, this cozy room is all I need.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The Things Which Should Be Easy


Sometimes a decision is made and the door is shut. Deciding to shut down my online kids clothing business was one of those. No real tears, no loss of real joy or passion-it was just a decision made. It was time to focus my time and finances elsewhere.

But there are some decisions which tear at the edges of your  mind. Decisions which cause one to second guess and doubt and feel real sadness. What is initially a choice of empowerment fades as reality sets in. Self-respect doesn't provide much companionship through life's daily trials and adventures. And part of your brain keeps digging for the good, the gold, the precious memories. And they were there. And you want to hold onto them and you want to keep going down the precious memory path, but the truth is, the insidious pitfalls are already set and waiting. And every time you think, one more try, you end up hurt and crying and wondering why you didn't end it when you could.

Is this a victory? It isn't a reason to gloat. It isn't a reason to celebrate. It is a loss, a closing of a door which will lead to pain. Is it the right thing to do? Who knows? Who ever knows such things? Pain and pleasure lie with every choice. Some people cling to religious texts for answers-some seek out  modern day prophets for guidance. I am just---trying for forge a path, trying to keep my eyes open. Today is a Golden early November day. But January will hit. Long, cold nights will happen. I just remind myself that I want more than companionship. more than mere coexistence. I want to be able to say what I think without fear of it coming back at me in anger. I have a lot to learn. I need to learn to temper my own words with wisdom. I fear future decades of depending only on myself and whispered prayers for companionship. I fear making a big mistake-because nothing has a clear path.

Decisions which are clear-cut on the outside are never that way when you are living them. Nothing is simple. But letting go, while keeping an open heart for the future, not always turning back and wondering what if,  must be the only path there is for someone like me.

Maybe there is no right or wrong. Just choices. Just actions and consequences. Maybe wonder at the journey is the answer.

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.


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).


Listening  Spotify:

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


Also reading:

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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.

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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 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


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


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

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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


 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?


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.


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!