posts in category books

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!

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 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?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill and the After Series

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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!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

"Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One"-Reading now



Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash






This is an affiliate post.

My most serious book this month (meaning I am going through it carefully, rather than skimming through for nuggets of help), is the book: You Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One, written by Raphaelle Giordano. I am listening to it on Audible, which means it is taking me awhile to get through it because I tend to forget about my audiobooks.

It is a self-help book, written in fictionalized form. Sort of a like a Sophie's World in self-help.


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Another book it reminds of is ... I can't remember. Basically it was a fictionalized book with a simple romance built in and a genie who told the woman how to lose weight in small steps.

In no way are you going to be fooled into thinking this book isn't what it is, a thinly disguised advice book. The character is a little too perfect-good career, 10 pounds overweight (clearly European because 10 pounds is just a barbecue away here, make it 30 pounds and I will believe). She only has one child, which makes her a little hard to relate to for me. I mean how can you complain about raising kids when you only have one?  Anyway, she meets this man who agrees to take her on as a client and give her advice to help her change her life. 

The book does what it is supposed to: helps you imagine the steps to making changes in your life. First you have to decide what you want to change, then you have to start taking baby steps towards those changes. I found myself initially disappointed, because the book came highly recommended from my online book group people, and it is pretty basic. However, I can recognize the genius in writing this way because it does help the lessons to stick a lot better than a dry step-by-step advice book. Fictionalizing it makes it memorable. 

And finally, I haven't finished the book yet. Maybe I am totally wrong, and there is a plot twist making it a true work of literature. But I doubt it.

Camille is sort of the Bella of the self-help world. She is basic and her feelings are pretty stereotypical meaning most women are going to be able to relate to her. We all have fights with our spouse and feel like everything falls on us. We all would rather have a snack and glass of wine than go for a walk in the evening. We all get bored with our kids and feel the pressure of getting stuff done rather than bonding with loved ones.

If I sound negative, it is only in my disappointment in thinking the book was something else. It is definitely useful in accomplishing its purpose: to teach people how to change their lives in a simple step-by-step way. I do recommend it if you are trying to shake up a dull existence and reach for something a little more. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

A Little Late to the Game-The Five Love Languages

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I know the picture is odd to this post, but we took it in South Dakota (with my daughter's superior camera) and it is just so peaceful.

 I know, I know. The book has been out forever. It is just so Mars and Venusy, I don't wanna be like everyone else and read the book. But I have been thinking of the miscommunications issues I have been having with my spouse and I thought, welp, I will give it a look.


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I just started thinking that maybe the way I was interacting isn't quite the what he was needing.
After taking a short quiz online, I discovered my number one love language was Acts of Service, followed by gift giving/receiving, followed by quality time. And that is true. I love it when my husband does something sweet for me. I love it when he runs a bath, or thinks up a solution to my problems (not always, sometimes, you just gotta listen to me whine), or buys me a little surprise gift. 
However, he might not feel the same. He hasn't taken the test yet, but I am predicting he will score high on words on affirmation and physical affection. Two areas I score really low on. I am curious to see what he scores, and will update this when I know for sure. 

I think however, it may explain why the things we do for each other aren't received like we think they will be. I look forward to finding out!

Update!!

So my original hypothesis was right. My husband's high scores were physical affection and words of affirmation. I guess it is true what they about men wanting to feel "respected." 

I think this is interesting, because the it gives us each insight into how to make the other feel loved. I feel like he should feel loved because I usually make (granted a mediocre and cheap-I'd rather spend my money elsewhere) dinner and do his laundry. But he'd rather snuggle and be thanked for the things he does and the work he does. Meanwhile being told I am amazing or do so much for the family, while nice from time to time, too often feels like groveling to me and makes me feel weird. Give me a bath, time alone, and some sushi, champagne, and chocolate if your goal is to make me feel special.

Which is also interesting. When I imagine love, I imagine the physical aspect and the amazing words. But when it comes to every day life, I want you to do things for me and buy me things. Ha! I don't know what that means!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What I have been reading...

Having all this time is both a blessing and a curse, isn't? Those of us who are lucky enough to work and home aren't feeling the financial strain as badly, but there are still conflicting emotions to work through and face each day.

I will tell you this blog contains affiliate links from Amazon.

Sometimes I feel like this is just an extended weekend, and other times I feel like I have been living this forever.

First and foremost, getting paid to stay home with my family is my dream come true. However, it isn't quite like I had planned it. First of all, I do have at least a couple hours of paperwork, grading, and phone calls to do every day. As a special education high school teacher my grading load might be lighter, but IEP and evaluations still have to be completed one way or another, if possible. And it's all good. I love being home. What surprises me though, is how little energy I have left for my family. Someone told my husband, he was lucky, his wife was a teacher, as if teaching my own would somehow be easy. And the answer is, "Nope." If my first grader doesn't want to practice reading (and he is learning slowly) he will throw a pillow across the room, do a karate chop kick jump, while screaming, "No." My fourth grader lives to learn-but only what he wants to learn. Science facts and experiments. Anything else is a struggle. Which sucks, because he is going to need those math skills to advance far in science. Throw in a three-year-old (and folks, my kids have ENERGY, fire and vim (wonder where they get that)), and it makes for a long day.
So yes, I have everything I want temporarily, and no, it isn't quite as I had imagined.

But between working on work stuff, blog stuff, business stuff, and family stuff, I have been trying to read as much as possible. So here are my recents reads, affiliate links, and opinions!




The Career Code This book is subtitled Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish,and Self-Made Career, and includes 27 Life Hacks Every Woman Should Master!

Combining fashion and career advice, this book would be perfect for the new graduate just starting her career! I love fashion advice, and the career advice would have been useful to me years ago, before I made a bazillion mistakes, not understanding the cardinal rule, it's who you know, not what you know. Actually, I sort of suspected that, but couldn't figure how to get to know who you needed to know, you know? Introvert failings and all. It still was a fun book to read, and I highly recommend it to the 20-something gal.

In answer to that question how you get to know who you need to know, this next book just sort of has it.

Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities that Make Us Influential

It is so good. It really takes all the stuff your gut kind of knows, throws a little research behind it, and throws it back in your face in a palatable way.







This Kindle book is just fantastic. I am only about halfway through and I have learned so much. From explaining stereotypes and how they affect us all (it helps to be white, male, and attractive), to giving real advice on how to feel and exude more power, I am treasuring this book. This book acknowledges that some people have an advantage, but (so far) I am appreciative of the helpful advice that is given to those who aren't from a most privileged spot. The main idea of this book is that influence comes from both strength and warmth. It is important to have the right balance of strength (power to get things done) and warmth (overall likeability). This balance differs depending on who you are. Men can get away with exuding more strength, but women who show too much strength run the risk of being labelled a bitch and disregarded. Too much warmth though will have you disregarded as sweet, but ineffectual. It addresses how to get the balance right in order to  boost your level of influence.

Back in the fluff department I am flipping through

Parisian Chic Look Book: What Should I Wear Today?






I got this book from the library, but it is a book which simply BEGS to be owned. With its gold foild color and its fabulous color photos of classic pieces of clothing and how to put the pieces together for certain occasions including the ubiquitous "From Office to NightClub" all the way to "At the Courthouse for my Divorce,"  it will become a classic on your fashion/self help shelf for sure!

Now we get into my latest interest, Manifestation and The Law of Attraction. This is a whole new can of worms, which I plan to do more posts on, both bookwise and discuss my passions and conflicts with the light movement, but I have just worked through these books, so I wanted to add them here.

The Magic Path of Intuition




A quick and simple read, you will find yourself refreshed and hopeful after completing this read. The stories are simple and straightforward, and it makes for a nice read sitting in the backyard watching the kids play in the sunshine.

Liquid Luck: The Good Fortune Handbook



This kindle edition is fairly short, positive, and upbeat. It is all about recognizing with gratitude the abundance which already surrounds you. I am only about halfway through. Although I haven't found anything that can't be found elsewhere, if you want an introduction or referesher into abundant living, this book would be fun to read.


The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Greatest Self




So here is what I have discovered. At this point, tapping is not for me. Now I can throw my hands up, thumbs pointed toward myself with Gabby Bernstein on Youtube, but I can't quite bring myself to tap through my anxiety. It's NOT a BAD idea. In fact, I think for many people it might be a fantastic way to get control of anxiety so they can move from the shadow to the light. But my anxiety is highly caffeine driven and sitting still tapping my body isn't my thing right now. I will keep it in mind for when I become a little more peaceful and still.The OTHER information in the book is absolutely useful.


Fiction

Now on to fiction. I have managed to get a little fiction reading in!

In the Dark, Dark Wood

Now I read this book on the kindle app on myphone, but I think fiction is best tasted with paper.




At first I felt a bit of embarrassement reading this. I guess I am a bit of a book snob, and nothing here was calling out literary genius. But I got hooked on the book anyway, pulled in by average characters who just seemed kind of cool and trying to figure out whodunnit. I do think it was predictable, but just seeing how it all unfolded made for a lot of fun. I couldn't put it down!

In An Instant




This young adult book was not what I thought! I guess I didn't carefully read the summary first, but it took a turn fast, and I was along for the ride watching it all unfold. There were characters who angered me: those who were selfish, and those who were judgemental of the selfish people. I felt Mo's character was just a bit too perfect and idealized, but overall, the book had me caring about a tidy ending and truly loving the character Chloe. It was fun to watch this family, whose real balance lay in a strong mother, fight and struggle as they grieved and learned to love again.


If you are going Corono-Crazy or just want to try something outside your comfort zone, I recommend these books. Time is a blessing and let's make the most of it.

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