Tally Monday- June 19, 2017

Checked Out

  1. The Last Message Received by Emily Trunko
  2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Bought

  1. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizman

Read

  1. “What is Behind” by Tomiko Breland
  2. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  3. Giant Days, vol. 4 by John Allison

Last Wednesday, Hubby went to his brother’s house after work to play games and I got home early from work.  LD and I were home alone and he was particularly sleepy that night.  I put him down early, 7:30, because he just couldn’t stay awake.  I was exhausted that day but I had this sense that I wanted to do something for myself, fill my cup up.  I made myself a drink and sat on the deck with my Little Black Classic, enjoying the summer and the stories and myself.

Last week I felt a little restless in my reading.  I intended to catch up on my One Story subscription, read a LBC, and then read The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich.  I read one One Story and then felt like I really just wanted to get into a book.  I started the Erdrich and realized that I was kind of sick of reading about being a mom right now.  I had just finished Gift from the Sea and while I feel like all of these women have important things to say about motherhood and that reading it put down in book form makes me feel a bit better about it, I was feeling a disconnect.  Yes, it is hard to be a mother and maintain a creative life.  Boy, they should try it while working full time, too.  I don’t mean to sound bitter but the balance that they are finding is not my balance.  I have to find my own.

And so, yesterday I pulled the bookmark out and tossed the book into the donation pile.

Instead I started We Were Liars by Lockhart and instantly knew I had made the right decision.  I was locked in.  I read nearly 100 pages yesterday while hungover and that should say something.  It’s a great summer book, mostly taking place on an island during the summer.  While I was reading, it just felt perfectly appropriate for this moment.  I have only 100 pages left to read and I cannot wait to finish it.  I just hope the spell isn’t broken.  Maybe I should have read it all yesterday.  Maybe I even could have.

I am having a weird morning, moving a little too slow and feeling a little too sad.  There are things in my life, things in me, that need fixing and the whole thing feels like a daunting task.  One thing I know is that books are a unique form of magic.  They will be here for me no matter what and something they even heal.  This morning, though, I found myself unable to concentrate on my book.  There’s too much in my head.  Too much in my heart.  But it won’t be like this forever.

Tally Monday- June 12, 2017

Checked Out

  1. Welcome by Mo Willems
  2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Bought

  1. Strange Magic by Syd Moore

Read

  1. The Athiest’s Mass by Honore de Balzac
  2. Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh

There now!  Doesn’t that look like a great Tally Monday?  It looks, well, almost back to normal.  Things are still hard and stressful here but some days are easier than others.  Today I feel pretty good.  I worked my ass off yesterday and got a lot of stuff done around the house and checked off my to do list plus I loved on my baby and played a game with Hubby.  Things went smoothly this morning too.  I only wish that I had taken more time for morning cuddles with Little Dude and the cats.  Still, most of my chores are done and I even fooled around on the banjo.  Today is an easier day.

Thursday was a hard day.  One of my cousins posted a news story that pretty much made me a fucking emotional wreck for my whole late shift.  I wanted LD.  Worse, hubby was home with him and LD was giving him a hard time.  I wanted to be there to fix it but I couldn’t.  At work I was feeling like I would cry at any second and after hours of that, I bought a book.  Ha!  That’s right!  I bought a book to make myself feel better even though I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to buy a book.  In all fairness, I have been really wanting Strange Magic since I read a review of it three months before it was publish AND I got it for $1.99 on Kindle.  I don’t know if it made me feel better but I like to pretend that it did.

This week, I had the awkward experience of reading The Athiest’s Mass while at a middle school.  I live and work in pretty conservative areas so I was trying to hide the title of the book the whole time with like one hand.  I don’t think that anybody would have said anything but I just had this anxiety that someone would and then I would have to explain that I have a rigid reading program an this was just the next Little Black Classic I had to read.  Anyway, there was not much that they would have been able to find to complain about in the actual story but the people who are apt to complain about a title are not apt to read the damn book.  It was good.  I had never read any Balzac (Ballsack!  Ah!  I can’t help myself!) but it was good.  The LBC consists of two short stories and they both were just great, even heart rending!  (Is that the right phase?  I don’t know.)

The second book that I read this week was Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow LIndbergh.  I bought this book used in paperback like a month ago because I was reading A Room of Her Own: Women’s Personal Spaces for, like, the third time and noticed this book was quoted a few times.  I seem to be developing this personal collection of books about womanhood that I write in.  I recently did this with When Women Were Birds and it was a super rewarding experience.  The same thing here.  Lindbergh wrote this short series of essays while she was vacationing on the beach for two weeks.  She spent this time contemplating her jam-packed real life and trying to understand how women can get a better balance in their lives.  And if that isn’t something that I’ve always struggled with, I’m sure as hell struggling with it now.  Expect a review on this one shortly.

Up next:  the LBC version of Yellow Wallpaper, catching up on my One Stories, and then The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich.

Tally Monday- June 5, 2017

Checked Out

None

Bought

None

Read

The Stand by Stephen King

 

Welcome to my bold, new reading life, kiddies!  Right now my TBR consists of the book that I have been keeping since I was 16 and a couple of random piles on my desk at home.  When I say that I do not have a TBR list, I guess that I am oversimplifying things.  What I mean is that I do not have the kind of stack and Goodreads list that keeps me frantically trying to catch up.  No, the plan now is to read intuitively.  Stephen King, two books I own, young adult.  I finished The Stand last night and went back to my office to pick my next read.  I chose a slim volume that I recently purchased, something that it a complete change from the last two doorstoppers I’ve read, a book that I intend to write in and to really think about but that also won’t take me a month and a half to read.

It’s both freeing and maddening.  When I started thinking that I would finish The Stand before today, I knew what book I wanted to read next and I have an idea of what I would like to read after that too.  I told myself to stop.  The point of this is to maybe only know what my next book is going to be, not 20 books ahead.  On Friday I caught myself also walking along the shelves at work, deciding what YA book I wanted to dive into, whether it should be something I’ve been really wanting to read (Dumplin‘?  The Selection?  Rainbow Rowell?) or something off the new shelf so I can suggest those to people.  Take a deep breath, Smy!  Wait until it’s time and grab what feels right.

I expect that Tally Monday is going to start looking a bit more normal now.  While I am trying not to buy any books for a while so that I can read down my stash, I also have a couple of books on order through the library.  I’ve decided that it’s time to get back on the audiobook wagon and have decided to start the Anne of Green Gables series, which I’ve never read but always meant to.  And I’ve ordered in a board book to read to Little Man, a new Mo Willems book that I didn’t even know existed.  Soon, there will be books checked out and books read and I’ll also be talking a little bit about what I am reading to LM.  (Right now we are working through Real Mother Goose, which is a book that I give at every baby shower I go to except the last because I snagged my last “for gifting” copy.)

Now, about The Stand.  Wow.  Like, really.  I spent most of the day yesterday plowing through the last 9% of this book because I wanted to move on but it was, yet again, totally worth it.  I love King and I recall liking this book the last time that I read it but this time I turned off my Kindle, took my bookmark out of the paperback, and sat it between Hubby and me on the couch.  “Wow,” I said.  “I think that may be one of my favorite books.”  Hubby replied, “That’s cool.  I don’t need to read a book where you read a book’s worth of pages and you’re not even half through.”  Fair.  However, I didn’t point out that he owns the audio. lol.

I loved the book but I am looking forward to being free of it.  My Kindle is back on my headboard, waiting patiently to be read only at night.  My next book, Leaves of Grass by Whitman, is loaded and I read three or four poems before bed last night.  More importantly, I am hoping that maybe I will quit dreaming about The Walkin’ Dude.  And then I can stop wondering why I only dream of him and not Mother Abigail…

Already half through my next Little Black Classic and I have an interesting week ahead of me.  Wish me luck and may your reading rock as well!

Tally Monday- May 29, 2017

Checked Out

Nothing yet!  I’m kind of proud of myself.

Bought

  1. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Read

I’m still working on The Stand

Let’s get down to it!  Yesterday afternoon I got out my laptop to write this post and just then my mother showed up to go for ice cream.  When I got back, I played a couple of games with Hubby.  Then I completely forgot that it was Monday.  I seriously was sure it was just a normal Sunday.  When I realized my mistake it was 10 and I was almost through a movie and ready to go to bed.  Things can wait.  It will get easier to stay on track now.

You may notice that my TBR column is gone.  That’s because I am, at present, not keeping one.  My stack of books is still on my desk but that’s mostly because I just haven’t done anything with them.  My current reading scheme is Stephen King, two books I own, and a YA.  But I’m not planning anything but the King, which I am reading through in publication order.  When I finish The Stand, I’ll grab a book out of my office and read it, whatever it may be, and then I’ll do it again.  After that, I’ll go to my new books at work and grab a YA to read.  I can’t promise that this will last long but for now the idea feels freeing.  I also plan on not allowing myself to buy a book until I have read two of my books for a bit.  Things are a little out of control.

I don’t recall if I talked here about my resolutions this year.  I kept them very broad.  I wanted to focus on The Big Three:  healthy body, clear mind, nourished soul.  The first two are easy enough for me.  Eat right, stay active, drink water, get sleep, keep notes, journal, stay organized, meditate.  But I had a hard time figuring out how to have a nourished soul.  I mean, I try to stay grateful and positive.  I try to do things for people I love.  I pray.  I read books about spirituality.  I try to live a good life.  But is my soul really nourished?  What makes me feel like my soul is nourished?

Reading.  Dammit, you guys.  I mean, seriously.  How could I not realize that over all of these months?  When I was stressed out.  When I was unable to sleep.  Even when I was losing my shit in the hospital because I hadn’t slept and couldn’t nurse and just wanted to eat my breakfast instead of trying to force feed a baby for two hours.  I read during those times.  I read and it made me feel calm and refreshed.  I read and it helped me sleep.  I read and felt like myself.  Reading nourishes my soul.

And so it is time to confess.  I have not been able to read much in the past week.  I have not gained traction yet with work and home and baby and husband.  I’m busy and tired and behind and needed.  BUT, I have been bribing myself.  Every day I read for 30 minutes when I get to work.  I put my phone on “do not disturb,” set a timer, and sit at my off desk with my book.  It makes me feel better about leaving Ian.  It makes me feel calm enough to put my day in order.  It makes me feel like myself.

I’m going to keep reading.  It may take me longer.  I may not get through as much.  But it brings me true, pure joy to do so and I must treat myself like a human.

Tally Monday- May 22, 2017

Checked Out

None!

Bought

None!

Read

Still none!

TBR 14

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s official.  I have returned to the real world.  But, you know, reality is kind of funny.  I’ve been calling going back to work “returning to the real world” but for years now I have called my life outside of work “real life.”  I say things like, “In my real life, I swear a lot and wear flip-flops.”  That’s actually like the best example that I can come up with.  Though, in all fairness, in my real life I swear a lot…

So far, I’m holding up.  It was hard leaving LM this morning but he’s with his grandma and she’ll love him so so much in my absence.  I came to work and fell right back in.  I’ve already conquered my e-mail and mail.  Next I have some book reviews to read and a big order to get out and a couple of loose ends here and there.  I actually think that I’ll be back into my regular swing of things by the end of the week.  I AM feeling a bit tired now that it’s the afternoon and I’m used to naps.

Regardless, it sucks.  lol.  I LOVE being home.  I always have and I love it even more with each cat and baby I add.  I miss my couch.  I miss my easy access to coffee and food.  I miss my kitties.  I miss my baby most of all.

Last week I worked away at The Stand some more.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not but I’ve started to dream in King.  It’s actually really disturbing, right?  In this book, people start to dream about Nebraska and they start to dream about the dark man.  Well, imagine that you started dreaming about the dark man and never Nebraska?  It kind of fucks with your head.

Now that I am back in the real world, I anticipate being able to sneak reading into my day again pretty soon.  I’ve also been thinking about blocking off some time after putting LM down at night to just disappear into my office and take some me time.  I doubt that, though, because I love Hubby so much that I want to be around him all of the time.  Shut up, I know I’m gross.  I’ve also been considering how to handle my new reading plan.

Reading plans!  Ah!  I always have them.  Before I went on leave I made the following pattern:  author, big list, little list, nonfiction, book I own, YA, graphic.  I think that for a while I am going to continue to focus on reading books that I own.  My present idea is King, book from my TBR stack, book recently purchased (because these are stacked on my desk as well), and YA (because I am out of the swing of things).  Who knows where my crazy reading life will lead me.

I could use a nap.  Anyone else?

Tally Monday- Wicked Wednesday Edition!

Checked Out

None

Bought

None!

Read

none

TBR  Wait… I still have one of those?

I promised that I wouldn’t fill the internet with my mothering stories, especially a certain kind, but I feel an explanation is in order here.  I’ll start with this preface.  I had a busy weekend with a visit from friends, a great bachelorette party, and a nice Mother’s Day cook out.  It was loads of fun.  I ignored my to do list and barely read.  Monday, I was prepared to dive back in and really get some stuff done.

This did not happen.

What happened was this:  Saturday night’s party was across the state and Hubby had a concert right around the corner from the hotel that was serving as main base so we opted to go home for the night.  (I regret nothing!  MOL kept the baby overnight and I slept in my bed until I woke up on my own!  Well, except for a surprise trip to town.)  When I got home, a bit cranky and with engorged boobs, I discovered that this idiot left her power cord for her pump across the state.  I did what I could to get through the night then got up in four hours and drove to town to buy a manual pump because that shit hurts.  It hurts.  Luckily, Bestie grabbed the cord for me and was going to be in town and could drop it off Sunday night.  Except that she forgot it in her other car because we’re obviously best friends for a reason.

Monday morning I got up, fed the baby, did what needed to be done to be comfortable, and then loaded us up in the car to meet Bestie and exchange the cord.  It was great to see her and hear about all of the stuff that happened after I left the party and to commiserate about momhood.  (She’s fostering and had her nephews and it was chaos for a few days.)  Then I got in the car and took a couple of back roads home.  The baby didn’t make a peep.  He was sleeping when we got home and I thought that I might get a good pump in before I needed to move him.  I sat the car seat down, made up my corner on the couch, and was about to turn the pump on when he started crying.  So, I went to get him out…

He pooped through a diaper.  Needless to say, dear reader, it was not pretty.  This was our first Poop Incident and while I hate it when other people talk about baby poop on social media, I can’t help but share this one story with you.  I laughed through it because it’s kind of fucking hilarious even if it is gross.  LM pooped through the diaper and onto his hand.  LM is a thumb sucker.  So, when I pulled him out I said, “That’s a strange color for spit up.”  Nope.  Not spit up.  There was poop all in the car seat and all over his hand and face and, by the simple act of picking him up, all over me.  And so it was suddenly bath day for everybody involved and the day I learned how to clean the car seat.

Needless to say, it threw me off my game for the day and by the time everyone was cleaned and fed and comfortable again, most of the day was gone and I needed a nap.  It is what it is.  That’s no excuse for not writing yesterday but whatever.  It should cover two days.

Tally Monday didn’t seem too important this week.  I didn’t buy anything and I didn’t finish reading anything.  I just worked steadily at The Stand.  King is my favorite author but he is a slow read for me.  Today I met a character who was cut completely from the original release.  I’ve spent a disturbing amount of time trying to think of ways to experience a Tigers game this week because of my little reading association.  Then today there were a lot of hamburgers in the book and now I want one of those.

I made time to write this afternoon.  I promised myself that I would and that I would also stop working on stuff at 5 so that I could just read for a bit.  I can’t keep all of my promises to myself.

Every week I think that I can finish this book by the following week and every week I am wrong.  It’s not going to happen, dear readers, but I promise that I will write on time on Monday.  After all, it’s my first day back to work.  Why wouldn’t I have time.  (Oh God.  How will I ever have time for anything again??)

Tally Monday- May 8, 2017

Checked Out

None

Bought

  1. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  2. Atlantis by David Gibbons
  3. Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells

Read

  1. “Prairie Fire, 1899” by Mike Alberti

TBR 14

The first time I read The Stand was the first summer that I was dating Hubby.  I chose to read the original release, not the uncut and extended version, because at the time I felt that if it had been good enough to be published in the shorter format that it was good enough for me.  The whole project seemed intimidating.  It was probably the King book that I was least looking forward to reading.  Post apocalyptic has never been my thing and the sheer size of it seemed like too much.

And in the end it did take me a long time to finish but I liked it and it left an impression on me.

That was my first summer of baseball.  I knew absolutely nothing about the game.  I had never watched a game in my life.  But my shiny new boyfriend was a baseball fan and the Tigers were killing it that summer.  There was a lot of excitement around the team and Hubby was sure that they were bound to win the World Series because the last year they won was 1984, the year we were born.  It just seemed like the kind of thing that went hand in hand: We were born and the Tigers won so when we got together they would obviously win.  Obviously, because the universe revolves around us.  Duh.

That summer I would get out of work and drive over to Hubby’s apartment.  If we could get some disc golfing in before the game we would and then we’d usually grab some dinner and head home.  But really the whole summer was planned around baseball games and we spent a ton of time sitting on his couch, watching baseball.  Well, he watched baseball and I read The Stand.  For almost a month I read while he watched, sometimes plowing through chapter after chapter and sometimes laying my head back and falling asleep.

My paperback mostly disintegrated by the time I was done.  I hear that happens a lot with this one.

Today the sun is out and I curled up on my couch with my Kindle and thought, “The only thing that’s missing is a baseball game.”

Happy reading!