Book Bloggin': Charms for the Easy Life

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When I read the summary of this book, I was intrigued. After reading the book, I am not so sure it is one that I would recommend. First, I felt I battled to get through this book. I was waiting for something to happen. I felt like rather than this book being a cohesive story, it was fragmented happenings. I liken it to be like a dangling charm bracelet and the reader goes from one charm to the next rather than in one flowing circle. 

The character of Charlie Kate was interesting, but by the time I was 3/4 of the way through I was a bit tired of her always being right and a bit bored of her granddaughter’s hero worship. I mean, she was a fantastic, not-of-the-norm woman. Great. Awesome. But did that mean the other females had to be chicken livers? 

The daughter Sophia, I felt the author tried too hard to make her the opposite of Charlie Kate. At the same time however, I feel that her POV was rather swept under the rug. She was, to me, deemed as immature and therefore not as worth the trouble of getting to know.
The author routinely mentions her and Charlie Kate getting into spats, but didn’t go into the dialogue or get into her head to make her more dimensional. 

I felt like the granddaughter’s character Margaret was more developed, but frankly, she was dull. She had no pizazz. It seems as though Charlie Kate got all the vim and vigor and by the time Margaret came around she was the equivalent of a den mother before she got out of high school. Also,the romance that developed between her and the soldier was rather unbelievable. Are we really supposed to swallow whole that just because she sat and stared at the man that was cause for him to find her so fascinating he was ready to schedule a date with her, let alone 3? Farfetched is a good word to describe that situation. 

All in all, I am not sorry I read the book, but I dont think it would make it into the top ten list of books I would tell others to read.

Book Bloggin': American Ghost

I discovered this book on goodreads.com. Once I read it I could not think of a more perfect title to this book than American Ghost. The title is captivating, but once you dive in you find yourself surrounded by many ghosts, and I don’t mean the kind that yell “BOO” in the dark of night. Not only does one of the main characters, Jolie Hoyt, self identify with the label of “American Ghost”, each character has a “ghost” in their family. The ghost being a family member who was forever altered by the racial violence that existed in the American South in the 1930s.

I also feel that there are two other American ghosts in this book, a ghost who is not a person, but whose legacy can still be seen today: the violent ghost of the extreme racial prejudice that was so common for that era. The second ghost would be that of the American poor female. It is a ghost that routinely haunts Jolie Hoyt – not just because her deceased mother was one, but because it is the image that she sees in every poor woman in her small town of Hendrix.

This book is not for everyone and I HIGHLY recommend reading about it before you delve in, because like a gator in a Florida swamp, once this book has you, it won’t let go…

Just Waving Hello…

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I can hardly believe it has been over a year since I have posted a blog here. I had a few drafts in the works, but nothing concrete.  To say that I have been busy this last year would be an understatement. School and work kept me completely immersed in “to dos”. 

The upshot of it all, I graduated!! Two weeks after I graduated I found employment which, though only part-time, kept me busy and on the road. I also began spending more time with my grandparents – a topic for another post. In July, I began to work two jobs and so I was working 6 days a week. I ceased that busy schedule in October and though I am not on the road as many days a week, there seems to always be one reason or another to be on the road or not at home. 

Christmas is just around the corner and I can hardly believe it is nearly here. Tonight I had a coffee with two dear people and we reminisced about where we were a year ago. To be honest, it feels like five years ago. This time last year I had just completed a busy semester – one that included 60+ pages of writing, not to mention my capstone paper for my degree. I was already starting on the spring semester by reading a well-researched, but extremely difficult book on World War II and dreading the day that would come when I would have to discuss it. The thought of all of that even now, is enough to turn my stomach. 

So where am I now, you may ask. I am finally coming to a place of peace. It is surprising how long it has taken to arrive. I finally feel I can take one day at a time and despite being occupied with work and family related things, there is time for lunch with friends and the occasional coffee. 

I also feel as though I have done a tremendous amount of growing in the last few months. I feel like the goals I am wanting for my life are coming into focus. I also feel that because I have a clearer picture of what I want, I also have a clearer picture of what I don’t want. I know that in life we can’t always choose what have or what we do not have, but at the end of the day, many times we do have a choice. Sometimes that choice is only choosing how we look at the world, be it with acceptance of life as it is and the hope for better or with repugnance of everyone and everything in it. 

Where do you want to be in 5 years?

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Tonight I happened to read a blog entry on the website Chookooloonks.com. This website was created by Karen Walrond, who I discovered via Momversation.

I love Karen’s site and reading all that she posts. Her photography is amazing and when I read her blog entries I feel like we are sharing a cup of tea and having conversations so real they are nearly tangible in their intensity. Not to mention she has a wonderful speaking voice that I have heard many times in Momversation videos and that always helps to set the relaxed yet intense tone of her blog.

Tonight she talked about planning and asked her readers the question if we knew where we wanted to be in five years, and did we wish we did, or did we even care? Here is my response

My parents used to tell me “Want to make God laugh? Make a plan”. I firmly believe this to be true. Don’t get me wrong I have goals that I have set (and reset) for myself over the years, but I find when I plan it out, it inevitably gets twisted.

Ten years ago I would have said I didn’t know what I wanted to do or to be. I was interested in history, in teaching and I loved books. I, for the love of all, was not going to be a librarian like my mom. I had already spent six years in libraries.

Ten years later, I have my AAS in Paralegal Studies,  and I was attempting my Bachelors degree in Legal Studies. I had it all mapped out. That is until I started working in the library after a year and a half hiatus. Once I shelved my first book I knew I was home. So I changed my major and I am going to take that degree and my 14 years of library experience and I am going to get my Masters in Library and Information Sciences.

If I had to project what my life would look like in five years, I have to honestly say, I don’t know. I would like to be finished with my M.L.I.S., I would like to have a full time job with benefits, and I would like to be living on my own and sharing my life with all the people that I love and that I have connected with in the past 30 years.  I want to have people over, host the Super Bowl, and to have time to devote to things like writing and photography and crafts – things that have fallen by the wayside since I went back to school.

Will that happen? I have no idea. I’m not making any plans…

Am I happy with the idea of not making solid long term plans? Yes. As I have grown I have seen how quickly life can change and I don’t want to miss on out on beautiful moments because I was too busy focused on life’s to do list.  I am content enough to say that I want to do x, y, and z things in life and leave it at that. Are there moments when x, y, and z can’t come soon enough? Sure, of course. I am just not ready to lay down the law of a strict timeline just yet – but you may want to check back with me on that when I hit 40….

This is my kin y’all

I love my family, they have good hearts. Sometimes though, they have a little too much time on their hands. Case in point, the holidays. Every year there is at least one gag gift that goes around and usually my mother is involved – either as the giver or the recipient.

One year my aunt and my uncle gave my mom a sewing basket. As a small joke my Uncle Rich put in the basket the worst looking undershirt I have ever seen. This thing had more holes than swiss cheese. Upon giving it to her, he said that now that she had this new sewing basket, maybe she could fix his shirt.

Fix it, she did. Not only did she fix it, but she had me write a little poem to commemorate the occasion. Tonight as I was clearing out my files, I came across this ditty, and I thought I would post it here. May it gave you the laugh it gave me.

A Tale of Tatters

Oh woe is me, oh woe is me,

I came in a package three shirts apiece.

But alas when it came time for me to be clean,

I was done in by too much bleach and steam.

Now I look worn and tattered,

With seams ripped and holes scattered.

Martha and Rich gave me to Jan in her new sewing kit,

In hopes my tears she could fix.

But not even a seamstress as wonderful as she

Could fix a worn old rag such as me.

Then one night, Christmas Eve to be exact

That old lady found a use for me, now I’m all that!

Rich, in need of comfort after the long day of laughter and mirth,

Can now find some rest in his old stuffed shirt.

Jan cleverly put me inside two pieces of satin and lace,

And now I help make a comfy pillowcase.

I want to thank everyone who has helped me on my wonderful journey from the store shelves,

To the washing machine,

To Jan’s smart little scheme.

My life has been filled with adventure and dirt,

And I want you to know I will always be…

The Grateful Undershirt.

Cleaning Euphoria?

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I have spent the last three days or so clearing stuff out. I have thrown away at the very least half a dozen plus bags of garbage, and I have a half a dozen large boxes/totes and a garbage bag of clothes to take to the goodwill.  Woo hoo! Right?!? Not so much. Even with all that gone I still feel like this house is overloaded with stuff. I am so ready to have that feeling of cleaning and space euphoria and it’s not quite there. I must say I am a bit dismayed.

This means there can only be one cure. I need to get rid of more junk. It never fails to amaze me at how quickly it accumulates. I went through some of my things awhile back -specifically items to go into whatever place I am living in after this house. I managed to purge half of my collection. Afterwards I felt the most amazing sense of euphoria at what I had accomplished. I was hoping to feel that same sort of release today.

I thought by getting rid of this many things and organizing my other totes in the basement I would feel like the burden of it would be lifted, but it’s not. Ever since the end of school I have been looking to streamline the amount of stuff in the rooms that I am in the most.

Times like this I dream about the day I can move out, and what that place will look like. I am envisioning clear counter tops, book cases with minimal knick knacks – e.g. one vase. The one thing that will have “clutter” is the living room floor on movie night. Blankets, pillows, popcorn and tissues will be all over the floor. Now that is my kind of clutter.

Back on the porch

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Hello all!

Well it is offically summer in the city and I am back on the front porch, blogging. It feels as though eons have passed since I last blogged from this locale.  It is absolutely gorgeous out here tonight. It is cool and the mosquitos are keeping the humidity company in another town.

So why the porch? Because it is late. Really late, 2:30am late. I didnt want to keep any lights on in the house, so here I am. Plus, I needed some outside time, sitting in a calm and serene place with no distraction. Sometimes, even late at night when everyone is asleep, the house still has too many distractions to write.

I feel like there are about 1,000 thoughts in my head at the moment. One of them is a question I pondered two years ago in this blog. I was in my basement tonight cleaning out an old desk. Apparently in my last clearing out I neglected to get all of the memorabilia from my last relationship out as there was a card still lingering.

Did I read it? Yes. Was that wise? Probably not. I began to ask my self the same question I did two years ago, where did the love go? I am two years removed from that question, and light-years removed from the relationship, and still I can only speculate.

I think the answer is the love didn’t go anywhere. It just changed. It morphed into resentment and eventually anger and loathing. I believe this to be true because as I felt the love get smaller the others grew. Love is energy, it doesn’t die, it just transfers.

Why does it transfer? Because it has to, it’s energy and therefore always changing. Only by taking the time out to cultivate the love in relationships can it be sustained. Stop pulling the weeds of misunderstanding and resentment, and they take over the love, eroding it back into the ground. The fragments are still there, they have just taken on a new form.

To the question, can you get the love back? I don’t believe you can. It would be like resurrecting the dead, and if you have seen Practical Magic, you know that is not a good idea! But on a more serious note, why would you want it back? No matter how great the love was, for whatever reason, it turned sour. Bringing it back won’t cure the sour. It is best to look forward, move forward and let the relationship continue to evolve than to wish it were someplace else.

Just for the record, I am not wistful at the thought of my ex, Heck to the no. I don’t want to even think about that!! YUCK! I just felt like revisiting that question and seeing if my answers were still the same.

All in all I have a pretty good life. It has thrown me for a few loops this past year: a major car accident, a nasty sprain, and that was just from mid March to mid April.  It has left me with a desire to reorganize my priorities a bit.

Normally, I do try to be a “what is” kind of girl versus a “what if” kind of girl. Tonight though, the cool night air has my mind wandering over to the ifs in life.

I think I need to be a police officer.

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I really do think I need to be a police officer. Yesterday driving to work I saw more traffic violations on in less than ten minutes than I care to think about. From illegal u-turns to erratic driving to throwing trash off the side of an overpass, I was completely irriatated at what I witnesses. If I had been a cop, it would have been a busy morning.

There are two things that I would be sure to ticket. One, people who do not use blinkers. To merge sans blinker is incredibly dangerous. The people behind you need to know what you are doing! You are not God, and you cannot just expect people to read your mind and know that you suddenly one to be one or two lanes over.

The second thing I would ticket – drivers who do not stay in their lane when making a left hand turn.  I have had the stuffing sacred out of me more than once while sitting in a left hand turn lane. I have witnessed many drivers, who while making a left hand turn from an adjacent direction, want to drive in their lane and mine. To compensate, when I am the first car in a left hand turn lane, I don’t pull up to the line. This way if the driver coming at me from my right wants to execute part of her turn in my lane, my front end will still be intact.

I have decided that when I finally get a full time job and am able to settle down a bit, I want to live no more than twenty minutes from my employment. The less time I spend on the road, the better.

A Question of Faith

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There has been a post looming in my mind for some time. I am not sure what It will be titled, or how it will come together. The only thing I have that is solid is a topic – faith and spirituality.

As any reader of this blog knows I have a lot of faith and I am very much a spiritual person. In this last year all of it was put to the test. Looking back I can’t say I walked away unscathed. My spirituality took a hit. Each night I would go to sleep  in my bed I would pray and cry (if I fell asleep in the recliner I didn’t pray – I slept there a lot).  I must say I began to grow weary of praying, knowing that it would lead to tears because I didn’t know how the events of my life would turn out.

So what changed you ask? The way I feel when I pray. I used to feel like I had this direct line to God. It was a fiercely strong connection. Now, that feels absent. I feel like my prayers are like dandelion fluff and they are going out into the prayer universe.

I feel like this past year I should have a stronger connection to Him. A connection that I could have had, but relied too much on my own capabilities to get through hard times rather than handing it over to God. I just couldn’t let go. I couldn’t let go of the certainty of the anxiety that I felt and let it go into the uncertainty of God.

“The uncertainty of God”, is a powerful phrase. Since when did I start believing that God was uncertain? I don’t, I am sure I don’t. If I don’t, then why did I just say it?

I know that God is out there and I know I can pray. I think the events of this last year have just left me feeling unprotected and vulnerable. I remember after the car accident not being able to take the good things and really appreciate them because I was too focused on the stinking pile of mess that was the rest of my life.

This past weekend I ran into a man who I have known all my life. We used to go to the same church and he was talking to my Mom about retirement and asking her when she was going to retire. My Mom showed hesitancy. (Rightly so, she is very active in her work and she enjoys it and the people. There is no reason for her to quit just yet.) Our friend took one look at her face and said that if it was money that she was worried about, she shouldn’t be.  He proceeded to tell us how that was a concern for him and he had prayed about it. He said that God said to him, “Who do you have faith in, Me or money”?

That is a very powerful question. Who do I have more faith in, God who has seen me through, or myself, who is not all-knowing and all-seeing? Is it even a matter of faith, or is it a matter of trust? I have faith that God is there, but maybe it is just my trust in Him that is failing. The trust that He is really going to avert me from disaster and I won’t have disaster after disaster land on my head again.

The trust of disaster aversion is important. Is it the most important thing? Maybe not, maybe what is more important is the soft place to land after disaster has struck.

That will be something to ponder on tonight after I have prayed….and cried.

Media and Politics

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I have posted on here before of my opinion of news sites and what they choose to post. More often than not I find myself rolling my eyes rather than feeling educated. Today I went in search of Mitt Romney to find out more about his platform and what people are saying.

Was I greeted with Romney news? Sure, after I look past Weinergate: A Tale of a Man, A Camera, and Twitter. The top, not one, two, or three, but FOUR, news stories were about Congressman Weiner and how his Twitter account was hacked and a picture of him in his underwear became Twitter-fare. It might be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

How is it possible that in this country where we have the greatest informational resources known to man, what comes over the wire is a story of a man who has taken a lewd photo? Now I know some will say that he says he didn’t take it. I will believe as soon I see an elephant fly. The man never denies having not taken a photo like that, and regardless of whether or not he sent it, I believe that it is him. Let his lawyers prove otherwise.

For me this issue calls to mind many questions.

1. As a political figure, why on earth would you take a photo of yourself in your underwear? That is just stupid.

2. Why would anyone take a photo of themselves like that? I get it, long distance relationships create tough times for couples, but after seeing time and again, photos like this surfacing, why take the chance?

3. What does this say about us as Americans that not only are we giving this man the spotlight for an image that, frankly needs only be seen by his wife, but that it has taken over the political sections of news websites over and above a man who has just announced his run for the leader of the free world.

Only in this country could a man, his underpants and Twitter trump the issue of the presidency.

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