Saturday, February 14, 2015

2 More Down, 46 More to Go -- The Book Challenge Continues

I have managed a head cold this week.

I blame it on my pride.  I jinxed myself.

I was sitting around a table, and I said, out loud, "I managed to escape unscathed from this ugly flu season."

As if on cue, BOOM!, I got the cold. 

Irony.  Cruel, dark irony.  

However, while I've been feeling punk, I have managed to read not one but TWO books this week.  So, there's that.  

Yay me!

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde is a sweet book of enduring love despite the odds and life paths that people take ... and it's not one of those sweet, syrupy love stories either.  It's sorta gritty, in a sweet, this-is-life-kinda way.  I feel like it's definitely a must read.  Put it on your list.  You know the one. It's longer your grocery list and TO DO list for the week combined!  

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was a book that surprised me a little bit.  Not necessarily because of the content, but yeah, that surprised me too.  However, it surprised me because it was both funny and smart -- dude!  I had to use my dictionary function on my Kindle more than once ... or twice ... or four times.  I haven't done that in a long time!  And yes, it dealt with a very weighty topic that, at first, you donn't realize you are dealing with, because it's written in a funny, almost satirical sort of way. But then BANG! it's there.  Staring you straight in the face.  I mean, get this one on your MUST READ LIST now!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

AGING LIKE FINE WINE ... OR OLDER VINEGAR

I bought cheapo reading glasses at Walmart today.

I really, really need new glasses.  I haven't had a new prescription in ... ummmm ... well, hmmmm.... when was the last time I had vision coverage?  Let's see ... hmmmm.... let's just round up and say A VERY LONG TIME AGO.

The last prescription I had was a bifocal prescription because I need both reading glasses and glasses for distance.   However, if and when I can ever afford new glasses, I will do two separate pairs.  I do not like wearing glasses all the time.  They cause skin irritations on my nose and the sides of my face.

I am blaming this on my parents.  One of them passed down the sensitive skin gene.  Thanks, guys.

However, I'm poor.  Not dirt poor.  Just "I can't afford stuff like glasses and new furnaces and new bathrooms" poor.

So, I bit the bullet and bought a pair of readers at Walmart for $5.88.

Walmart.  It's the seventh ring of hell, you all.  I'm convinced of it.  Especially on weekends.

But I digress.

I bought these readers, and you know what?  I can see stuff.  Like words and punctuation and stuff on pages. It's like the first time I got my glasses for distance and looked out at the trees and saw ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE leaves on those trees!  And dang it!  The trees had details!  Like bark and stuff.

So, yeah.  My distance sucks. Especially at night.  My night vision? Really sucks.  Who wants to ride with me the next time I am winging my way through these curvy Kentucky roads at night?  Anyone?


Saturday, February 07, 2015

FEBRUARY MANTLE

I am a week late on this one, but my philosophy is: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

My February Mantle!




BOOK CHALLENGE -- 48 MORE TO GO

Well, as I suspected, I am doing an abysmal job at trying to accomplish my book challenge goals.  This is to be expected.

I feel compelled to point out, however, that I spent two nights this week, knocking out the cleaning of The Office, which, if I may be so frank, was an undertaking of HUMONGOUS proportions.  I mean.  It was gross in here.  I could never walk in here without hurting a digit on my foot (otherwise known as toes) or other extremities.  You all ... GROSS.

However, back in December, at our last Friday Nights Book Club, just before going on hiatus for a month, we chose to read the classic novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  So, I knew I could get at least one more book logged in the challenge.

Problems arose almost immediately.  Despite the fact that this book is on just about every middle school or high school reading list IN THE WORLD, and despite the fact that I am guessing most middle school or high school person would rather hand upside down by their toenails than read this book (pure speculation on this one, dear readers), I STILL was unable to obtain a copy in hardcover or Kindle version.   I failed to remember that I am dear friends with a middle/high school teacher, who is in possession of numerous copies of said novel.  

Listen.  I teach 9 and 10 year olds.  My mind isn't what it used to be.  Need I say more?

So, as a last ditch effort, I grabbed a virtual audio copy and commenced to "reading" that.

I am going on record as saying, as a reader, as an avid reader, as a reader that has always scored WELL ABOVE average scores in Reading in my academic career ... all 21 years of it (Holy crap!  I am old ... and over-educated!), audio books?  I.  Can't. Do. Them.  

I feel that I am an above average multi-tasker.  I can do many projects at once.  Now, I am not going to say that I am good at all of them I am doing at once, but still.  I can do them. 

Listening to a book while doing ANYTHING?  Yeah.  I can't.  

So, I automatically disliked this book due to listening to it.  I am relatively sure, had I the opportunity to read it, with my eyes, I might have liked it a smidgen more. 

Having said that, I must go on record as saying that DYSTOPIAN literature?  I'm not a fan.  

A while back, our Friday Nights Book Club read another classic, George Orwell's Animal Farm, which I just LOVED in high school.  As an adult?  Didn't hold the same magic for me.  

I've come to the following conclusion: Dystopian literature resonates well with the 25 and under crowd (for the most part ... with minor exceptions).  The "old farts that are set in their way" crowd?  Not so much.

This book was CRAMMED JAMMED FULLLLLLLLLLL of symbolism, which for anyone that knows an English major well, will be able to tell you, is our bag of tricks!  WE LOVE SYMBOLISM and ALLEGORY and METAPHOR and all the stuff that goes into making us want to dissect every single word of a novel.  Seriously.  

For that reason, Fahrenheit 451 did not disappoint.  I was struck, as we all were, by how spot-on Bradbury was with his prophecies of our modern world.  Like scary spot-on, folks!  However, he wrote the book like Captain Kirk delivered his lines, which stands to reason since Bradbury created the STAR TREK business.  Just so you know?  I'm not a fan of how Captain Kirk delivered his lines.  Not at all.

Two books down; forty-eight more to go.  

Yeah, this doesn't look promising for me, y'all.....

SATURDAY MORNINGS

I am either on it or completely off of it.

There is no middle ground for me where Saturday mornings are concerned.

It seems, I spend a good deal of my early morning hours -- REALLY early morning hours -- just trying to relax and enjoy myself.

What does that look like?  Slurping coffee like I may never get it again, flipping TV stations looking for something even remotely interesting (What is up with cable channels and all the infomercials!?  This is what I pay $50 plus dollars a month for???), trying to find something remotely interesting to eat for breakfast.  This ends with me either asleep on the sofa with The Cat asleep near me.  Or, staring bleary-eyed at stupid Lifetime movies with The Cat asleep near me.

Variations of this might be a dishwasher churning or possibly even a washing machine.

Either way, most of the time, I can hear my mother in my ears saying, "Get up!  You are wasting a perfectly good day!"

I think it's because my job sucks the life right out of me.

Seriously.  I'm not trying to be melodramatic.  It's true.  I really like my job, but it sucks the life out of me.  By the time Friday rolls around, I am spent.  Gone.  Done.  Stick a fork in me.

So, when Saturday dawns bright and early (emphasis on EARLY ... like 4:30 or 5 a.m. early ... sheesh!), I am powerless to do anything about it.  Getting to the sofa and having the presence of mind to get coffee started before stumbling to the sofa, are about the extent of my abilities. It's sad, really.

Or maybe pitiful.

Either way ... Saturday mornings.  Whew!

This Saturday morning has promise, though.  It promises to be warm.  It promises to be sunny.  It promises that I might just get some much needed vitamin D!

So, I really do need to peel myself off the couch -- which I've done -- and I really do need to get active.  I need to find things that cause me to get up and get busy.

I have some errands to run.

I do have some cleaning to do.  There are things that are to be done.  I mean, I don't want to ruin a perfectly good day, right?

Plus, I need to be present.  I need to be present in my own life.

So, my darlings.  Enjoy it -- where ever you are in this little corner of the world.  It is a bright day.  It is a new day.  It is a day that you have stretched out in front of you.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

SPECTATORS

I was supposed to have a meeting yesterday after school.  The party I was to be meeting with never showed. After getting done what I needed to get done, I decided I was going to make a concerted effort to leave "at a decent time."  Considering, I am at my desk most days by 6:30ish a.m., a decent time for me was to be home by 4:00ish.

My house has been a disaster.  

There isn't one room, currently, that is close to "put together."  I get home, again, most days, and dump stuff where ever it lands.  I get dinner around and then collapse on the sofa where I don't move unless certain death is imminent, and even then, I'm going to take it under great consideration.  

Yesterday, however, more than anything, I wanted to make sure that I got control of The Situation.  For four hours, I did stuff!   And by stuff, I mean I:

  • unloaded the dishwasher
  • loaded the dishwasher
  • washed dishes
  • picked up the kitchen
  • washed four loads of laundry
  • folded four loads of laundry
  • put away four loads of laundry
  • vacuumed the kitchen, dining room, and living room
  • scrubbed bathroom sinks
  • scrubbed bathroom toilets
  • paid bills
  • cleaned out The Cat's potties
  • cleaned out the recycling bin
  • picked up the living room
By the time I finally sat down at 8 p.m., I felt accomplished.  Like I'd done something.  More importantly, I felt like I'd not been a spectator in my life. I'd actively lived my life.

I realize being Domestic Goddess Extraordinaire doesn't really seem like living, but the whole idea of just sitting there ... day after day ... watching even the tiny opportunities pass me by, hasn't been working for me either. 

I suppose it's all about being disciplined.  Ahhhh, my WORD OF THE YEAR ... DISCIPLINED.
I have a feeling that sucker is going to be popping up a lot over the course of the next 331 days.

Hey!  Whatever it takes to not be a spectator in my own life!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

LITTLE LIES

Lies .... we all tell them.

They might be little white lies ... lies of omission ... pathological stuff.  Where ever you fall in the spectrum, we all do it.

Remember Fleetwood Mac's Little Lies?


I have been thinking a lot about lies lately.

I've discovered some lies that were told to me.  Now, I consider my BS meter to be very sensitive, and I must admit, at the time the lies were told, I really suspected that they were, in fact, lies.  I mean, my track record with the person lying wasn't at all good.  There wasn't any mutual respect. I tried, in whatever I did, to show respect.  I realize it fell short.  I'm not perfect.  However, this person rarely showed respect.  There were threats, rudeness, snarky comments, accusations, but never a lot of respect.

It wasn't the lie that got me so upset.  It was the very idea that something I've done in my life would be perceived hurtful or devious to cause this person to lie, especially in light of the fact that I allowed myself to be vulnerable in front of this person.

What I realize this morning is that more than ever, it is the fact that friendships have been ruined over this person's lies.  That I have irreparably ruined friendships because of this person's presence in my life....that perhaps there would be these friendships in my life still if I'd not attempted to try to work around the lies.

What ifs ... they will eat us alive, you know?

There have also been lies of omission. I'm not upset at the lack of inclusion in events.  That isn't what I'm upset with. I'm upset that there wasn't a transparency there.

Transparency is key to trust.  Without it, I begin to lose trust ... quickly.

I'm often accused of being reticent upon first meeting me ... of being stand-offish ... of being "uppity."  I'm not any of those things, I don't believe.  I am just waiting for transparency.  I am waiting to see if I can trust you ... if you can trust me.