I’m Reading


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I’m going to try to write one of these every week. First, it gets me writing. It gets me past any writers block with an easy post that doesn’t take a ton of time from school. Second, it holds me accountable for reading a book a week. Granted, some books really do take a long time to read even when I am keeping up on my reading. But unless the book I’m reporting on is 500+ pages, give me the stink eye if I report the same book two weeks in a row. Other weeks I might report on 3 books because each book alone was a 3 hour read.

As we speak it is 3:04 on what is to be Tuesday morning.  This post goes live in 7 hours.  A little less, really.  I am just now finally beginning A Separate Peace.  Which, I know.  But I’m hoping to have it nearly read by the time this goes live.  So cross your fingers for me?

I did manage to finish The Fitzgerald short stories!  It’s not that I didn’t like them, it’s just that every time I became invested in them, the story would end and I’d have to reinvest.  And not all the stories were as worthy of the investment as others.  So it was a long and drawn out read.  But I finally decided it was time I finished and finish I did!

The bible was on target but so confusing.  My mom asked what version I was reading and I didn’t have an answer but I think the version she’s handed me will be easier for a beginner reader.  I think after this week’s novel, which was last week’s novel, I’m going to get caught up on the bible.  Or at least try.  We shall see.

You are welcome to find me and friend me on Goodreads if you would like to see my read, to-read, and currently reading lists. It’s a great site for finding great books. And I love going to the library and pulling up my to-read list. I have also made both a list of books I own and a list of books I want to be sure to buy, which is very handy when I’m browsing Half Priced Books clearance shelves.

I have not been paid to promote anything with this post. The only thing I aim to promote is my love of reading and I have not been paid anything. Unless you want to pay me. Then you’re welcome to. Didn’t think so. *wink*

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I’m going to try to write one of these every week.  First, it gets me writing.  It gets me past any writers block with an easy post that doesn’t take a ton of time from school.  Second, it holds me accountable for reading a book a week.  Granted, some books really do take a long time to read even when I am keeping up on my reading.  But unless the book I’m reporting on is 500+ pages, give me the stink eye if I report the same book two weeks in a row.  Other weeks I might report on 3 books because each book alone was a 3 hour read.

 

I’m a little bit each day, making my way through The Holy Bible.  I have an app on my phone that breaks it down for me so that as long as I stick to the program I’ll have it all read through by the end of the year.  We’ll see.  I imagine I’ll have some catch-up days.  But, I’m totally counting it as one of my books read this year towards my goal of 52.

I’m still slowly pouring over a collection of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I need to get this book done by the 10th, is my goal.  I don’t even get to add it to my 2014 count because most of it got read in 2013.  I was hoping to have it done by the end of 2013.  But no such luck.  I got distracted.  That and I kept putting it aside to read other, amazing, books.

My real book for the week is A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I’m not nearly far enough in to grant you an opinion.  I’ll offer that on next week’s reading update.

You are welcome to find me and friend me on Goodreads if you would like to see my read, to-read, and currently reading lists.  It’s a great site for finding great books.  And I love going to the library and pulling up my to-read list.  I have also made both a list of books I own and a list of books I want to be sure to buy, which is very handy when I’m browsing Half Priced Books clearance shelves.

I have not been paid to promote anything with this post.  The only thing I aim to promote is my love of reading and I have not been paid anything.  Unless you want to pay me.  Then you’re welcome to.  Didn’t think so. *wink*

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The following is not a paid review, but I was given a free copy of the book and CD for the purpose of reading, enjoying and sharing my thoughts with you, my readers.  Everything I have to say is of my own opinion.  After years of people being convinced I should pitch scrap-book software and the likes to you all, I was honored to be approached with this offer.

Twenty-Six and a half years ago, Pat Engebrecht lost her daughter to Borderline Personality Disorder.  At the age of 29, after years of failed attempts, many hospital stays, struggles with sexuality and the loss of an eye from a police shooting to the face in a hospital parking lot, and a life lived with mental pain and anguish, LauraJo succeeded in taking her own life.  She had a life filled with success as she was an accomplished tennis star, writer, musician, artist, friend, daughter, sister.  But as we are all too aware, sometimes that isn’t enough.

Depression knows no reason.  You can’t tell the angry or sad voice in you that you have too much going well for you to be this hurt.  If it chooses to sink its claws in you, love is not always enough.

25, 30 years ago, BPD was only just emerging in the world of mental health diagnosis.  Too few saw it as a legitimate diagnosis and those who did simply didn’t know how to treat it.  30 years later, to be honest, we aren’t much better off.  Even with DBT and the latest medication there to offer, for all too many, BPD is a death sentence, and most of us are terminal.

Our own hands leave those floundering over our loss, wondering what went wrong.  Could they have done anything different?  What caused our mental anguish?  What were we thinking?

These days we have the online world of blogs to try to show the inner workings of our minds.  30 years ago, LauraJo had her journals.  What we put on public display, LauraJo kept locked up in a chest she crafted with her own hands.  It was 2 decades before her mother, Pat, could bear to open the journals and read them.  Inside was the inner workings of a suffering mind.  The ups and downs chronicled in painful detail.

Pat took those journals, added her thoughts and details of what was going on in her daughter’s life at the time of each entry, and created a book that she hopes, and I know, can make a difference.

I know in my heart that if LauraJo had lived to see the internet, she’d be fighting the fight of awareness and proper treatment, while helping to fight stigma, along with us.  However, we lost her 10 years too early.  In her place we have this beautiful work.

A book showing that despite popular opinions of her time and ours, BPD isn’t always a result of poor parenting.  A book showing mothers, fathers, and friends that their love was received, but the hurt went further than any amount of love could fix.  It shows those of us who might be contemplating suicide exact how those we love will be effected.  “No one will even miss me.  They’ll be better off without me.”  This book is 304 pages of evidence that we’ll always be missed, by all those we have touched with our lives, and no one is ever better off without us.

Pat took the pain of the loss of her amazing daughter, and used it to create a book that shows us how suicide effects all those left behind, how suicide can happen despite love and success, and the inner working of a troubled mind.

This book is not an easy read.  No book on the subject ever could be.  I had to read it in bits and pieces as my heart broke a little more with each page.  Broke for a daughter in so much pain with life, and a mother in pain with the loss of life that even she saw coming.  She fought so hard to keep her daughter with her, but reader and mother alike knew it was only a matter of time.

Please go get this book.  There is a CD of LauraJo’s music out there as well.  I recommend listening to the CD first and then during as a companion.

This book will move you.  This book will break your heart.  This book will show you what it’s really like.  It’s real.  It’s uncensored.  It has heart, hurt and loss.

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Mostly parents because it was a long time since we were grade school with our noses in books.  Though if you can remember back that far, by all means chime in!

I’m looking for books that my boys have to read!  I want book ideas for my nearly 10-year-old, whom reads at a 6th grade level, but has a 10-year-old’s interests, to read to himself, or with me.  Assume he’s reading it to himself, I may join in.  I can’t keep up with the rate he consumes though.

I’m looking for books to read to my 5-year-old.  He and I just finished up with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  He wanted to devour it faster than I could keep up with, meaning he isn’t afraid of a long book to have momma read.  I’m not looking for books to teach him to read with.  I’m looking for books I will read to him, and he’ll learn to see the story in his head.  Learn to follow along and understand what is going on.

And, if you have suggestions that will appeal to both and I can read them to both, by all means!

So, what do your kids aged 5-10 read?

What did you read?

I have some ideas on the to-read-list, but there is no such concept as too many books!

 

(On an unrelated note: Please join me this Tuesday evening at 8PM EST on twitter for my first ever #GeekParty!  If you follow that link it will pull everything with that hash-tag, allowing you to follow along even if you aren’t following all the party goers.  And as an added bonus, you can send tweets from that field and it’ll automatically include the party tag!  Everyone is welcome, invite a friend.  42 metaphysical geek points as a door prize for all!)

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On the 19th of March, my mom, sister and I piled into my mom’s car and drove.  Her GPS “Maddy” took us the scenic route past farms, cows, horses and trains, without an interstate in sight.  But we were in no hurry.  We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 2 hour drive.

We got to the bookstore in Dayton with plenty of time, so we parked the car and decided we’d go into the bookstore to look around, and find out event details.

Around this time, I realized my husband had given me a 50 with the idea that he didn’t like me wondering so far from home without any sort of cash.  I sent him a quick note warning him he’d set me loose in a bookstore with cash.  He made it clear he had been aware longer than I had, of the situation, and that I would indeed owe him.

There was one survivor.  He goes by Washington.

Funny how all three of us bookworms didn’t really realize that the book signing in a book store would involve, you know, many, many books.  I think we blocked that part out in our quest.

Our quest to meet The Bloggess.

After we spent ourselves broke, we wandered to a nearby subway for an early dinner and then a few other shops to poke around.  But with only an hour and a half left before the signing started, we made our way back to the bookstore to find our place in line.  With a heads-up from the vixen Dawnie, I knew we needed to be there well in advance.  We were the second group in line, but it grew well before 6, when we could find seats.  By the time The Bloggess was presented at 7, it was standing room only.

We had front row seats.  Score!

The Dayton reading had the privilege to be the audience that was not allowed to witness a single curse word, as she read a chapter from her book.  So Jenny, in advance, set about finding the chapter with the fewest F-bombs, and friends.  The winning chapter had only 12 words that needed replaced with hippopotamus.  You heard me, hippopotamus.  But oh you should have heard her!

We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.

Then we single file got to meet the Goddess that is the Bloggess and have her sign our books.  Our coveted books of inappropriate hilarity.  I was lucky enough to be able to have 2 copies signed.  I bought the paperback version for myself (with a new bonus chapter, yo!) and had my older hardback version signed for my good friend Lisa who was spending the day back in Columbus growing older.  No, seriously, it was her birthday.  When I mentioned this to Jenny, she was sure to wish her a happy birthday in writing.  Lisa is one lucky hippopotamus!

We are all very lucky hippopotamuses.  Not just that this book has been written by someone so very real and honest and inappropriately hilarious.

But that this single person could make it clear to all of us who are so very isolated and alone, that we are in fact one of millions and not so different after all, is something we all needed.  We aren’t the only one with chronic pain.  We aren’t the only one with crippling anxiety.  We aren’t the only one with depression so bad we can’t leave our bed for days if not weeks.  We aren’t the only one who has cut to feel something.  We aren’t the only one.  You, I, Jenny.  We are all so unique but in the ways we need to be the same, to not be alone, Jenny has made it clear we are a community.  She has given us that gift.

So we are very lucky hippopotami indeed!

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My disinterest in New Years has been noted here before.  Usually with angst.  But as angst clears, stable reigns, and my disinterest continues, I can only conclude that it’s just not my holiday.  As such my drive to do an epic post recapping the last year just isn’t there.  And I loath resolutions.  I suppose it’s because most resolutions I see people make, end up being broken.

I suppose the problem with resolutions is that they are fueled by the fire of having to buy a new calendar.  People seem to think that this purchase will be the inspiration needed to change the core of their being.  And to make it all the more notable, they decided that they are going to change many things at once.  They are going to start a diet, join the gym, and stop smoking all on the same day.  The things is?  Join the gym and the rest might well follow.  After all, working out 1-3+ times a week makes you actually want to not put the time and sweat to waste.  Eating right, can fuel a desire to work out.  You’re denying yourself cake but you still have flabby arms, might as well do something about them too.  But start all 3 on the same day and you’ll burn out in a blaze a glory at the first aerobics class inspired nicotine and sweet tooth craving.  Funny how that works.

So, it is safe to say, I don’t make the false promises to myself or anyone that others call a resolution.

Doesn’t mean 2013 won’t bring me change.

While we may not be resolving to completely change our diets, Pat and I are at least steering it to consistency.  Inspired by both a need to fix Pat’s stomach issues, and regulate our food budget, we have put together a meal plan.  I almost added “of sorts” to the end of that, but no, it’s actually very specific.  Even with allowing 2 set days a week to be “dude fuck the menu” nights, each night for the next month is set.  Tuesdays will feature red meat.  Wednesdays are vegetarian featuring salads or pancakes.  Thursdays are homemade soup or rice based.  Fridays are pasta, fast and easy after a long day.  Saturdays are chicken whether shaked and baked or covered in sauce.  None of this is designed to be low in carbs or calories.  But it’s preset, will bring us together to the table, and the consistency should do wonders for Pat’s digestive system and our pocket book.  Even if it just means we need to plan to drop 200$ on food out of my pay check mid month.  We have 25-30 meals preplanned.  Some assigned nights, some set as alternatives.  And even if every Friday is pasta, with 4-5 different pasta options, it won’t get old.  Just consistent.

Along with this comes rules.  Not that we spent much of the government’s allotted food budget on crap, from here on out, all ice cream, candy and other goodies come out of my pay checks.  If we can’t afford it from those, we can’t afford it at all.  The only exception being if I can pull it out of my oven after putting it together from scratch.  A bag of powdered sugar/white sugar/flour lasts quite awhile and at 2-3$ a pop, isn’t a budget breaker.  Assuming, of course, I’m only buying them a couple times a year.  We also have a master list of the basic staples that we are sticking too, allotting only for common sense based exceptions, especially in the first few goes.  If I forgot to put bread on the master list when I made it, obviously bead can be bought.  And I might want to remember to add it to the list.  Again, hopefully this will fuel a huge change in our kitchen and our pocket book.

We assume we need to alter things as we go.

I’m also hoping that this consistency will lead to more green things fresh from the ground on the table, and other such tweaks as we go.  Even if it’s just substituting this slightly healthier cut of meat for that one.

Ah the gym.  The holidays prevented me from being as diligent there as I would prefer.  I’ve worked too many Wednesday mornings, and there were a couple set days they were simply closed.  We’ve also had some winter storms that have made the extra miles in the car not worth it, even for the gym.  But when I am able to go and when I’m able to go 3 times a week, I do notice a huge difference in my pain levels.

I haven’t taken anything for pain in about a month.  Give or take a few days.  I didn’t exactly mark my last pain pill in a book.  This isn’t to say I’ve spent the month pain free.  But it has been greatly reduced by working my joints with the weight machines, and the times I have hurt, I’ve resisted the pills (even though 99% of the time they were over the counter crap before anyways) because I know they don’t work well enough to be worth the ulcers they give.  Just ask Pat.  At least now with it being just me, my body, and the evil goodness I do to my body in the gym, I can better track what hurts and what helps that hurt.  Which, by-the-way, is the best motivation there is to make sure I get to the gym.  That and it’s a great way to work out aggression.

Speaking of the gym, I made it back to the climbing gym a couple weeks ago, and while there I made it to the top of a wall.  I’d been close before, but never all the way up.  I almost made it to the top of a second section, but my foot kept needing a hold that it kept slipping from and that unnerved me.  I may not have problems with heights, but I do take serious issue with falling.  I’m not done though.  I will go back and try and try again.  I may not be the next spider man, but it is fun and the pride I get from reaching the top is well worth the bruises.  I’m also excited to get back out in a kayak starting in the spring.  Lisa is still my adventure coach, we’re simply biding our time for the weather to break from the cold and warm enough that we don’t risk frost bite. Kayaking and snow don’t mix.

As far as work goes, since Lisa segued me into that, I’m contemplating a move towards a higher position.  I don’t really want to discuss the position yet.  I’m not sure I’m going to make the move so I don’t want to start a whole “good luck omg that would be awesome blah blah blahathon” just yet.  In a lot of ways, yes it would a good step towards my future, but it will also complicate some other areas.  It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other.  That being said, it is one of two of the next logical, linear steps in my career progression, so I imagine I’ll put in the application tomorrow.  Even then, there is no guarantees I’ll get the position.  I may be deemed not ready.  And I’ll be fine with that.  I don’t want to be given a position they don’t know if I’m ready for, just to prove I’m not ready and flame out in a fireball of having lost the bank a few grand.  If holding me back longer to gather more experience allows me to get it next time and hold onto it, and my job in general, then I’ll defer to their judgment and not begrudge it.

I also have to keep in mind I start school on April 29th.  Even going part time, the increase in stress at work paired with starting school may not be awesome.  I know I could do it and be fabulous if I pushed myself, but with me being comfortable enough where I’m at, I’m not being pushed by this drive for MORE POWER.  So I can take my time and ease myself into school without having to ease myself into a promotion at the same time.  Also?  Stable mental health is a beautiful thing.

But again, this is still a good, logical, eventually needed anyway, step in my progression at work, so I’m not going to not try for it.  I’m just also not going to stress over what happens if I don’t get it.  If I don’t get it, the only thing that will happen is that things will stay the same.  And with things being pretty damn good as they are now, I’m OK with that.

Heh.  I make it sound like I don’t want this promotion.  I actually do.  Just a different kind of want.  This isn’t a fire driven by obsession.  It’s a fire driven by a general desire to better myself.  Both burn bright, just different.  Both will have me apply, one will just leave me OK if I’m deemed not ready.  That is a good spot to be in.

I do, indeed, start school in a little less than 4 months.  Which seems so far off yet really isn’t.  Not the way time is flying.  I’ve already been given credit for the classes I took at CSCC.  I have one writing based (heh) test to take, and then I’ll be ready to start scheduling.  I also need to fill out my financial aid paperwork, but I can’t do that until February.  The placement test I can take much sooner.  I just have to see if I can find a proctor to take it at the local library with, or if I have to go downtown instead.  I’d prefer to avoid that as much as possible.

I’m fairly concrete that I’m working towards the business economics major.  It’s that or business management.  However, economics will cover the important part of the management courses, but management only dabbles into the economics.  I’m also looking forward to the economics.  Call me crazy… though I do believe the primary topic of this site did so for you.  I suppose I’m a bit of a numbers geek.  I also suppose that’s why I wanted a bank job/career.  Still heart broken that none of my coworkers love math as much as I do.  Go figure.  Gives me the self boost when my boss comes to me to solve a math equation for her for one of many reports.  To her well deserved defense, she was having an off day.

I’m diving into building my own personal and social life.  Defining Karen.  With the holiday season behind us, Lisa and I are renewing our commitment to our weekly girl’s nights.  Stacy and I are back at our twice a month plans.  And in my free-time, I’m devouring books and TV online.  Game of Thrones is a long but amazing read. Sheldon Cooper is a doof.  Also possibly my hero.  I’m sick and twisted that way.  I have, btw, combined the two (reading and BBT) and I have a good dozen books waiting to be read that promise to teach me some physics.  I’ve always been curious, Big Bang was just the final push.  Ironically, none of the books will cover string theory.  Oh well, they will be a start.  But I have about Twenty-five library books, and one borrowed from a friend, waiting to be read, so really how I have time to write out this post is beyond me.  Also, that’s probably the reason you haven’t seen me much.  Books and the Big Bang.

That and I’ve been too stable to have any drama to blog about.  Woe is me?  Yep.  I was put on, by choice, an anti-depressant a few months back to make sure the change of season didn’t knock me off my stable platform, but last month, when I went in and asked if I could be put on something I could take in the evening because I could never remember to take them at in the morning… well long story short I wasn’t taking it often enough to really be able to say I was on anything and I was still OK, so instead of messing around with a whole new med, I’m just back to a planned not being on anything.

FYI, what I was on gave a norepinephrine boost and I can’t have that boost after about 11AM if I ever wanted to get sleep at a decent hour.  I’m better at remembering meds well into the evening though.  That is the only part of my day that is consistent 95% of the time.  The morning varies too much based on when I go into work, if Luke has school, etc etc etc.  Some days I’m at work at 9:30, some days I’m at the gym at 9:30, and yet others I’m in bed or just getting ready for the day at 9:30.  And there is no use in trying to get me to remember anything before 9:30.  Or really, noon.  But I’m home almost every evening at 8:30 and I conveniently already have an alarm going off.

Any moods or emotions I am going through, other than happy, are too firmly based on logical reactions to what life hands me.  And most of that can be managed through me reading and regular exercise.  Weights and running work out my aggression and yoga or stretching work out my stress.  Reading is an escape based distraction.

I think, it’s not as much that my brain chemistry has changed, but more that I’ve better learned how to avoid certain situations and the skills needed to cope with what I can’t avoid.  After ten years together, Pat and I have learned each other and our marriage well enough to avoid major, yet stupid, fights.  But you can’t live with someone and never argue, so I also know how to better cope when they do crop up.  Whether it’s picking my battles, walking away till things settle, or whatever.  It helps that after ten years, there is a little less to fight about, and a bigger desire to not let something stupid set us apart.  And while that’s just one example of many, there you have it.

I’ve grown.

And resolution or not, I hope to continue that growth through the next calendar.  No set number based goals.  I’ll just wander down this path I’m on looking forward to the opportunities that come from it, and the growth that is sure to happen along the way.

And yes.  Happy New Year’s.

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So I sat down and started playing Pottermore.  I guess it’s playing anyway.  It’s been called a game.  I, personally, find it more “literary adventure”.  But that’s following years of playing MMORPGs and the such.

Anywho, it’s too early yet to see how obsessed with it I’ll be, but luckily I believe there is a clear and precise end of game.  I mean, right?  But then, games don’t always have an end game.  Anywho, obsession level is unclear.  I’ve only lost 1 evening to it, but it was an evening with nothing else planned and a high need to unwind.

I am stupidly proud of my wand selection (they gave me fir with unicorn core) and am amused, though not surprised with the Ravenclaw house assignment.  We (I say “we”, oh lordy am I in trouble) are known for being brilliant with high tendencies of insanity, after all.  In our defense, the brilliant can’t help but be insane.  I mean dear god.

Still, that is text book me.

Anywho, that is that.  We’ll see where this goes.  And apparently you can friend and duel people.  So if anyone of you play and want to fill me in on this stuff, by all means.  (Apparently I’m WolfStrike11168 in the game.)  I’m mostly just in it for the new source of knowledge about the books, characters, and world though.

Imagine that.  I’m in it for the knowledge.  Can’t imagine why I’m in Ravenclaw.

That said, I’m not afraid to tell you the part about Professor McGonagall brought tears to my eyes.

Anyway, if you don’t hear from me for awhile, you know I’ve become obsessed with it.  Sorry in advance.  I have no willpower against literature.

(PS. I am really bad, and I mean REALLY BAD at brewing potions.)

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