Trying something new …

pexels-photo-999282.jpegMa didn’t want to live in a green house. She said it reminded her of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and that was weird. Daddy promised her we’d paint it “straight away” multiple times as we pulled away from what he hoped was our new home. I wasn’t impressed by the green house either, but I was impressed by the acres of land, the fields of blackberry brambles, and the creek that ran diagonally through the parcel. I wanted to explore the dog run on the north side of the property, and climb into the tree fort in the south side’s lone cottonwood tree. I’d have my own room with built-in bookshelves if my parents picked this house.

At nine years old, moving was starting to become a regular thing for me. My triangle-family had moved from apartment to apartment renting as we went. Ma got used to dealing with the landlords complaining about clogged toilets and moldy kitchen faucets and Daddy normally did extra yard work to lower our rent. I used the dusty phone book that was invariably left in a back closet to find the nearest public library. I’d cross reference the address in the white pages with the maps on the blue pages, hoping with all my being that the distance between the new place and the library was walkable. It had yet to be.

New Cuppa

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I received my Spring 2018 FabFitFun box while traveling, and loved opening it to discover my treasures. One of the best treasures from the box is this spiffy Homemade by Ayesha Curry coffee mug! It’s probably nearing 16 ounces and keeps my coffee warm until I can drink it.

I appreciate over-sized mugs, witty phrases or swear words, a large handle (man hands, here), and a sturdy, heavy feeling when I pick it up. This mug fits all my requirements!

Do you have a favorite type of mug?

Home Sweet Home

I absolutely love to travel. I don’t just enjoy the vacationing part of travel, but I enjoy the adventure of getting to my destination.dogears

Driving the 1 and the 101 north from California into Oregon provided me with a lot of thinking-time, and a lot of beautiful sights. I stopped almost every hour (either for a potty or photography break) and I enjoyed the simplicity of traveling solo. I got to choose the route, the music, the volume of the music, and where I stopped. It was perfect travel for me.

Stephen King’s End of Watch set the tone for my drive north, and I finished the book before I made it to my final destination. I previously tore through Mr. Mercedes (another King, book) and loved the story. End of Watch is not quite a sequel, but it’s more of the story of Mr. Mercedes. If you like Stephen King’s newer materials, this book is definitely a pleasure to read or listen to.

What are you currently reading?

Majestic Universe

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California Redwoods and Giant Sequoias

I’m still traveling. I have the time to write, but I also don’t want to sit on my laptop all day while there are beautiful sights to see around me.

Today is a stay-near-home day (my parents’ home) and do a few little “buy souvenir” stops. Tomorrow I leave for Redding, California. I’ll make a ton of stops as I drive and take a ton more photographs!

Once I leave Redding I’m headed to the Placer County Gold Rush Museum. It’s not fully operational just yet (they moved it), but there is a first floor I can explore. The nerd in me wants to see whatever I can!

What are you up to this weekend?

Paying for Library Access

Is there any case which you would drop $100 to use a library outside of your city/county?

Living in Silicon Valley, I have driving access to both the Stanford University and UC Berkeley’s libraries … if I pay the $100 a year library card fee.

Next week, I’ll be making this purchase and beginning some research days in the East Bay at the University of my dreams. (I wanted to study German at Berkeley.) The access to the HISTORICAL library is enough for this writer to pony up some monies.

Would you pay for a specific library’s resources?

A Book Survey, II

A Book Survey, part 1

Part II

  1. Favorite genre of book? True crime. I’m fascinated by the minds of those who think they’ll get away with murder.
  2. Favorite biography? Clapton: The Biography by Broadway Books. I laughed, I cried, I still talk about a favorite story from his life. It’s a good (and easy!) read.
  3. Favorite cookbook? Alton Brown’s Everyday Cook is one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever used. I love seeing the science behind recipes, and Alton Brown’s hilarious writing only add to the amusement.
  4. Favorite poet? Oh, this is an interesting question. I have read a lot of Rumi’s poetry and love a lot of it. I’ve also read most of Emily Dickinson’s writing, too. I connect specifically with this Margaret Atwood’s You Fit Into Me poem, though.
  5. Favorite reading snack? Sweets, lemon bars, Skittles, pretzels, and always, a cup of coffee, too!
  6. pexels-photo.jpgMost inspirational book you’ve read this year? This year? None that I can think of. Leave me a suggestion if you’ve read an inspirational book this year!
  7. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This is one of my top five favorite books, until everyone read it and decided they needed to take every bit apart and compare it to how the Americans live now. I’m not way into that. I love the writing, the story behind the writing, and the “theology” of the situation … but I don’t actually want to connect it to what I’m truly living!
  8. How often do you agree with critics about a book? Depending on the book, I’m normally pretty close to their thoughts. I know that critics love Anna Karenina, but I hated it, so I don’t always agree.
  9. How do you feel about giving bad or negative reviews? If the book is poorly written or deserves a “bad” or “negative” review, I never feel poorly about writing it. I am tactful but honest, and sometimes author’s need to know that their stuff isn’t up to snuff!
  10. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? I have a degree in German, but it’s definitely not as fluid as it was in college, so I would love to be able to fluently read in auf Deutsch again. (I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse in German the first time I read it. That was complicated.)

A Book Survey

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  1. Favorite childhood books? The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Cay by Theodore Taylor, The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill.pexels-photo-373465.jpeg
  2. What books do you have on request at the library? Currently three of them. Life As A Pioneer on the Oregon Trail by Jeri Freedman, Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women by Marianne Monson, and Surviving the Journey: The Story of the Oregon Trail by Danny Kravitz.
  3. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Strangely enough, I have two books out right now, but my online account says only one. Good thing I’ve read Oregon Trail Revisited by Gregory Franzwa before and will return it. I also have Pioneer Children on the Journey West by Emmy E. Werner.
  4. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Ultimately I prefer to read one at a time in order to keep the story lines straight; but oftentimes I have multiple books going because I read for different aspects of my life.
  5. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I think I’d say “regularly,” at this point. Growing up I avoided anything out of my comfort zone, but now-a-days I am willing to pick up and give any book a shot.
  6. What is your reading comfort zone? Anything but science fiction, but as I said in number five, I’ll read that now, too.
  7. Can you read on the bus? Yes. Also in a car, on a train, in an airplane, while walking, and quite possibly I could read a book while I ride my bike. I’m pretty talented.
  8. Do you ever dog-ear books? Yes; I see no problem in making a book mine if it’s going to be mine.
  9. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? All. The. Time. I love to “close read” and annotate while I have a new books. Many of my nonfiction books are both dog-eared AND written all over. Love on your books, they’re just paper!
  10. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If I can’t stop thinking about a book after I’ve finished it, I want to share it. If I stay up too late at night reading a book, I’ll recommend it. If a book made me think, cry, or question my own life, I’ll tell other people about it!

WWW Wednesday, 4/25/18

“For those of you who don’t know, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.” Today, I found this lovely meme at Peaks and Pages. To particippexels-photo-261909.jpegate, just answer the following questions:

1. What did you read last?

The last book I was reading is Pioneer Children on the Journey West by Emmy E. Werner. I went to the library ALONE last night and got to pick out some historical nonfiction to help my own word count. Recounting a child’s trek across the out-West trails is an insight I gladly welcome.

2. What are you currently reading?

The words on this screen? Okay, so I guess the first question and this question deserve different answers, even if they are close to the same question. For pleasure, I am reading The Rendezvous Series by Win Blevins which I blogged about a few days back. Sam is on his adventure to St. Louis at this point, and he’s already had a few tough twists and turns in his life. Pick it up if you’re into well-written and cleanly described historical fiction.

3. What will you read next?

I don’t know. I rarely plan which book comes after the one I’m working on. The Rendezvous Series is a series, though, so if I’m loving the first part of Sam’s trek out West this much, I would bet that books 2-6 (yes, there are SIX! of them) will be right behind the first of the series.

Spoons

I subscribe to the idea of those with chronic illness are provided a set number of “spoons*” for themselves. Each of those spoons represents the effort it takes to accomplish a task. (You can read the story behind Spoons at But You Don’t Look Sick?)

Getting ready in the morning requires a spoon; sometimes even getting out of bed takes a quarter of a spoon … so everything I do takes away from my spoons. Making coffee, packing a lunch, even driving into work costs me spoons. Driving home, cleaning up after my family, cooking and then cleaning up dinner, getting Moo into and out of the bath and then into bed … everything.

  • Spoons are more expensive when you’re sick.
  • Spoons are more expensive when you’re tired.
  • Spoons are more expensive when there’s an approaching deadline.

Oh, and you don’t get more spoons when you need them.

I estimate on a GOOD day, I have 12 spoons total. Let’s do some maths.

  • getting up + getting ready for work, no shower = 1 spoon
  • driving safely to work without irritation of other terrible drivers = 1 spoon
  • teaching all day long (just teaching) = 5 spoons
  • grading + planning + counseling students = 2 spoons
  • parent/staff/disciplinary meeting (not daily) = 2 spoons
  • driving home + cleaning up after family at home = 1 spoon
  • planning, shopping for, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up after dinner = 1 spoon
  • Moo’s bath time, bedtime, sleep time prep = 1 spoon

I’m out of spoons and I have a few hours of my day left. I can either sit on the couch and stare at the boob tube (or play a game on my phone), or I can start a load of laundry, tidy the living room, organize bills for the month, refill my meds container, or shower to prepare for tomorrow.

Ultimately, there are not enough spoons in my life.

Teaching requires too many of my spoons each week. I can’t keep a house, a family, and a life outside of my classroom with chronic illness. pexels-photo-313690.jpeg

Teaching may be my calling, but I have to put her on hold for a little while to figure out the best kind of environment for my skills — a dedicated middle school homeroom teacher is too much!

 

*There are many people with chronic illness who hate the idea of spoon theory; so I understand it’s not for everyone.