Sunday, April 3, 2016

Low brow but I rock a little know how









It's been a rough start to 2016, I'll tell you what. My poor girl H, who had so many blood draws and radiology procedures in 2015 that I wouldn't be surprised if she was anemic AND glowed in the dark, rang in the new year with pneumonia and a double ear infection, which resulted in a whole lot of absences at the beginning of the spring semester of school.

And then within the space of three weeks she was in TWO car accidents, neither of which were her fault, the second of which resulted in minor injuries (more absences and a couple of canceled theater productions) and her car being totaled. It all got to be a bit too much and, well, you remember when C's brain exploded and we had to pull him out of school in the middle of his junior year? Well, it's kind of like that all over again, but without the misophonia. All of which is to say we formally withdrew H from school this past Friday, just two months shy of what would have been her high school graduation.

Big sigh. Deep breaths.

Unfortunately the place (online) where C was able to get his high school diploma has since been shut down, so best case: she re-enrolls in the summer or fall and finishes up the 1.5 credits she needs to graduate. Worst case: GED. Yep. Meanwhile she was selected as Employee of the Week at her job last week. Life goes on.

While H's car was in the shop waiting to be declared totaled we rented a car for P to drive because H isn't old enough to drive a rental car so she had to drive his truck to work and at one point the truck broke and my car broke and the only working car we had was the rental car and also our dishwasher broke. And a bird kamikaze'd itself into my window while I was doing yoga, which may or may not have been a sign from the universe, but I needed a good cry anyway.

Since last we spoke, I cut off all of my hair twice and dyed some of it purple because really, what else was I going to do? Start drinking again? Join a convent? Purple man hair seemed like the better course of action.

Given that the kids are okay and P and I are okay and everything's going to be okay, the best thing I can say about all this is that, purple hair aside, I've been handling it. I have two individual coaching clients left before I stop doing that for the remainder of the year, and I'm keeping up with yoga (whether the birds approve or not) and mindfulness and not eating too much crap. I've adopted an attitude of gratitude. I've mostly gotten over my damn self and released my expectations and my need for control. Those are pretty big deals for me, so go me, or whatever.

I don't think I set a word or a phrase or any intention (besides "less fear, more authenticity") for 2016 but so far this year I'm getting a strong message that I'm being called to love more. To meet every challenge with love. To quit grasping after my attachments and expectations and just give love.



I've been trying it and so far it's never been the wrong answer. Not once.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I'm gonna kick tomorrow

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

I was all set to tell you what a difficult year 2015 was, to total up all the doctor visits and bloodwork and x-rays and surgeries and endoscopy and whatnot my girl H had this past year, culminating in a December 31 diagnosis of possible pneumonia, but you know what? Let's not. The past is the past. We're moving on.

There are big changes happening in the saltycrunchy house this year. Son C has enrolled in college! Daughter H will be graduating high school and starting college! And I am cutting WAY back on individual health coaching this year in order to (a) have more flexibility in my daily schedule and (b) focus on reaching a wider audience. Will I write a book? Put together some online workshops? Start a podcast? Do something rather exciting, blog- and website-wise? (My other blog and website, not this one.) I don't know. But I'm eager to find out!

I never got around to making resolutions this year, so let's cobble some together on the fly, shall we? How about:
  • Less fear, more authenticity.
  • Say both Yes AND No more, but to different things than usual.
I can think of a few more, but they're really all just variations on those two. And really that second one is just a variation on the first. See, this is why I don't do resolutions.

In other news, last month the library bookshop had both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies in hardback for $2 each so I snapped them up and have been reading the first one and it's so good, you guys. Husband P bought me a Roku because I was stressed out and he's the best human ever so now I'm all caught up on Transparent and I can't stop thinking about it. Sometime in the next 8 hours or so I FINALLY will have seen the new Star Wars movie (H was too sick to go all December). I did yoga today, I ate bacon and greens today, I haven't showered yet today but I'M GONNA I SWEAR, and it's all good. It really is.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

December catchup and 2015 books












Before we talk about books, I need to tell you that daughter H turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and it's freaking me out. Both of my children are legal adults now, OMG. That is just the weirdest thing I've experienced since actually being pregnant with them. I remember 18 VERY clearly; I was a freshman in college when it happened to me. That was 31 years ago. Holy shit. (Let's not talk about the fact that C is turning 20 in April, okay? I remember 20, too. It was my Golden Birthday.) (P.S. If you're VERY clever, you might be able to deduce from one of those photos up there which college is H's first choice. Still waiting to hear. Fingers crossed.)

Okay, well, no time for an existential crisis now! Here are more or less all the books I read in 2015, grouped together by how much I liked them, though not necessarily ranked in any sort of order within those groups. Could I make this a little more complicated? Let's find out!

Five Stars
The entire Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. I read this series straight through in one big gulp, which took me nearly two months. I love the show and I love the books, too. Maybe even a little bit more, Dinklage or no Dinklage.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Lives up to the hype. Such a beautiful story. A must-read if you're into WWII fiction, but lovely even if you're not (I'm kind of oversaturated on it, myself).

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Ditto re: hype. I loved this book, could not put it down, and even though the protagonist is sort of unlikable by design, I loved her, too.

Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. Classic Lamott. She speaks to my soul.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. This is a book I will never, ever forget. I've seen it billed as horror but it's not, really. I don't even know how to describe it. But I loved it and I'm so glad I read it and that it's become part of my story now.

Far North by Marcel Theroux. Another book I'll never forget, with one of my favorite protagonists EVER. It's kind of a formulaic post-apocalyptic sort of thing, but it's just such a GOOD one. I didn't want it to end.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Yes, you've all already read this book. Well, now I have, too. I loved it so much that it led to me downloading like a dozen books about people walking the PCT and the AT and all those other trails that I'll never walk because: BEARS (see also: RAPISTS/MURDERERS). The movie pales in comparison.

The Martian by Andy Weir. Another book that makes the movie pale in comparison. The book was so much more fraught with tension, and the protagonist was a million times more likable, and it was just SO GOOD and so much better than the movie. If you liked the movie, read the book. If you didn't want to see the movie because Matt Damon is on your shitlist, read the book.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I am going to go ahead and suggest you read this book in the fall, because it's all wood smoke and caramel apples and mulled cider and you'll never, ever want it to end. Just like fall.

Four Stars
Stoner by John Williams. Technically I read this at the very end of last December, but I told you it might end up on this year's list. I ... don't really remember much about this book, to be honest, but I four-starred it on Goodreads so I guess I liked it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. You know, it's Gaiman. It's all mysterious and weird and children are in peril. I liked it a lot.

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. The fourth Jackson Brodie. Didn't hold my interest quite as much as the previous books, and the timeline was wonky, but still, it's Atkinson. So it was good.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson. Well, it was no Wild, and he didn't really walk as much of the trail as I was hoping to read about, and it's really more a story of two middle-aged guys traveling than it is about a trail hike anyway, but I enjoyed it.

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. The 11th Chief Inspector Gamache book. I have loved this series with only two exceptions (see below for one of them), and this book was fabulous. Thank goodness. The previous book was so awful, I almost didn't read this one.

Shaman, Healer, Heretic by Terry M. Green. I just read this as a fluffy little genre palate cleanser between meatier tomes, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I have several books in this series downloaded to my Kindle and I look forward to reading the rest of them.

Shine On, Bright & Dangerous Object by Laurie Colwin. I heart Colwin. I don't always find her characters super relatable, and I like her food memoirs more than her novels, but they're still really good. (Her food memoirs are EXCEPTIONAL, FYI.)

Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson. I actually really loved this book, which like House of Leaves is very strange and relies heavily on format (weird fonts/text, folding pages, holding things up to mirrors, etc.), but I was left with so many questions at the end that I had to remove a star from my review. It's really good, it just leaves a lot of loose ends and/or glosses over things that I would have liked explored/explained in more detail. Rarely do I wish a book had been longer, but with this one, I do.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Jesus, this was grim. But wow, have a lot of people ripped him off since he wrote this.

Room by Emma Donoghue. I thought this book was pretty extraordinary and I'd never read anything like it, but something about it annoyed me somehow. I spent almost the entire book thinking it took place in the UK because of the dialog and vocabulary, but then a US location was mentioned, and I don't know, something was off about it. Like with Vernon God Little, a book I HATED, I feel like an editor should have caught the fact that all of these supposedly American characters did not speak or act at all like Americans. Geez, now I want to take another star off my review and bump this down to three and/or attend a meeting of Anglophobics Anonymous.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I liked this a lot; it's a very different take on the zombie genre. It's got movie adaptation written all over it, though -- like it reads as though it was specifically written to be adapted for film -- and for that I removed a star because sometimes a book should just stay a book.

The Magician's Assistant by Anne Patchett. This was a very good book that made me fall asleep a lot. It actually reminded me a lot of that Colwin book up there in that it deals with the loss of a spouse and dealing with the whole in-law thing in the wake of that and all the complicated things that make up a marriage and a family.

Three Stars or Less, or the Meh Books
Divergent by Veronica Roth. I'm just not a big fan of the Hunger Games wannabes.

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward. I LOVE Ward and have loved nearly all of her books, but this one didn't grab me for whatever reason. I'll still buy everything she writes, though.

Gaudi Afternoon by Barbara Wilson. I like the Cassandra Reilly series a lot and read them all out of order; this is the first one and I can tell you that they definitely get better.

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. The 10th Gamache. Just AWFUL. There's really only one real plot point from this book that you need to know before reading book 11, and it'll become apparent to you pretty quickly in that book, so I recommend skipping from 9 to 11 and giving this one a miss entirely.

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson. Meh. I think I just wasn't in the mood for this when I read it. It's a perfectly sweet little book, but I wanted it over with much sooner than it was.

Hercules, My Shipmate by Robert Graves. I wanted to like this so much more than I did, but I found it oddly repetitive and just kind of boring after a while.

The Beggar King by Oliver Potzsch. (There's supposed to be an umlaut over the o in his last name but I'll be damned if I know how to get it on there.) I love the Hangman's Daughter series but I didn't love this particular installment. All the things that annoy me about some of the main characters were dialed up to 11 in this book, and I don't like it when series books move away from the principal location.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. I heart Groff BIG TIME and I absolutely loved Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia, but this one was not my favorite. I feel like it suffers in the inevitable comparison to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl.

Disclaimer by Renee Knight. This was a weird book, y'all. It started out kind of clunky and then just got super grim and sad. If you want to be hella depressed, go ahead and read it, but don't say I didn't warn you.


And also I read a bunch of stuff for work; I won't outline all of that (mostly nutrition-related) stuff for you. However, I do highly recommend Michelle Segar's No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness to anyone who has negative associations with exercise but wants to get moving (in a fun way); and copies of Kate Northrup's Money: A Love Story paired with copies of Manisha Thakor's On My Own Two Feet (which I read last year) would make great gifts for any college-aged young women in your lives who want to start out on the right financial foot. I wish I had read them both 30 years ago. It's too late for me! Save yourselves! (Just kidding. It's not too late. It's NEVER too late. #coach)

Okay. Let's get through Christmas and maybe then I'll try to start blogging more but probably not.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hallo
























Well hello there. When last we spoke it was summer and now it's autumn and the painted ponies go up and down because we're all trapped on a terrifying carousel of death. Or something. I may have gotten those lyrics wrong.

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED, YOU GUYS!

H started her senior year of high school, OMG. Senior year is nuts. C never had one so we're new to all this. And it could not be more different than my own senior year 32 years ago. For one thing, the internet exists now, I don't know whether you're aware. The number of times I've thanked my lucky stars that Instagram and Youtube and Snapchat and whatnot were not actual things when I was in high school: 47 million, give or take. Just since August.

I finished nutrition school and got my certification so now I'm all bona fide and shit! And I turned 49 so I'm also all old and shit! Yeah! And I cut off all my hair. Like you do.

I read a bunch of really good books somewhere in there. Marcel Theroux's Far North, Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Andy Weir's The Martian, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, all excellent. Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog, Spike Gillespie's Sit. Stay. Heal., Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, Louise Penny's The Nature of the Beast, Terry M. Green's Shaman, Healer, Heretic, Laurie Colwin's Shine On, Bright & Dangerous Object, Zachary Thomas Dodson's Bats of the Republic, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, all really freaking great. Slightly disappointed with Oliver Pötzsch's The Beggar King and Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, oh well. And I read a bunch of stuff for work that you don't care about.

I've been cooking and doing yoga and reading the tarot and coloring mandalas. And knitting this stupid Kindle cozy I've been knitting since H was in middle school. And sneezing a lot. September marked three years of staying at my goal weight and I can't remember the last time I had to pluck a long, wiry hair out of my chin so if that doesn't sell you on Balancing Your Hormones Through Real-Food Nutrition()(just kidding, I haven't trademarked that)(YET), I don't know what will.

In other news, it's come to my attention that some towns/communities/dystopian societies actually schedule trick-or-treating and sometimes it doesn't even happen on Halloween and I'm completely traumatized by this knowledge. You guys. What. Around here the kids trick-or-treat on Halloween night no matter what, there are no do-overs or weather delays (what is this, BASEBALL?). They start around dusk and continue long into the night until everyone has turned off their porch lights and closed their curtains and hidden their pumpkins. Which is what God intended. That's in Leviticus, I'm pretty sure.

Yeah, so that's what's going on around here. Birthdays (my mom turned 69, H is about to turn 18, what is happening?) and renewing my passport so I can take another health coaching certification exam (which will make me a Certified International Health Coach, very exciting) and gearing up for Festivus and our annual pilgrimage to the ArkLaTex and whatnot. Yep. How are things with you?