Share Your World | Hail, Hail, Spring Is Here

This is a photo of hail, pellets of frozen rain that fall in showers from cumulonimbus clouds, as seen on our deck. There is nothing inspiring about hail, yet there it is.  Hello, spring.

Spring is here and I’m ready for a change of pace vis-à-vis blogging.  

So starting today and in the coming weeks instead of me dreaming up something to write about here, I’m going to do Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge wherein I’ll answer her questions on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week.

I may post a few other things along the way, but for the most part I’m going to see where Cee’s questions take me.  ‘Cuz, you know, why not?  

And now, onto the main event…

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• How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

It depends on the time of day.  If it’s morning, say 9:00 a.m. when I’m caffeinated and alert, then I’m 35 years old.  However after a normal day, by 9:00 p.m. in the evening, I’m 85 years old.  This means, quite logically, that I age a little over 4 years every hour of the day.

• So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

I know where my umbrella is.  It’s red and in the backseat of my car.  No one except me may use my red umbrella without written authorized consent, submitted in triplicate 24 hours before the proposed using of my umbrella.

I wasn’t always so selfish with my umbrella, but *true confessions* I married an umbrella thief + hoarder whose behavior has led me to institute a strict protocol about all umbrellas, use of said.

• Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

To recharge I need quiet time alone, about 2 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.  Unless it’s Christmas-time, then it’s 3 hours of quiet to every 1 hour of socializing.

• Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend have in common.

Zen-Den and I: 1) look good wearing the color blue;  2) prefer mustard potato salad;  and 3) enjoy Ruth Galloway mysteries written by Elly Griffiths.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to Olly, the doggo featured in the YouTube video below.  His energy combined with his disregard for the rules made me laugh more than I can tell you.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to the yet-to-be planted pansies, sitting inside our garage.  IF there’s no frost, THEN I’ll plant them in pretty pots, and place the pansified pots by the front door and on the deck, adding some color around the outside of the house.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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One Word 2017: When The Words Don’t Seem Right, What Do You Do?

{ File this under: NEVER TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY }

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 A FEW WEEKS AGO WHEN I began to think about what my One Word for this year would be I was sure it’d be SMART.  My egotistical little brain that craves attention told me that this word was a good one.  But after The Orange One made reference to Putin being smart I could not, in good conscience, use the now tainted word “smart” as my one word.

 THEN WHILE READING A CHRISTMAS GIFT, a wonderful book of essays called I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi, the word BETTER seemed like it’d be my One Word.  But the more I thought about this word the less applicable it seemed to my overall mind-set right now.

It’s not that I don’t want to strive to be a better version of me, I do;  it’s just that I feel that “better” could be anxiety-producing for me, a reformed semi-perfectionist who has finally become comfortable with the concept of good enough.

 WELL, ON NEW YEAR’S EVE I still had not decided on a word for 2017.  In a last-ditch effort to discern what my One Word would be, I approached the problem in a less cerebral, more spiritual way.  That is, as I drifted off to sleep I intentionally put the question into my mind, so that when I awakened the next morning the first thing I thought about would be my answer.

And my spirit didn’t let me down.  No, thanks to it I had a word for 2017 that allows me to creatively incorporate the essence of smartness with the desire for betterment.  Yes, my whole being told me in no uncertain terms to: RELAX.

So I think I will.  😉

Question of the Day

DO YOU PICK ONE WORD TO BE YOUR THEME FOR EACH YEAR?  

If so, what’s this year’s word and how did you come by it?  

If not, what do you do instead? Resolutions? Goals? Nothing?

Meandering Thoughts About Reading Books & The Nature Of Failure

WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL IF I COULD tell you that I succeeded in doing Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 reading challenge?  The one I talked about here.

And wouldn’t it be equally wonderful if I were to write brief reviews of the 12 books I read, as I planned to do last January, vis-à-vis this annual challenge?

WELL, I DIDN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS that I thought I would because I got caught up in reading about politics online and in the newspapers, as one does when “fascism,” Merriam-Webster’s presumed word of the year, is knocking on the door.

So yes, I HAVE FAILED in my stated goal. But in the whole scheme of things I AM BETTER INFORMED about what matters now. So have I failed, or have I adapted?  

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AND IT’S NOT LIKE I DIDN’T READ any books at all, meaning that I can still share with you, my gentle readers, a few books, written by new-to-me authors, whose thoughts and style made for interesting reading.

Thus, without further ado, moving beyond the foregoing flapdoodle and twaddle, what I want to tell you is: here are three books I read in 2016 and enjoyed.

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#1

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This is a story about identity, the shifting nature of it, and the implications of learning someone is not who they say they are.  The story moves seamlessly among three different eras: present day England, 1960s England, and WWII London.  I found the characters compelling, the plot fascinating, and the settings atmospheric.

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#2

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge

This is a story, that is more charming than it sounds on the surface, about a rich older woman with Alzheimer’s who lives in a small town.  One day she decides to sell her stuff and the town goes bonkers as she unloads her possessions, each of which has a story of its own to tell.  There is drama and familial tension, of course, but the real subject of this novel is: do we own our stuff or does it own us?

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#3

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

This is a delightful memoir that I couldn’t put down.  In it the author, a lawyer practicing in DC, talks candidly and hilariously about her experiences as a temporary receptionist for her father’s medical practice in rural Tennessee.  She does this to help her family through a difficult time, spending a year working for her father, and in the process learns about true heroes, batshit crazy small town people, and what is important in life.

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Have you, like me, failed to read all the books that you thought you would read this year? If so, how do you feel about it? If not, please tell us how you accomplished your reading goals. No doubt we all could benefit from your wisdom.

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On The Cusp Of The Holidays, I Give You Links I Love

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States.  

Much hustle and bustle. Much family related stress. Much TV watching for the non-shoppers, much discount shopping for the wackos people who like to do that sort of thing.

I thought a few fun links might be appreciated this week while you, my gentle readers, eye-rolled at familial lunacy OR made like a potato on the couch OR foraged in over-heated junked-up stores.

Whatever you decide to do makes no difference to me, but please…

Be safe. Be happy. Be.

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A cheery anthem from an unlikely source that gets us where we’re going.

Details about wishbone karma just in time for Thanksgiving.

An easy way to make people more social. Count me in.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Spend some quality time with old friends.

Feeling anxious? Relax with these neuroscience-approved songs.

Here are the 200 happiest words. Use them often this holiday season.

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Well It Goes Like This, I Shredded My Past. Hallelujah!

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Bifocal glasses, not mine, left on a picnic table in the park. Someone is not reading the fine print today.

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SO LAST WEEK while stuck at home because of this, I decided to go through all the writing ditherage I’ve kept over the years.

Much of it was in boxes in the basement.

Lots of it was spiral notebooks from the late 90s to mid-2003 filled with my handwritten Morning Pages a la The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I was diligent about my daily 3 page writing practice for a while there.

Just about all the notebooks contained a repetitive selection of whiny, self-absorbed, humdrum scribblings that suggest to me now I was stuck and unhappy during those years.

My inner muse had not caught my attention yet.  

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AFTER SAVING THE few good or funny thoughts I’d captured years ago in these notebooks, I had an epiphany.  I thanked the writing practice for guiding me to today, then as a way of making my life lighter I shredded these notebooks.

Every last one of them gone.

Thus I’ve freed myself, literally and spiritually, from a bunch of heavy negativity that I’d been saving in boxes in the basement for over a decade.

I tell ‘ya, if you’re feeling burdened by life I recommend shredding outdated thoughts.  It may sound corny, but doing so has lifted a weight from me.  And I feel free to get on with that which needs to be written now.

Muse, lead the way.

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Grateful For Smiles, Three Unexpected Things

THING ONE: Looking Up

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Our local Kroger is undergoing a remodel that started in April.  Since about day 1 this upside down wheelbarrow has been on the roof, not moving, just sitting up there.  While the unexpected wheelbarrow placement is a charming bit of whimsy, every time I see it I chuckle to myself wondering if anyone doing the remodel remembers that it’s up there.

Care to place a bet as to when [if] it ever comes down?

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THING TWO: Looking Forward

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Shopping in Half Price Books I noticed that the clever employees have quietly moved all the books by and about Hillary Clinton off the “First Ladies” shelves to the nearby “Presidents” shelves.  This might be presumptuous OR it might be prophetic, but it is, if nothing else, an unexpected bit of humor.

Good people in that store. I like how they think.

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THING THREE: Looking Around

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Fuzzy the Squirrel, who hangs out around our house, has found a new, unexpected way to entertain [annoy?] me.  For the first time he’s leaving nut shells all over any concrete or stone surface in front of the house.  Meaning that when I want to get the mail I have dodge sharp nut shells as I walk to the mailbox OR use a broom to sweep the shells away as I walk along.

Sure, he’s cute, but oh. so. bothersome.

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{ This post, inspired by Nerd in the Brain‘s Three Things Thursday, is part of a weekly blogging event dedicated to the idea that gratitude is awesome and leads to smiles. You can join in too. Go here to learn more. }

What Ally Forgot: A Different Kind Of Book Review

• Introduction •

A few weeks ago Akilah at The Englishist wrote a post titled, Top Ten Books I Have No Recollection of Reading.”  Her point, which is excellent, is that we all read lots of books, but not all the books stick with us.

We forget about some books entirely– and only remember odd tidbits in other ones.

Inspired by Akilah I decided to figure out what books I’ve read, enjoyed enough to keep a copy around here, but now can’t tell you much of anything about the characters, the plot, the setting.

• My Top Five Books That I Have [Almost] No Recollection Of Reading •

1.  And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander  

I know that I read this book when it was cold outside because I remember looking at the cover and thinking how much warmer I’d be if I had on that red dress.  As for the story, couldn’t tell you a thing about it, but that dress…

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 2.  Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

Someone on Twitter suggested this book so I got a copy of it and read it.  My impression is that I thought the story was cute.  The only specific I remember is that there was something about grilling steaks [?] in it.  Must have been hungry when I read it.  

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3.  Then Again by Diane Keaton

I’ve enjoyed Diane Keaton’s work as an actress, so I bought this book hoping to learn about what makes her tick.  Apparently that didn’t happen because all I can tell you is that Diane’s mother was seriously ill.  There might have been more insight, but I’ll be darned if I know what it was.

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4.  The Buddha Walks Into A Bar: A Guide To Life by Lodro Rinzler

I bought this book at Anthropologie thinking that I could use some self-improvement, and with a title like this one, I’d find the meaning of life within the pages of this book.  No idea what this book was about, but the cover is cute.  So there’s that.

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5.  Four Souls by Louise Erdich

A few friends recommended this book to me.  There was a character with a French first name, and I remember thinking that there was a lot of history going on in this story.  Guess I forgot all the facts, just like I used to do immediately after taking any history test.

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• Some Fun Bookish Things To Do •

Want to laugh about books you don’t want to read? Go to Awful Library Books.

Want to learn about books you will want to read? Go to What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel.

Want to read like an incoming freshman at Harvard? Go to Malia Obama’s Essential College Reading List.

Want to get a book reading list customized for you? Go to whichbook.

Want to keep up with books that aren’t popular? Go to The Neglected Books Page.

• Question of the Day •

What are you reading now?

Is it something that you think you’ll always remember reading?  Or is it a filler book, good in the moment, but destined to be on your very own Books I Have No Recollection of Reading List?