Saturday, February 25, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 08

BookThe Tempest.

Author: William Shakespeare

Info:  No copyright information on Kindle Edition.  Audio Version Copyright 2008:  New York:  Oxford University Press.   Originally written circa 1610.

Where acquired: Free Kindle download and audio library check out.  Plus, I saw the play done live at Jacksonville State University last weekend.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭  1/2

What it's about:  Prosprero, the defunct Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda, are stranded on an island.  Using magic arts, Prospero seizes his opportunity to exact revenge on those who dethroned him when they are shipwrecked in a storm.

Favorite Quotes:

Sebastian:  "He receives comfort like cold porridge." Location 379

Stephano:  "Though thou canst swim like a duck, thou art made like a goose."  Location 702

Prospero:  "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."  Location 1079

Trinculo:  "Monster, I do smell all horse-piss; at which my nose is in great indignation."  Location 1110

Caliban:  "What a thrice-double ass was I, to take this drunkard for a god and worship this dull fool." Location 1338

What I Liked:
  • Of course, because it's Shakespeare, it's written in old English, which I enjoy in measured doses.  I'm fond of the King James Version of the Bible, so the language was familiar.
  • Once the drunks showed up, it was funny as all get out.
What I didn’t like: 
  • This was labeled as a comedy.  Until Stephano and Trinculo showed up, I found no comedy in it.
  • The Kindle version doesn't have real page numbers and didn't translate to a larger font very well.
  • This is the fourth Shakespeare play I've perused.  As you can see, unlike the others, it took a Borax Mule team for me to understand it.  The other plays were easier to decipher.  This one, I really didn't enjoy until I saw it live. 
  • SPOILER ALERT:  To me, it ended strangely.  Here's Prospero with his enemies right where he wants them.  All of a sudden, because Ariel (who isn't even human) felt sorry for them, he felt sorry for them, let them go, and gave up his magic?  Then they just accept him back into the fold and go on with life?  Sorry, but that's too big of a jump. 
Takeaway:  I decided to read The Tempest when my friend, Carmine, the Professor, was made faculty advisor for JSU's Drama Department's live production.  His wife, my friend and walking buddy, Susan, let me know about the play and we made plans to see it together.  I wanted to read it before I saw it.  I'm glad I did, and really enjoyed the live production.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Slow"


I'm a strange dichotomy of fast and slow. 

I want to speed up my body, but slow down my mind. 

My slowness of body frustrates me.  In my quest for health, I want to do more miles faster, be as quick and agile as I see my friends at the Y or at a 5k, or to simply not be the slowest one in the room. 

Not being the slowest--not being last--is my goal this year.  But it's a bugger to accomplish.

Building speed takes time.  So does building slowness.  Just like the unhealthy body, the anxious mind is not easily tamed.  Not only does it take mental discipline, but it takes a firm commitment to take all anxiety to the Lord.  Only He can show the way to peace of mind.

Building speed takes rest.  So does building slowness.  One requires rest for the body; the other, rest for the mind.

Matthew 11:28 - Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (KJV)
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ice Fishing: The Weekly Hodgepodge


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Have you ever been fishing? Did you catch a fish? If so did you keep it or throw it back? If you haven't been fishing is that something you'd like to try?

When I was a kid, I went fishing with my parents a few times.  I didn't catch a fish every time, but I sure had fun.  I've only been once as an adult.  I went out on a boat with my friends Bill and Deb.  We caught several catfish and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Fish out of water, big fish in a small pond, living in a fishbowl, packed in like sardines, this is a fine kettle of fish, plenty of fish in the sea, fish or cut bait...which fishy phrase most recently applies to some area of your life?

Fish out of water.  I've got stuff going on that I don't know how to handle, but what else is new?

What's something you're always fishing for in your purse, wallet, desk, or kitchen junk drawer?

Usually my phone or a pen.

Your favorite fish tale or movie?

Finding Nemo.  I think my preschool class watched that movie 10 times. 

Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight or night? Explain why you chose your answer.

In relations to what? 

The hours I keep would constitute sunrise.  I try to have a sunny (daylight) disposition while fighting periods of dark melancholy (night).  Not sure what twilight would mean in my life.

I don't suppose I really answered the question, but hey, I tried.

What's the oldest piece of clothing you own and still wear?

My robe.  Mom bought me the robe for Christmas in the mid 90's.  It's old and way too big, but it's comfortable, so I'm keeping it for as long as I can.

We've got one more month of (officially) winter here in the Northern hemisphere. Are you feeling the need for a getaway? What's been the best and worst part of your winter so far?

I need one, but it's not feasible right now (budget constraints).  The best part of winter has been that the weather has been mild.  Here in the South, we haven't had a long string of cold days.  We'll have a day or two of cold, then several warmer days in a row.  The cool or rainy days I take for rest and relaxation.  I use the warmer days as opportunities to get outside for a walk.  The worst part of winter has been the uncertainty that surrounds me.  It's been there a while, but for some reason, the winter months amplify it.

The Wednesday Hodgepodge lands on National Margarita Day...will you be celebrating? Frozen or on the rocks? Are you a Jimmy Buffet fan? If so, what's your favorite JB tune?

No, and no.

Insert your own random thought here.

As I write this hodgepodge, I'm having a blue day.  I haven't quite conquered the insomnia bug.  Saturday night was a terrible time to not sleep well since Sunday was going to be busy with no nap time.  I enjoyed my Sunday, went to bed before 6:00 and slept really well.  Catching up has been a bugger.  My Tuesday nap lasted nearly four hours, but I still feel lethargic and wore slap out.  This is NOT helping my mood one little bit.  I'm trying to be a big girl and suck it up--but it's starting to get to me.

On a positive note, I ran across a long neglected worship tune that was one of my favorites.  I've been listening to it over and over while believing for it's message to ring true in my life and that of my church.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 07

Book:  Shoot Low Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies.

Author: Lewis Grizzard

Info:  Copyright 1985: Atlanta:  Peachtree Publishers.

Where acquired: Audio library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

Category:  Glorious rereads.  I read this for the first time in my early 20's.

What it's about:  In his travels across this country, Grizzard goes in search of true grit--that characteristic of undaunted intestinal fortitude that makes the human soul unstoppable.  He seldom found it where he looked, but found it most in places unexpected.

Favorite Quotes:

On patriotism:  My father, of course, was a super patriot throughout his life, and one of his great pleasures was singing The Star Spangled Banner.  He was one of the few people who could sing it without bruising the ears of those around him, and he missed no opportunity to bellow it out loud and clear.  Once at a baseball game we attended together, he sang so loudly that everyone turned around and stared.  When we sat down, I said:  'Daddy, it embarrasses me when you sing the National Anthem that loud.' 'Son,' he replied, 'it embarrasses me when you don't.'"

On dogs:  "I don't like pampered children, and I don't like papered dogs. I want a dog with character and personality; one who had to turn over a trash can once in a while just to keep food in his stomach.  And I like a dog who knows enough about where puppies come from that he can choose his own mate and take care of business without waiting for some high-hatted human to 'arrange' a canine tete-a-tete for him."

"True grit.  John Wayne had it, but so do a lot of other people of far less fame.  Folks who have overcome overwhelming odds, have fought and won, and fought and lost, have spit in the devil's eye, have soared with eagles despite being surrounded by turkeys, have kissed enumerable frogs in search of a prince, have been bloodied and bullied, and tricked and tangled, and peed on and pissed off.  They're out there everywhere--these unsung heroes."

"Most of the things your mother told you are true.  Disregard the part about eating liver to live longer; it's not worth it."

"If you have to shoot it, don't drink it."

What I Liked:
  • I'm a self-confessed "old soul," so many of the attitudes on true grit presented by Grizzard mirror my own.  Not all, but some.
  • I know I say this every time I read Grizzard's work, but much of this material had me latterly laughing out loud.
What I didn’t like: 
  • I'm used to him bashing television evangelists, but in my opinion, he goes too far into the sacrilegious in this one.
Takeaway:  Not much in the takeaway department, just another fun volume from Grizzard.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Weak"


Weak - (definition 2) - liable to break or give way under pressure; easily damaged.

I hate the weak parts of me.

It has been said that God uses the weak and foolish things to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:27).  I'm sure that's true (the Bible says it, doesn't it?), but right now, the weak and foolish things about me are confounding me.  I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I'm not the dullest one either.

How?  How can the Almighty use all this weakness to help anyone?  Weak in body, and occasionally weak in mind (at least I think so), doesn't seem the kind of materials to build a family from; even a spiritual one.

I need to grow strong--to rise up out of the ashes to be truly useful.

I can't stand the weakness.  I can't.
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pockets of Delight: The Weekly Hodgepodge.


Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
What do/did you call your grandparents? If it's something unusual tell us the story behind the name. If you're a grandparent what do your grands call you? Who chose your moniker?

The only grandparent I ever knew was my maternal grandfather, David Brewster.  He died when I was eleven.  I simply called him granddaddy. 

Ever taken a road trip along the California Coast? If so what was the highlight of your trek? If not, any desire to do so? If you were to take a trip along the California Coast what's one attraction you'd have on your must-see list?

Nope, not yet.  If you've read my blog for any significant length of time, you know my fondness for California.  I would thoroughly enjoy a road trip along the coast.  I don't really have any must-see list; any of the costal beauty would thrill me.

What are three things you don't know how to do?
  • Cook a decent steak.  I don't have much experience with steak; cooking it or eating it.  Every attempt I've made has turned out a piece of meat the consistency of shoe leather.  I think part of it is that my budget only allows for less expensive cuts of beef, plus I cook it too long because I don't want it mooing at me.  I guess I'll stick with cooking chicken--although that didn't go too well this week.
  • Speak any foreign languages fluently.  Sure, I took Spanish in high school and college, but since I don't have anyone with whom to frequently practice, I've forgotten most of it.  Es muy triste.
  • Drive on the interstate.  I've talked about my insane fear of the interstate (freeway, motorway) before.  Now the fear is pretty much gone, but I don't think my vehicle is up to the task, and I'm not willing to take that risk right now.

Tom Peters is quoted as saying, 'Celebrate what you want to see more of.' If that's true what will you celebrate and more importantly, how will you celebrate?

I was going to say being alive, but that's a cliché and a half.  I think I need to celebrate the joy of imperfection; the daily pockets of delight in an otherwise messed up world.  For example, I had a hard day at work today (Tuesday), tried to go home and take a nap, but extraneous noise from both inside and outside the house made it impossible.  Not the makings for a very good day.  However, I headed out to the Ladiga trail for a short walk and ended up walking and running (so far) the best 4.25 miles of the year.   Gave me something to be thankful for and celebrate at the end of the day.

Thursday (February 16) is National Almond Day. Do you like almonds? Which would you prefer-an Almond Joy or a macaron? What's something you make that calls for almonds?

Oh yes, I eat almonds all the time.  I like Almond Joys, but would prefer a macaroon over a macaron.  I like to substitute slivered almonds for the sunflower kernels in my broccoli cranberry salad.

What does Saturday morning look like at your house?

Since I'm off on most Saturdays, the morning doesn't start until around 6:00.  Yeah I know that sounds early, but it's luxury when you get up for work every weekday at 4:00 a.m. (or as I call it: "yesterday").  I turn on the coffee pot and do my early morning necessaries, except getting dressed.  I hang out all morning in my robe.  When the coffee's ready, I take it to my room, sit in my reading chair, and do my devotionals as I sip my morning elixir.  When those are done, I'll grab a healthy snack and/or some water and get back in my reading chair and read, blog, or journal (or all three).  After that, I'll have breakfast (or brunch by now), then hit any chores I need to do, then get into whatever mischief I've planned.  This Saturday, I'm working, so I'll have to get in my reading chair in the afternoon.  Either way, I really relish Saturdays.

Share with us a favorite book you've read this winter.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  If you'd like, see my review here.

Insert your own random thought here.

One of my sweet customers gave me a Valentine's Day gift.
Something else to celebrate--kindness has its rewards.

Monday, February 13, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 06

BookBecoming Your Best.

Author: Ronald Richardson

Info:  Copyright 2008: Minneapolis  Augsburg Books.

Where acquired: Gift from my mentor.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

What it's about:  Clinical Psychologist and Pastoral Counselor, Ronald Richardson, explores the Bowen Family Systems Theory of emotional development.  This theory asserts that an individual's emotional maturity is developed or stifled within the emotional context of ones family of origin.  He offers six areas of improvement to establish mental solidity within oneself, which in turn, results in solid interpersonal relationships.  He gives various examples through personal stories,  the accounts of his clients' experiences, and the writings of Jane Austen.

Favorite Quotes:

"The point of feelings is primarily to provide us with information about ourselves within our emotional context. But this should then lead us to think about how we want to behave with others."  p. 30

"This is part of what I mean by goodness or emotional maturity;  it is the ability to remain true to our principles in the midst of anxious experiences without needing to react inappropriately to the possible threat."  pp. 34-35

"Anxiety is the primary complicating Factor affecting our level of emotional maturity."  p. 35

"We have a responsibility to protect and look out for ourselves. We will be no good to anyone if we don't maintain our own life and integrity. Jesus said we are to love others as we love ourselves. This command assumes a natural love of self that looks out for our own well-being. We are asked, however, to be invested in looking out for the well-being of others as we are for ourselves. It takes an emotionally mature person to be able to do this.  p. 36

"Also the more mature we are, the less we are affected by the anxiety of others. We can go about doing what needs to be done, rather than being caught up in, or reacting to, their anxiety....The emotional maturity of having a more solid, less threatened self allows us to tolerate the normal anxiety we feel in the occasional emergencies of life and in the difficult relationships we may have, while not being guided by that anxiety. We can maintain the functional stability to deal with 'what is' rather than being caught up in fears of what might be, or as Austin says, 'the most alarming ideas.'"  pp.  52-53

"If we wait for permission and approval from important others before we do what makes sense to us, we will never become our true selves." p. 146

What I Liked:
  • While Richardson explores emotional maturity through analysis of the family of origin, this isn't a "this is all my parents' fault" book.  Quite the opposite; he leads the reader to discover truths about his family of origin, but the responsibility to mature is on the reader.  In other words, we are not navel gazing here; we are taking personal accountability.
  • Part of my first 101 in 1001 list (for those interested, I'm working on a new one) included reading a Jane Austen novel.  I got seven chapters into Pride and Prejudice and quit reading.  For some reason, I couldn't get into it.  However, with all the examples Richardson uses from her novels, I'm now intrigued by her writings and ready to revisit them.
  • There are points of reflection within the chapters along with discussion questions in the back of the book.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The theme of this book seems to be "this is what's wrong with you and this is how you should be."  However, the author doesn't give a lot of "how."  It's freeing to learn what needs to be changed, but frustrating to not have much guidance on how to change.  This book is touted as a self-help book, but in reality it isn't.  Most books in this genre worth anything aren't truly "self help."   They, like this volume, require a mentor as a guide through the process.  Fortunately, I have that.  If not, I would be up the creek without a paddle.
  • The section of personal reflection on the chapters are stuck in the middle of a chapter, rather than the logical location at the end of the chapter.
  • The "aside box" is used. 
Takeaway:  I learned that on the emotional maturity scale, I have a long way to go, but going through this book with my mentor has helped me make great strides to improve.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in growth and change.  However, I wouldn't go at it alone.  I would suggest going through it with a trustworthy mentor or group.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

P is for Pastes, Powders, and Peanut Butter [A-Z Challenge 2015]


 
Experiments From Auntie's Test Kitchen
 
Intro  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

                                                                                                                    
 
P is for Pastes, Powders, and Peanut Butter


I'm the first to admit I'm a boring cook.  I cook the same things the same way. 

Ad nauseam...or almost nauseam.

It's not that I fear change; the problem is that I fear not liking something, then hunting all over the kitchen for ANYTHING that will taste good.  No sadder feeling that to have a full tummy but empty taste buds.  As someone who fights the tendency to be perpetually peckish, I think I'd eat soap if it tasted better than a dish I tried.  So food change is dangerous.

But extremely boring.

I have a fondness for stir fry and Americanized Asian food, especially chicken.  Plus, what child of the 80's the starboard side of an EpiPen didn't like peanut butter?  So, when I found this recipe over at Nerdfitness, I thought I'd hit onto something.

The entirety of the recipe is here.

Okay.  I'd, of course, used veggies, chicken, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and olive oil together before.  Those ingredients dominate my stir fry concoctions.  But this new collaboration included red curry paste, curry powder, and coconut milk--items I've never used before.  Also, I've only used limes to flavor tea, and peanut butter to make sandwiches or desserts.

I did tweak the recipe slightly.  Frozen veggies were substituted for fresh ones, plus, I don't have any skewers or a grill pan (mama's still seasoning it for me), so I cooked it all in my wok. 

In truth, it all smelled good while cooking.  However, the finished product was just OK and I didn't care for the sauce the went with it.  In other words, it didn't taste as good as it smelled.

Dangit, where's the soap?

I think the problem is that I didn't know what any of the new items were supposed to taste like. I anticipated it being a sweet/spicy combination; it wasn't.  It tasted mostly of lime and garlic.

This one was a bust, but oh well, I tried it.

BTW- if any of you see me foaming at the mouth at church tomorrow, it's not demons; just Irish Spring.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Safe"


SAFE!  My favorite word when my team's runner slides into home plate.

Is it OK to not want to live a safe life, yet be concerned about safety?

I need to learn to shoot and get a pistol permit.

The word safe brings home and hearth to mind.  I look forward to the safety of my own home.  There, I will be safe to be me, safe to love and serve others, and safe to live an authentic life no matter what time of day or night.

Last week, I desperately needed room to breathe.  This week, I want the safety to take that breath when the opportunity comes.
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 05

BookLife Goes On.

Author: Phillip Gulley

Info:  Copyright 2004: Waterville, ME:  Thorndike Press.

Where acquired: Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):   

What it's about:  Sam Gardener is a Quaker Pastor who deals with the trials and tribulations of shepherding a difficult flock.  His wife and children are his saving graces, and he tries to take on each challenge with humor and kindness.

What I Liked:
  • The book did have a few funny lines.
  • As far as grammar and mechanics goes, it was well written.
What I didn’t like: 
  • I had no idea this book was part of a series.  I'm used to reintroductions to characters, or at least a series name and number on the cover somewhere.
  • The characters in this book are a mishmash of pure evil.  They are mere churchgoers who show no indication of a relationship with Christ, or that they even want one.  They spend all of their time being right instead of righteous.  However, the Pastor is no hero; he's a limp wristed, people pleasing cynic who seems to only be a Pastor for a steady paying job, rather than an enjoyable calling from God he blessedly gets well paid for. 
  • For this to be Christian novel, it is absolutely faithless.  At one point, Pastor Sam angrily asks his hypocritical, backbiting congregation, "What does this have to do with Jesus?!"  However, I don't think he knows either.  Jesus doesn't seem to be foremost on anyone's mind, including the Pastor. 
  • Most of the humor came across as a slap in the face of bitter cynicism.
  • The angry tension throughout the novel was left unresolved.  Sorry, but no book I'm supposed to read for enjoyment should leave me with an angry case of heartburn.
Takeaway:  I'd read Gulley's Front Porch Tales a couple of years ago, but had no idea he'd written anything else.  This book was recommended by a friend who found the book delightful.  I don't see how.  Unlike Front Porch Tales, which was an enjoyable set of non-fiction short stories from the author's life, Life Goes On is the complete opposite--grasping, angry, and faithless.  If not for it's brevity, I would have left this tome unfinished.  I don't plan on reading any more of his works.  This book makes me want to reread a Father Tim novel so I can see what a true Pastor looks like.  I just might do that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Itching Powder: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
What's the last thing you did that someone else thought was super? 

Can I answer that without sounding braggadocios?  Or worse?  Besides, I can't really think of anything I've done that qualifies as that spectacular.

The last thing you ate that tasted superb? 


The Voodoo Pasta I ate at Effina's at Christmastime.


Supersensitive, superstitious, superwoman, superambitious, supercilious, supervisor, superficial...pick a super word from the list and tell us how it relates to your life in some way recently or currently. 

 

Superfluous, as in unnecessary.  My life seems that way sometimes.  I want to live an authentic life that means something to someone.  All I seem to create right now are messy patches on an otherwise beautiful tapestry. And, yes, I've already read Purpose Driven Life three times, but still haven't found exactly why I'm here.

Do you love easily? If you're comfortable doing so, explain why you think that is. 

It depends on the object of my affection.  Jesus?  Yes, He's done too much for me not to love him (I John 4:19).  I try not to love material objects, but I thoroughly enjoy them.  Others?  I make a valiant attempt to.  There are people who feel their main purpose in life is to make themselves as unlovable as possible.  I've been that person myself, so I know it's a cover up for pain.  Sometimes I can get involved and freely love, sometimes, I have to just say "bless your heart" and move on.  Myself?  Now there's a different story.  I still don't freely love myself.  Rather sad since I'm always with me.  If only I could make myself more loveable...

Valentine's Day lands on a Tuesday this year. Will you mark the day in some way? If you're celebrating with a dinner out somewhere will it be on Tuesday or will you celebrate over the weekend? 

Valentine's day makes me miss my days at the preschool.  It was so easy and fun to celebrate with my babies.  Candy, gifts, good food, playing all day, and the biggest bonus of all, no nap time that day, make for a wonderful celebration.  I have no idea how to celebrate the day with other adults.  I want to do something for my coworkers and customers, but I'm not sure what is appropriate.  Looks like a job for Pinterest.

What's something you are loving right now? 

My reading chair.  My CEO was replacing his office furniture and gave me one of his old armchairs.  I'd had it sitting in front of my vanity table, but the table is uncomfortably tall for the chair.  Plus, the chair seemed to swallow all the space in my bedroom.  Simply moving a few things over and sitting the chair to face the rest of the room with a reading lamp makes it a comfy spot to read.  With my footstool, it creates a perfect angle for writing at my laptop.  Comfy, cozy. 

My plan for the chair is to have it reupholstered when I have my own digs to put it in.  I want it to look like this...

From picklee.com
My chair isn't exactly like this one, but their shapes are similar.  Of course, I will not be doing the upholstering like this person did; I am not that talented.  Hopefully I can afford to get my friends at Rochester's to do it.  Something else for the dream book.

Write a three word (or less) phrase you'd like to see on a Valentine candy heart.  

 
To steal a line from Whose Line is it Anyway?:  "I've always faked it."  OK, that's four words.  Lemmie try again...
 
"Love me do...or don't."  Dang, that's still too many words...
"Put the lotion in the basket."  Nope...

"I tolerate you."
"No touchy."
"I'm broke."
"Valentine's day sucks."
"Goin' Stag Rules."
"Party 'till 8pm."
"Cupid's a dork."
"Because I'm tacky."
"Where's your mama?"
"Get a job."
"Jungle love."
"Beer & Pizza"
"What?"
"Sorry, I'm drunk."
"No, seriously..."
"Creepy."
"Bite me."
"Handshakes."
"Cheap date."
"Wash my car."

Yeah, I know it's not a phrase.
If you wanted me to be serious,
you should have said so.


 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Insert your own random thought here. 
 
As if the heart quotes weren't random enough...
 
Team No Sleep keeps trying to come back to my house.  The past two nights have been horrid.  I think I've discovered part of the problem.  A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a different variety of laundry detergent because it was on sale (You're welcome, Mr. Ramsey).  Not being one to have sensitive skin issues, brands normally don't matter.  Well, I'd used this brand for years, but not this particular scent.  For several days now, I've been feeling itchy--at night it's much worse.  I'm going to have to chunk it and go back to what I was using.  I plan to redo my laundry and see if that gets rid of the problem.  That's not the only insomnia variable, but it's a big one.  Can't sleep and scratch.
 


Saturday, February 4, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 04

BookWhen My Love Returns From the Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old to Care?

Author: Lewis Grizzard

Info:  Copyright 1987: New York:  Villard Books.

Where acquired: Audio Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 

CategoryGlorious Rereads. The first time I read this book was in high school a few years after being introduced to the works of Grizzard by Mr. Godsdin, my 8th grade English teacher.

What it's about:  In a collection of various columns from The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Grizzard humorously covers such topics as flying, eating out, women, and nostalgia.

Favorite Quotes:

On telemarketers:  "So do it, folks.  Call the jerks back when the computer calls you and tell them to leave you the hell alone.  If that doesn't work, find out who's in charge, get his or her phone number, and then call them at two in the morning and ask them if they would like to buy a mule."

On electric hair dryers:  "I figure I have spent five minutes every morning for the past five years blow drying my hair.  That is six days of my life spent with Flash Gordon's ray gun pointed at my brain, which probably has windburn by now....I threw my electric hair dryer in the garbage, along with my banana cream rinse someone said would give my hair body.  I don't want body.  I also tossed my shampoo that smells like blossoming apricots.  The fragrance of blossoming apricots is for girls, and boys who drink whiskey sours and eat the cherries."

On his mother:  "I remember those hands so vividly.  They were warm, loving hands that could turn into lethal weapons when applied forcefully to my backside."

On his friend the entrepreneur:  "I'm not saying Rigsby often comes up with half-baked ideas that are supposed to make him a fortune and never do, but he's the same guy who tried to start a fast food franchise that featured 'burger on a rope.'"

On travel:  "New Orleans, I might add, is still here after hosting the Super Bowl and the annual showcase for mental illness known as Mardi Gras."

What I Liked:
  • Grizzard's stories had me laughing through the entire book.
  • He has a way of going from humor to a touch of nostalgia at the turn of a page. 
  • I enjoyed his baseball stories.  Like him, I also enjoyed watching baseball with my father.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The only thing I didn't like was that he lumped all TV preachers together in the same boat.  However, I will give him a pass on that since at the time, all he ever saw was the mess going on with Jim Baker and Jerry Falwell. 
Takeaway:  Having a bad day?  Read a couple of chapters of this book.  You'll be out of your funk in no time.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Five Minute Friday: "Breathe"


Oh, my God, I can't breathe.

There's too much trying to drown me to keep me from taking a deep breath.

This is the air I breathe...

I spoke with my mentor today and told him there's just too much--too many anxieties sucking the very air from my life.  So much pressure that I can't breathe, I can't rest.  No matter what I do, I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing.  I'm not sleeping well.  I feel like my life is stuck in neutral.

This is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence living in me.
This is my daily bread.  This is my daily bread.  Your very word spoken to me.

Financial pressure, emotional pressure, health pressure, social pressures, pressures from the past haunting me, pressures for the future taunting me; so many constrictors slowly choking the very life from me every day. One more shift downward, and I drown.

And I--I'm desperate for you.  And I--I'm lost without you.

Dear Lord, please help me.  Please give me some room to breathe.

Oh, my God, I can't breathe.
-----
Prompts provided by Mrs. Kate over at Heading Home.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Reading Quest 03

BookThe Happiness Project

Author: Gretchen Rubin

Info:  Copyright 2009: Thorndike, ME:  Center Point Large Print.

Where acquired: Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭ 1/2 

What it's about:  Rubin, an attorney-turned author, chronicles her happiness project--a year of finding out what makes a person truly happy and how to live a more fulfilled, genuine, joyous life.

Why:  I'd never heard of Gretchen Rubin or her project until I saw an interview with her as part of a webinar put on my Michael Hyatt.  Quite frankly, the interview didn't do anything for me, but I did start listening to her podcast, Happier, which got me curious about her books.

Favorite Quotes:

"...if I wanted a happiness project, I’d have to make the time. I had a brief vision of myself living for a month on a picturesque, windswept island, where each day I would gather seashells, read Aristotle, and write in an elegant parchment journal. Nope, I admitted, that’s not going to happen." - p. 16

"...people have an inborn disposition that’s set within a certain range, but they can boost themselves to the top of their happiness range or push themselves down to the bottom of their happiness range by their actions." - p. 20

"Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, move helpful, more likeable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens  I wanted to be one of those people." - p. 33

"I realized happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory." - Page 172

"Now, I see that it's like saving money, you can't save for when you get laid off, after you get laid off;  rather you have to save while you have a job and the money is still coming in.  Life is like that, you have to DO while you are able to think of what you want, what you like, what needs it will fill, how it will enhance your life, how it will help you to maintain you, so that you have some reserves when crunch time comes."  pp. 217-218

"Show a Readiness to be pleased. Most people would prefer to make people laugh then to laugh themselves to educate rather than to be educated.  It's important to allow yourself to be amused and to be interested. After all, one of the most delightful of pleasures is to please another person." - p. 247

"Tend your sick ones, oh Lord Jesus Christ.  Rest your weary ones; bless your dying ones;  soothe your suffering ones; pity your afflicted ones; shield your joyous ones. And all for your love's sake."  Saint Augustine of Hippo - p. 414

What I Liked:
  • Her project consisted of ideas anyone could try or adapt. 
  • She's a wife and mom, but the whole book didn't revolve around that.  She saved that for her next book Happier At Home (which I won't be reading anytime soon).
  • I like a book that sends me to a dictionary and/or Wikipedia.org.  No, I'm not being facetious.  It's fun to learn new concepts, to discover historical figures I'd never heard of, and to enhance my vocabulary.
  • This may seem like a negative, but it's refreshing to have her admit she's an agnostic--she's not sure of the existence of God--rather than a definitive atheistic "no." At least she's open.
  • Her observation that it is easy to be heavy, but hard to be light makes a whole lot of sense. Negativity is quite easy since it's the most prevalent, but positivity is difficult.
What I didn’t like: 
  • Though I understand that one must operate out of their own nature, it was a little aggravating that the author claimed to want to try new things--but only in her comfort zone.  Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
  • Rubin quotes a lot of "contemporary research," but cites no sources for it.  She gives suggestions for further reading, so I guess that's something.
  • I nearly gagged when she said she sprinkles artificial sweetener on her salads.  Eww!
Takeaway

One of the things I'm seeing from this book is that Gretchen has the problem that a lot of us have. We fear happiness and having fun because we're afraid the Fun Police are going to knock us over the head if we don't do this thing perfectly (supposedly like everyone else). For example, she feared starting her children's literature group or considering it fun because she didn't think it was "legitimate" enough.  Granted, part of her hesitancy is a character issue to which she admits, however, I completely understand what she means.  One of the things she has to remind herself of is that just because something is fun for someone else doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be fun for her, and vice versa.  The shame holds true for me.  Just because others find Zumba fun doesn't mean I do (I don't).  Transversely, just because I find "heavy" reading fun doesn't mean others will.  The point is, God made us all unique and our happiness triggers are also unique.  There's nothing wrong with that.

I do believe I'll start a happiness project of my own.  Mare on that later.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

White Noise: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Join the fun! 
Come on over to 
for the Hodgepodge link-up!
Can you believe it's the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?
The last day of January.  One, because it puts me closer to spring. Two, because this marks the best mileage month I've ever had.  I walked 85 miles this month.  My old record was 70 miles back in 2015.  Let's hope this is the start of a healthy trend.
What sounds make up the background noise in your life?
 
The whir of a ceiling fan.  A podcast, sermon, or music playing quietly (or sometimes not so quietly).  Cars passing by on our street. Plus, the next door neighbor yelling "Roll Tide!" to our across the street neighbor.  Yeah, I know football season is over, but they do it all year long. It could be worse; they could be Clemson fans. 

I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead). Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?
 
Negative self talk.  It's something I continue to work on.  I think many of the other items on the list lead to negative self talk, so it would be wise for me to drop all of them.
 
What is sacred to you?
 
My relationship with God and everything associated with it is sacred to me.

January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?
 
I loved oatmeal as a child, but now I'm not very fond of it.  Granted, as I child, I ate the flavored instant oatmeal that already came loaded with sugar, and loaded it with more sugar.  I don't know how to make "grown up" oatmeal that doesn't taste like wallpaper paste, so I never eat it anymore.
  
What feelings does twilight stir up in you?
 
The books?  None, at all.  The time of day?  The feelings of tiredness.  Twilight tells me to go to bed.  That worked in the summer when it got dark close to my bedtime; the time change has me fighting sleep at 4:30! 
 
Something you're looking forward to next month?
 
I looked on my calendar to find some unique activities for the month.  This Saturday, the Public Library in Anniston will hold it's winter book sale, plus the Legacy Club will hold a pancake breakfast a few blocks away.  I'm trying to plan some sort of celebration to share at Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras.  We'll see.

Insert your own random thought here.
 
Speaking of libraries...
 
From the YMCA of Calhoun County's Facebook page.
 
Our local United Way placed one of the Little Free Libraries at the YMCA (my workplace).  How cool!  This is another one of those little things I want to do when I have my own house.