Tuesday, March 31, 2015

4 MORE TO ADD TO LIST ... ONLY 42 MORE TO GO!!! THE GOAL CONTINUES

I have read four more books!  I am so proud of myself,and I am SOOOOO in love with my Kindle. Go ahead.  Wind up the "I TOLD YOU SO's."  I deserve it.

For your information, I have read MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa TerKeurst, AFTER HER by Joyce Maynard, THE BEST MEDICINE by Tracy Brogan, and GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER by Lynn Cahoon.

So, let me get the cheesiest of the list out of the way first.  THE BEST MEDICINE?  Soooooooooooo chock full of cheese, I needed some chips.

Okay, that line I just wrote?  Cheese city.  But y'all, the romance genre?  I am really, really not a fan.  However, every so often, I need a book that doesn't require me to think, and this one fit the bill.  Plus, this author, a Michigander, sets her novels in Michigan, and she gave a nod to my alma mater, Albion College, so there's that.  If you need a beach read that allows you to turn your mind off, pick this (or any of her other books) up.

Second to the cheesiest, is GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER.  I do enjoy a mystery, and this was a good, old-fashioned, non-mind-blowing, but still mildly entertaining mystery.  The first half of the book had me yawning, due to the cheese, but the second book, I enjoyed.  It's a series, so I will probably read the rest for kicks and giggles and funsies.

MADE TO CRAVE?  This is a non-fiction title -- not my favorite genre.  However, it was a book I needed to read ... a book that nailed me between the eyes ... it got me thinking ... it made me reevaluate ... it made me realize how much I needed the DISCIPLINE this year.  OY VEY!  Isn't it fun when God does that?

Finally, I end with Joyce Maynard's book AFTER HER.  I have to admit, I was super excited to read this after enjoying LABOR DAY soooooooo, so, so much.  However, I was severely disappointed in the first 60 to 70% of the book.  It wasn't until the end that I was all, "OH!  I get it!  Now, I understand why she spent the first 60 to 70% of the book writing it as she wrote it!"  Getting that made the book that much more enjoyable for me.

This is my third Joyce Maynard novel I've read, and I must say, she's definitely a good, solid author.  I highly recommend her.

Well, folks, off to read some more.  It's Spring Break, after all, and I don't feel the least bit guilty for cuddling up to some more titles.

Happy Last Day of March!


APRIL MANTLE

This month's mantle is a bit understated.  I kept some things I used in the March mantle, and I added some other things.  My basement is beginning to look like the place where all decorating stuff goes to die!  The bins, y'all!

My ode to Easter, however, is now ready to be viewed.  Enjoy!





Sunday, March 29, 2015

VACATION

I went to writer's group today.  These get together's are always interesting.  There are times I feel like I am a fish out of water.

Sometimes, I feel like I have nothing in common with many of these folks.

For starters, they are older than me.  That shouldn't really matter as I'm an old soul and seem to get along better with the octogenarian set, than my own set.

But these people are, how should I put this?  More traveled than me.  I have knick-knacks sitting around my house that I've collected at flea malls and garage sales and antique stores.  These people have family heirlooms and little pieces of art that they've picked up in Norway and the Netherlands and Russia and Italy and the 80 million other places that require a passport.

I don't even own a passport.

My adventures are limited ... to braving the grocery store (Walmart on Saturday, if I want a real adventure) and dealing with fourth graders and managing an unmanageable cat and well, there's the matter of the non-existent travel fund ...

So, today, when the retired librarian (who will actually have a full retirement by the time she dies because the state had a fully funded teacher retirement back in the day when government didn't rob Peter to pay Paul ... or however that saying goes) asked me why I wasn't going on a Spring Break trip, my lame excuse was, "Oh well, my closets needed cleaning."

I mean, they do.  OH. BOY. DO. THEY. EVER.  But honestly, the truth of the matter is that I can't afford a trip somewhere exotic where a bathing suit is required.  By the looks of things, I will never be able to afford it, seeing as I will be teaching until I die because the government now happily robs Peter to pay Paul ... my teacher retirement probably won't be around by the time I need it.  My money is going to some Joe Blow in some county on the other side of the state.  Good Ole Joe is going to Jamaica on my dime.  Enjoy, Joe!

Facebook is full of amazing trips right now ... cruises and beach vacations  ... with smiling, slightly sunburned faces just screaming, "LOOK AT ME!!  I AM SOME WHERE WE LIKE TO CALL HEAVEN, AND YOU AREN'T!!! LUCKY US!!!"

I guess I just look at vacations differently than most.  Shoot! I look at every thing differently than most.  To me, a vacation is my butt in the sand on Carp Lake with a pile of books that will take me through two weeks.  I don't need a fancy place ... just a clean cabin with plenty of sun on that heavenly lake.

When I sit quietly and concentrate really hard, sometimes I can still hear that water lapping lazily on the shore line, the scent of Copper Tone mixing with sand and sweat and campfire.  My heart aches for those days again.

I am not sure what the future holds for me, but perhaps, there will once again be lazy beach vacations on my beloved Carp Lake or Lake Michigan or some other quiet location away from the happy, happy smiley, smiley families dying to show Facebook how awesome their family vacations are.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

LOSING MYSELF

This blog is going to be a tough one to write.  Might be a tough one for you all to read.  Or maybe not.  Who knows ...

I have been struggling for a while on whether I should even write it or not ... but everything tends to come out in my writing eventually ... kinda like the wash, right?  Everything comes out in the wash?  Get it.

Never mind.

I've struggled with depression for most of my life. There.  I said it.  Of course, there was a time that I didn't recognize it as such.  I just knew there was something horribly wrong.  As a child, I went through a period of time where it was really, really bad.  As an adult, I finally recognized it as such, but I had a "I got this" attitude toward it.  Except, I didn't have it.  Not by a long shot. I'd have these funks that I would fall into, and they weren't any fun.  At.  All.  The highs were high; the lows were really low.  Emotional melt-downs were par for the course, too. It's probably a blessing in disguise that I wasn't married, because I am relatively sure that it would have ended in divorce ... or at the very least, MAJOR marriage counseling due to my inability to contain said emotions.

It wasn't until a pointed conversation with my mom, wherein she practically begged me to chat with my physician, that I finally got the help I needed to navigate this depression thing.

Lest you think I was a half step away from dropping my basket, I wasn't ... least ways, I don't think I was.

I was just in a funk for a good 30 or so years.  I just covered it well ... to most people ... least ways, I THINK I covered it.  Perhaps, it explains a multitude of stuff that you've noticed in this blog over the years, no?

At any rate, I just needed a teensy bit of medical intervention, and once I had that, life leveled for me, in ways I never realized it could be leveled.  I had a new normal, and it has been AWESOME!

In coming out of my fog, I've realized that over and over again, I've lost myself in stuff ... in the craziness of my job ... in the stress of my job ... in the issues of others that surround me ... in the expectations others ... in the expectations of society ... in the things I THOUGHT I wanted ... in the thoughtless words of others ... in the ugliness of this life ... some how, I have managed to lose myself in the cacophony of noise that seems to be ever present now. TV, RADIO, SOCIAL MEDIA, white stinking noise that clouds my head.  I've lost myself.  In fact, I've smothered myself.

Last week, as I was preparing for Snowmageddon 2.0, I sat down to watch yet another television show ... I watch  A LOT of tv, y'all.  Gotta break that habit, but I digress ...  

Nashville ... it's a guilty pleasure, and dang it!  I can't normally stay up to watch it, but I did this time, and they had a song that just grabbed my attention and wouldn't let it go.  It caught my attention because, A.) it was sung by the Stella Sisters, these crazy talented kids I just love to listen to ... KIDS, I tell you! and B.)  The opening lines of the song just tickled my writer's brain ... they are AWESOME lines ... just painting an amazing picture ... "You were the girl, with blazin' heart on fire, free as a dress in the breeze, hanging on a laundry line, in sunshine." 

Right?! Are those not the coolest lyrics?  I mean, who ever came up with those ... they are genius.  Just pure genius!

Today, I actually sat down and listened/read the lyrics.

Duuuuuude!  I was blown away, because this song?  It. Was. Talking. About. Me. Not even joking.

We each have passions in our lives, and somewhere in the mess of life, we get knocked down, and it can be a bear gettin' back up.

To be honest with you, I could blame a bunch of folks for throwing those punches and knocking me down.  There's a laundry list, y'all.  But when it all comes right down to it, I think, like the lyrics say, I've been fighting with myself. Somewhere in the midst of the fog ... the busyness of life ... the stuff we're doing while we're making those plans ... yeah, I've lost track of me.

Ugh!  I hate myself for even writing that cheese, but seriously, it's true.  I've lost sight of stuff.  I've lost sight of me.

It's time to pick myself up.  Dust myself off.  Kick off the dirt and grime.  Remember what it is that makes my creative juices flow, what makes me smile, what makes me breathe, and get after it.  Life is short, and while I could sit here and wallow in the amount of it I've wasted, it isn't going to do anyone any good.

Time to light it back up!






Tuesday, March 03, 2015

I WILL OWN DISCIPLINE!

February didn't go so well.

If you want to know the truth, January didn't go so well either.

I wasn't sure March would be any better, and then I saw MCFARLAND, USA.  Y'all, if you've not seen this movie, you must.  Period.  End of story.

There are SOOOOOOO many lessons to be learned from this Disney movie.   Listen, I am both a literature student and an educator.  Picking apart books and movies, the analysis of such things?  It's going to happen.  It is ABSOLUTELY going to happen.


What I walked away from last night was that my life has been a cake walk compared to so many others in the world ... heck!  In this country!  My American Dream is so much different from so many others.  My dream has come true.  Others?  Still just an unapproachable dream. What hit me the hardest was that despite all my whiny attempts to validate why things don't happen, the characters I met in this movie had so much more discipline than I ever dreamed of having. Many of those kids picked in the early morning hours, headed off to school, spent a full day in classes, headed back home to pick some more, and then had cross country practice all before doing their homework!

Yeah, I have a lot to learn from those whose American Dreams are so further out of reach for them than mine.

I've been inspired.  I've been convicted.  I will strive to better this month.  I have to.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

February Discipline Update

Well, it's Sunday, March 1st.  Were you aware of that?  That it's March first already?

There I go again .... blinking.

So, DISCIPLINE ... yeah, not so much.  I wish it was easier, being disciplined.  It's sooooo much easier being a lazy schlub, you know?

I'm STILL at my highest weight.
My house is still not completely clean and organized.
My difficulty with staying up past, oh, you know, 7 p.m., is still a problem.
I still struggle with portion control and television consumption and every thing that just isn't good for me.

Progress is slow, y'all.  SLOOOOOOOOW.

It hasn't helped that it has been so cold and snowy and dreary and just plain yuck outside.  It also doesn't help that work has been difficult and frustrating and defeating and just blaaaah.

The struggle is real ....

However, in a moment of brilliance today, I decided to reorganize my dresser drawers.  I read some where just recently that if you put the clothes UP instead of stacking on TOP of each other, you allow yourself more room ... plus, you can SEE everything in your drawer.

Y'all!  This is pure brilliance!  BRILLIANCE!!!

Here is the finished product of my three dresser drawers.




MY MARCH MANTLE

Here is my March Mantle ... on the first day of March, no less!  Check my organized self!!!

I really like how this turned out.  An homage to the "green" holiday without being kitschy and cliche.  The bonus is that MOST of the items on the mantle were found items in my home. I rounded them out with the floral accents and the fabric for the banner.