What I read in June

Young Jane Young, Gabrielle Zevin

YJY

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

What I liked/didn’t like: I loved the timeliness of the story, the story from the women’s points of view, and I really liked a lot of the characters. There wasn’t much I didn’t like about it, except that I wanted it to continue.

Exit West, Mohsin Hamid

EW

Rating: 5/5 stars

What I liked/didn’t like: I loved the melancholy of the book, as well as Hamid’s prose– there were just some really beautifully written sentences. I won’t say a lot about this one, it’s one you’ll have to read for yourself. But I’ve recommended it just about everywhere I could, if that says something. May not be a light, summer read, but it’s a quick read.

 

Difficult Women, Roxane Gay

DW.jpg

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

What I liked/didn’t like: Difficult Women is a collection of short stories, all from a different story or perspective. I laughed, I cried, I emailed Roxane Gay to tell her how much her writing impacted me. There were some weird ones that I sort of breezed through, there were some that I sat the book down and ugly cried for a while. Relatable women, unrelatable women, I learned something, I felt something.

Despite the heat and the call for summer reads— I read some heavy ones this past month. I think they hit where I was emotionally for me as well as providing a release (there was a lot of crying…) I’m doing better, and I’d like to think it was in part due to some of these reads. After all, everything you read becomes a part of you…

(ps– Honorable mentions go to Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling and In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, both of which went back to the library unfinished. I may pick them back up at another point, but in June, they just didn’t work for me)

Friday Five– 013

This week was FULL– of FUN! From a jazzy time at the Jazz Kitchen, to a much-needed massage and wine session with my MT, and tonight– the Star Spangled Symphony. Other than those very fun things, I’ve had some proper down time, I’ve started planting things in my yard, and I just generally feel a bit more settled. Whew.

  1. If you see my comment on this page, it’s true. I teared up. I needed to hear these “so what“s and say a few of my own.
  2. Impostor Syndrome? A few of these books have now made it on my “to read” list, which just keeps getting longer. Guess I’m going to have to live forever to get all these books read!
  3. I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit cheap. As in– I only buy Anthropologie when there’s a sale on sale. Which– there is! Enjoy.
  4. This article inspired me to reach out to the author of a book I’m currently reading. It was just a few lines to say how much I was enjoying her work. Who would you reach out to, just to say you love their stuff? It might go a long way.
  5. Routines. Love them? Hate them? With my anxiety, I tend to thrive on routine. But I also am easily bored. So I need structure but freedom within the structure…? I don’t know, I’m a complicated person. (Sidenote: The first question of 6 is one I think of frequently– What kind of person do I want to be? It’s helped me make a lot of decisions in the past few years)

This weekend, I’m finishing up foster training a month earlier than I thought I would, going to a church brunch (helloooo, mingling anxiety), and anticipating the delivery of my new shed! It should be an equal balance of exciting and relaxing– hope yours turns out the same!

Self Care: CBD

CBD oil was recently legalized in my state, to much acclaim. It’s flown off health food shelves; even my mom has chews! I’m not here to give you any new information about CBD, just talk briefly about my experience.

CBD oil

The office where I practice massage therapy has begun selling CBD oils from Farmacology. We sell the 1000 mg tincture and do add-ons to massages with the salve. I haven’t used the salve myself (yet), but I do use the CBD oil, nearly every night.

What does CBD oil do for me? I get real, restful sleep! For years, I have slept a lot without ever feeling rested. I haven’t gotten it checked out so I’m not actually sure why, but I’ve slept so much. And with CBD, I can sleep less because I wake up truly rested. It’s been huge for me– CBD helps my mind get quiet, I relax (I tell people: CBD is all of the chill with none of the high of weed), and I dream (REM deep sleep). All of this combined helps me feel great in the morning and ready to tackle the day.

I’ve heard a lot of other good about CBD in the past few years and I’m glad for a healthy alternative. You can read up elsewhere about the benefits and what to look for in product. All I can tell you is my experience and that I’m a believer!

 

Tired

I am in a strange place in life. I’ve found myself here frequently, but this one is a little longer. It’s the in-between-time. I am transitioning, making changes in my life, one foot in each space (actually, it’s feeling a bit more like Twister right now, left foot on blue, right hand on yellow). I am twisting and contorting my body and my life to make space for new things, while still doing the old things.

As a result, I am tired. So, heavy, bone-tired. Part of my new, massage therapy, is making me physically tired (and sore). Part of my old, the office, is making me mentally tired. More of my new, foster training, is making me emotionally tired. And throw this all in the blender with a pinch (just a pinch?!) of the current state of America and the World, and it blends up nicely into Exhaustion Smoothie. Which I do not recommend.

I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had, and for the change and growth, I’m so excited. But I’m living my old life and my new life and that’s a lot of life to live all at once. I am looking forward to the time I’m fully into the new, but it’s scary, leaving the old.

It’s, like I said, a strange place.

I’m not a fan of bragging about how busy I am. I honestly hate the word “hustle” and all its connotations. But it’s what I’m doing, mostly– that “survivor shuffle” to get from point A to point B, slow and steady, inching forward.

But this weekend I got to visit my parents, hold my niece, and stare at some trees for a while. It was a brief respite, book-ended by a few hours on the highway. It was much needed as I go from one jam-packed week to another.

If you’re feeling similarly, for whatever reasons, go look at a tree. Or hold a baby. I’d recommend both. Together, if possible.

Friday Five– 012

After last week’s craziness, this week’s slower pace was a welcome respite. We got some rain, the temps fell (o, happy day!), and we celebrated the beginning of summer and World Yoga Day.

  1.  New life goal: buy this house, decorate appropriately, run a Hogwarts-themed B&B.
  2. All of a sudden, articles about parenting— which once felt “not for me”– are very intriguing. And scary. How do people do this parenting thing? How do you raise a human person? And people– put that phone down occasionally!
  3. More on children– but these are being separated from their parents. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. But this is a good explanation of what’s been going on, and how to help.
  4. This is a bit of good news, locally. Our governor just took $25 million from our state’s surplus to improve DCS. Hallelujah.
  5. Lastly, here’s a piece about Johnny Depp. Remember middle school, when he was Captain Jack Sparrow and handsome and charming? Apparently that lifestyle doesn’t hold and this just gets a bit sad, really.

Oof. This list tipped heavy. It’s been a heavy week, again. I’ve got the weekend with family up north, and I’m excited to get away, out of my headspace, and breathe a little. It’s a bit of sticking my head in the sand, but you know? Sometimes you have to, knowing others will carry on, and when you’re strong enough again, you rejoin the fight and let someone else take a breather.

Breathe. Love. Fight.

Friday Five- 011

 

  1. Who was your ideal you? I could tell you… I wanted to be married by 20, have babies, be a writer– but let me say, I actually like where it turns out my life is right now. And though there are a few things I’m working on changing, I’ve mostly gotten over my “where I thought I would be” girl.
  2. I am also embracing the journey of more happiness and less money. I’m on my way to quitting my office job and giving my energy to things I really care about– massage therapy, my niece, writing. I don’t know how things will fall into place yet, financially. But I’m so thankful I’m able to pour my energy into my dreams instead of someone else’s. It feels free.
  3. Do you get bored? I definitely do, and sometimes I even seek it out– in doodling, coloring, just listening to music. Even sometimes just sitting and breathing. It’s kind of amazing the places your mind will go if you stop filling it with “interesting things.” I especially love the Aldous Huxley quote in that post–

    “Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.”

  4. If you had 3 days to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? I would sleep for two days and then get SO MUCH DONE AND FEEL GREAT the third day. How do I know? This is my regular day off schedule…
  5. Night Watch is PPG’s 2019 Color of the Year. It’s no PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR, but I really enjoy this great green shade. Also, I have this vision of painting my front door– but not just once. I want an ever-rotating colorful door. Why not? It’ll take maybe 10-20 minutes each time, and maybe I should only do it once or twice a year. But how fun would it be to be the house with the colorful (and changing) door?! YES. Anyways, this color may be on the list.

Happy Friday, all. Hope your weekend is more restful than mine– I’ve got a lot planned, including a baby shower for my new niece. I’m hosting and I’m not quite ready yet…

My Dad’s best advice

I have a great relationship with my dad. We are pretty much the same person (though I do have a bit of my mom sprinkled in, too. I’m just a walking paradox.) Even in my angsty teenage years, I would sit and talk with him for hours. We’re not big phone talkers, but get us in a room together, and we’re going to hash out life, we’re gonna try to solve the world’s problems, we’ll probably yell a bit (we don’t exactly agree on how to solve everything), and we’ll agree in the end that the best thing to do is spread love wherever you are. He’s a good guy.

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d share some of my dad’s best advice to me.

You take who you are with you. For a good chunk of my life, I tried to run away from myself. Like, literally– hopping states, traveling places, and guess what– I was still me. This was my dad’s way of saying the only thing that’s gonna change me is me, not an alternate location.

You know, you don’t have to go to college.  This was the first time anyone had said this to me, the summer after my senior year of high school. I did go to college (two of them), but this felt like the first time someone acknowledged my autonomy.

The worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else. My dad’s an entrepreneur– he’s been a general contractor in his own business since before I was alive. I watched him set his own schedule, work HARD, and take time to spend with us. He set a good example, and ultimately, I decided I wanted what he had– freedom. Let me tell you, watching someone live that life— it looks good. I’m excited to start spending my energy on MY dream instead of someone else’s.

What great dad advice have you received, from your dad or a father-figure?

Happy Father’s Day!