Category Archives: Reading

It can’t always be ABOUT ME

Clearly, I flat out suck at coming up with titles for my blog posts. Any suggestions you may have to address this particular shortcoming of mine are appreciated.

Though the title I chose is better than the original : “To all the Blogs I’ve loved before”. That might have sounded just a tad creepy, right?

My objective in this particular post is to lift up those blogs and bloggers that I have been following ever since I started my own blog (and a couple of these I discovered prior to starting this blog).

I’ve been very fortunate to have discovered each of these blogs and I think if you haven’t yet discovered them yourself, you’d be doing yourself a favor by checking them out now.

You see, these are the blogs that I feel I actually get something out of. Whether that be inspiration for my next blog post, a kick ass recipe, a new way of thinking about something, or a few hearty belly laughs, these are my “go-to’s”.

Elly @ http://ellylonon.com/:

I find Elly and her blog to be creative, talented, inspirational, hilarious, smart, and entertaining. And she plays a mean ukulele! If I had an opportunity to write with her, I’d take it in a hot second. Elly also wrote a hilarious book, complete with awesome illustrations, thanks to her cohort Joan Reilly, about a middle aged, liberal, educated, cat owning but not child owning (not like one owns their children of course), married couple traipsing across the country in an RV in an effort to make sense of what has become of our country in the wake of the Trump era.

She started her book as a regular feature in McSweeney’s. It’s titled “Amongst the Liberal Elite” and of course you can buy it on Amazon, like I did, or find it in your local bookstore.

CJ @ https://feedingonfolly.com/: She is a fantastic storyteller. A giver of wonderful recipes. She is smart, funny, and kind. She’s inspired and encouraged me throughout my blogging journey.

Because I am a giver too, here’s a post she penned that includes an awesome recipe that I have actually made: https://feedingonfolly.com/2018/09/19/on-apple-trees-cake-and-planning-ahead-for-panic-attacks/

Lorna @ https://ginlemonade.com/ Lorna is a very talented writer. Her tone is straightforward and her writing, through the lens of a mom/wife/American living in Scotland who gets around on wheels due to CP, is insightful. She is very hardworking and sincere in her writing. She also runs a great blogging group on Facebook which has been a pleasure for me to be a part of.

Then there’s Christine @ https://imsickandsoareyou.com/. She is the blogger who recommended Lorna’s blogging group on Facebook. She blogs from the viewpoint of a woman who was very sick for a good long time, due to a desmoid tumor, who has fairly recently regained her health. She is terribly witty, thoughtful, raw, and honest with her writing. She is imaginative and alternates between being laugh-out-loud funny with her writing and deeply personal and thoughtful.

Annie at https://givememeatloaf.com/ is a blogger I’ve been following I believe since before I started my own blog. She writes primarily about food and travel. She is a “living doll” as my mom used to say. She’s cute as a button and has a way of drawing you in with her beautiful pictures of delectable food (some she makes herself and some from dining out) and travel destinations. There is a sense of fun and adventure in all of her posts. And I owe her a thank you in advance for a recent post on her trip to Puerto Rico with her husband (aka Sir Dave). It helped me to talk Hubs into taking me to Puerto Rico for our next tropical vacation (ha ha! as if this is really a thing for us). But alas, we shall go there! Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in 2020, after all.

Now, there are of course several other blogs I regularly follow that I ought to mention. Because I respect your time, I will keep it simple-ish and drop links to a few of those.

https://butismileanyway.com/: Ritu writes, among other things, a regular feature “Chai and a Chat” in which she expresses her sweet, positive, effervescent personality. It’s a delight. Reading this always makes me wish I was sitting across from her, gabbing the day away in person.

Fatty McCupcakes (you’ll have to google it as I’m not much of a techie and couldn’t get the link to copy here) : Just trust me when I say that Katie is a great comedic writer. She tells the funniest stories and is very relatable.

https://debs-world.com/: Deb is inspirational. She is a world traveler who has lots of great stories to tell.

https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/: Caitlin is a professional writer/journalist/photog who leads a fascinating life. Her posts are always interesting, thought provoking, and smart.

https://lutheranliar.com/: Alice is fiercely funny. She has the best pictures to illustrate her hilarious stories.

I hope you, smart and creative readers, will have an opportunity to check out these blogs that I dig so much.

Please share your favorite blogs in the comments too! Sharing is caring people 🙂

Fiction Writing Angst

Sometimes I worry that I put things out there, in the blogosphere, prematurely. Things that I want to do, want to write about. I worry that I’m setting myself up for failure. For embarrassment.

If you haven’t yet figured it out yet: here’s the truth. I’m a bit of a spaz. AKA, overly enthusiastic/nervous. Especially when it comes to writing.

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Like how I voluntarily shared on my newest blogging group “Kick Ass Creators” (Sorry, Ritu, I’m a tad anal about spelling “creators” with a “K”) that I was going to start writing fiction.

Ever since I did that, I’m in this weird state of feeling overwhelmed, excited, and just flat out scared.

Sometimes I worry that if I start publishing stories on my blog about the fictional characters that have been in my head for years now, someone will steal my idea and make it an even better story than I could possibly imagine. Turn it into the next comedic blockbuster, leaving me frustrated and without recourse. Maybe I ought to trademark this shit? How do I even do that? Is it going to involve a lot of technical skills or legal knowledge that I don’t have? It is going to cost me actual money, which I don’t exactly have much of for extra expenditures, especially given the fact that Hubs is currently furloughed and not being paid?

Sometimes I worry that I will get started on this fictional story of mine, and I will learn that I do not possess the skills needed to write snappy dialogue. Or that I will start the storyline then get totally stuck after a little while and decide that’s it. Or that my characters will come off as cartoonish, annoying, or just unrelatable.  Or that I will be made aware of another show, or book, or movie, that is so similar to what is currently in my head that it would be pure folly for me to press on, because my characters, my story, is simply just not that original after all.

I’m such a freaking mess.

Maybe I should just concentrate on writing blog posts. Keep my eyes, ears, and mind open to the fodder that is around me in the day-to-day. Write about that shit.

But then my characters will be stuck inside my head forever. Never to see the light of day. Stuck as perpetually middle aged, empty-nested, marrieds from the midwest for all eternity (as you might surmise, the main characters are loosely based on me and dear Hubs). Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. Just stuck in my head along with my to-do lists, recipes I really need to try one day, worries about my loved ones, and concerns about the fate of the world.

If I write about these characters and their shenanigans, even if  it is only in my super top secret draft folder, they will not die the slow death caused by being smothered by all those other thoughts and plans in my head.

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And I might have some fun along the way.

On the other hand, when I shared with my blogger’s group that I was going to “try my hand at fiction”, I didn’t exactly say I was going to publish anything. So technically,  I could write stories to my heart’s content about my fictional characters and keep them all to myself. That way I’d still be expressing myself creatively and actually writing fiction, so these poor characters are no longer in pause mode, like Sims characters just waiting for direction. I’d be protected from humiliation and I wouldn’t have to live with the fear of being outed as a horrible fiction writer because no one would be reading my stories.

Or I might just keep writing blog posts about writing and publishing and all the anxiety that comes with it for the rest of time.

At this point it’s a bit of a toss up. Either way, my characters will at least be given a bit of a life in my draft folder. Maybe once they start blooming there, I will introduce them to you.

Excuse me, I’ve got some fiction to write.

And some research to do. Some inspiration to acquire. I’m starting to think I might be in this for the long haul.

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I went to the library! A writer needs to read, right? And FYI,  I’m not planning on writing chick lit. I grabbed that book for the main title. Make what you will of my other literary choices. 

Expanding my Horizons

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This past weekend,  I attended a “Metaphysical Fair” with my girlfriend here in Colorado. Hubs sarcastically referred to it as a “Satanic Convention”, but I assured him that this not the case. I explained to him that attending this event was my way of expanding my horizons, trying something new.

Truthfully, my primary objective in attending this event was to actually do something I’ve always wanted to do: partake in a psychic reading.

There were a multitude of psychic/mediums/tarot card readers/clairvoyants sitting behind card tables along the periphery of the venue. I walked around, checking them out while asking myself in my head of course “how does one pick their first medium/psychic/tarot card reader/clairvoyant?” Was there some kind of strategy that I should be employing? It hadn’t occurred to me prior to this event to give any thought to this. So, I strolled around, sizing each one of them up.

There were the ones that looked the part: bejeweled women on the other side of 60 with colorful attire and wreaths atop their noggins. There were others that looked like they could be your next-door neighbors or your kid’s best friends mom or dad.

I ended up picking a friendly looking white dude around my age who had the word “Thunder” in his name. I approached this whole scenario with an open mind, sprinkled with just a pinch of skepticism. He almost immediately pegged me as a “planner”. That observation didn’t necessarily impress me, as a middle aged white woman donning her green sweater and emerald jewelry she rarely wears because she obviously planned her attire for St. Patrick’s Day. 

He then mentioned that after holding my hands in his for approximately 2 minutes and 8 seconds that he sensed I had lost someone who had a habit of massaging the back of my hair and neck. Nope, I told him. Could not think of anyone who habitually did this to me.  He told me that it may come to me later who it is. We shall see.

But then.

This gentle, friendly psychic/tarot card reader directed me to pick 5 cards from an array of large tarot cards, each depicting it’s own unique artwork. He then flipped them over. The first card revealed that I was a healer. He asked if I worked in the medical profession. I told him I didn’t per se, but for much of my professional career I have served clients that had physical and mental disabilities. So he wasn’t too far off.  Then he pointed to another card and said he could sense that I would have the aptitude for something called “Akashic records”. This is what struck me. Though I have no clue what this term means (he strongly urged me to look it up which I intend to do soon),  Hubs fraternity, the place that had it not existed I may in fact never have even met Hubs, was called “Acacia”. Say what?!

He also mentioned that he sensed I lost someone who struggled with back pain, possibly kidney trouble. As he did this, he placed his hand in the middle part of the left side of his back. I told him that it was me, as for years now I’ve struggled with pain in that exact spot. He told me he didn’t sense this was anything serious, but that I should lay off the junk food and drink more water. While I admit this directive may have been a result of him noticing  my spare tire, I feel it is very good advice that I shall heed.

One of the other cards that I randomly picked was “long term”. He explained that he felt I should stop feeling guilty and start thinking long term. Honestly, the statement about guilt struck me because as a people pleaser, guilt is a state in which I have lived for much of my life. He said I need to “get the ball rolling” and not get so caught up in how things are going to turn out. Kind of a general, solid piece of advice for just about anyone. However, I think this clearly applies to my blogging. It was a reminder to me to stop overthinking and/or trying to force the words out of my brain and onto my computer screen.

While I’m pleased with my first experience with a psychic/tarot card reader because he essentially told me what I needed to hear and expressed an understanding of who I am as a person, perhaps the best thing that came out of this experience was a book I picked up there.  I’ve been telling myself that I’ve been neglecting my “song brain” in my blog posts for a while now and I swear this book literally had my name on it.

It’s titled “Soul Song Playlist: How to rethink your favorite music and manifest your dreams”.

I’ll be delving into it as soon as I finish “The Bedwetter:  tales of Courage, Redemption and Pee”, by Sarah Silverman. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Books I loved in 2017

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post about books I’ve read this year for the longest time.  For many years, between raising kids, working full time, and other obligations, I didn’t do much reading beyond the magazines Hubs and I subscribed to.

When we moved to Colorado in the summer of 2016, knowing that I, at least for a time, would not be employed and therefore would have ample time to get back to regular reading, I totally went for it.

I read a fairly eclectic variety of books, from self-help to fiction to biographies. Whatever tripped my trigger as I perused the local library or bookstore.

Here’s some of the ones I read, all of which I highly recommend you check out:

Girl with the Lower Back Tatoo by Amy Schumer: an honest, self-deprecating, mostly humorous read. Amy includes stories of her coming up in the world of stand-up comedy, sprinkled with funny anecdotes about her family during her formative years. She is frank, personable, and fierce in her convictions.

Left, Neglected by Lisa Genova: This is a story told very convincingly from the perspective of a high-powered career woman, married with kids, who has a strained relationship with her mother. She is involved in a major car accident due to distracted driving on her way to a work meeting. Her entire world changes, as the accident left her with a brain injury that rendered the left side of her body invisible to her. This forces her to re-learn how to complete basic tasks, and it forces her to take a long, hard look at the drawbacks of how she lived her life prior to the accident. She finds herself having to rely on others for help, which for a take-charge, type-A personality, is incredibly challenging and humbling. Thankfully, it does have a happy ending.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: I had never heard of this writer until she died in 2016. What drew me to her most was her open heart, her creativity, and her optimism. This is not a typical book by any stretch. It is very random and feels as if she is writing down her thoughts as they come to her. She includes funny little stories about experiences she had in her life. She gives great advice on how to live a joyful life. It is playful, heartfelt, and unique. And it is a very quick, light read.

The Nest: This book weaves a tale about a wealthy-ish  family from New England whose siblings have been counting on a large inheritance upon their father’s passing. What three of the four of them don’t know is that much of this inheritance was spent by their aloof mother on legal fees for the charismatic, alcoholic, “black sheep” of the family, who was sued by a young woman he dallied with in a car, which resulted in a major car accident which left her with a missing foot. The characters are drawn beautifully, to the point where I couldn’t help but visualize specific actors playing each part. I’ve heard that it is supposed to be made into a movie, and I sure hope that comes to pass.

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken: Hubs and I started listening to this one on audio book probably 2 months ago. I found Al to be a terrific storyteller and appreciated hearing about how he started in comedy, his time on SNL, and his hard fought battle to get elected to the senate. Then came those sexual harassment allegations on the news. This development reminded me of the time I awkwardly introduced myself to Al during a campaign event in Minnesota, which I chronicled here. For the record, Al did not sexually harass me. In case you were wondering. These allegations also brought up one anecdotal story Al told of in this book, where he talked of a time he made a joke about 60 Minutes anchor Andy Rooney raping Leslie Stahl. That really gave me pause. He realized upon making this joke that it was highly inappropriate so he didn’t include it in whatever book he was writing at the time. But the fact that even for a nanosecond, the man thought that was a funny joke…well, that put me off. It remains to be seen whether Hubs and I are going to pick up wherever it was we left off on this audio book. That said, I think it is a damn shame Al ended up resigning from the Senate. But I fully understand why he did it and why people thought he should.

The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain by Barbara Strauch: Okay, it’s been some months since I read this one but I do recall learning quite a bit about the middle aged mind. From what I can recollect, please take this with a big grain of salt as I am approaching 51, the reason why those of us in the throes of middle age sometimes have trouble coming up with a word or recalling a certain memory is because there is so much knowledge we have accumulated through the years, that the stuff that is non-essential gets buried deep within. In middle age, the book tells us, our brains are better at recognizing patterns and coming up with creative solutions to problems. So, there’s still hope.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho: A gorgeous, spiritual book. The story is about a shepherd boy and his journey to seek a great treasure. It has an uplifting message about not giving up on your dreams, which is referred to as your Personal Legend. The story emphasizes the importance of the people you meet along the journey of life. It is such a special book that I sent it to one of my very best friends for her to read and pass along to her tween daughters.

Please tell me, my fellow bookworm readers, what books might you recommend for me in 2018?