Current Thoughts [October 2017]

original photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

FYI: renaming the "Mid-Month Updates" to "Current Thoughts"

  • Can someone who disagrees with kneeling during the National Anthem please explain to me what is an appropriate means of protest? Because it is nonviolent, does not block roadways or workplaces, and takes up no ones time.
    • And just a reminder that, FYI, protesting is part of the know, the document and ideals that is actually supposed direct our laws and governing rather than bullshit opinions of people who didn't pay attention in history class. 

  • The military is not a single person or school of thought. Like the NFL and literally every other group in America, there are diverse opinions and beliefs and races and religions. Gettin' real sick of people speaking out about how "soldiers" feel about politics and the above-mentioned forms of protests. This idea that there is a single prevailing opinion within any group of people is exactly what has our country in the fucked up position it is currently in. 
  • I think I might be getting carpal tunnel between school & work and typing/writing all day. Trying to take asprin & do some stretches to help...might break down and get a wrist brace.
  • There is a consignment sale for kids coming up and I am PUMPED. I am not a super Black Friday shopper or anything like that, but this is only 2x a year and it's the easiest way to get baby clothes. Even asked for help to line up a (free, thankfully) sitter. 

  • Still riding that bullet journal train. Y'all, it's like magic. I am not working any harder than normal but I actually feel like I'm being more productive, because instead of wasting time trying to remember what all I have to do I'm just...doing it. And it's all there in a tiny little book. I'm such a nerd. 
  •  Babycakes got bit at daycare...twice in one week. She was the biter for a while, so I try to be understanding...but one of them left a bruise that lasted about 4-5 days. She's skinned knees and stuff, but that's while having fun. This is the first time someone else has truly left a mark, and while I know it happens it's still uncomfortable.
    via GIPHY

  • Pretty much our whole family is feeling icky. THANK JESUS no stomach bug, which is going around. But snotty and Babycakes had a fever, so she had to stay home from daycare. I'm about 90% sure it was due to teething because as soon as she came home and had one dose of Tylenol she was totally fine, maybe 15% snug-lier and whiny than normal...but no more fever and up for playing. Which sinus headache-y mama was not prepared for (I stupidly thought we'd have a sick cuddle day...ahahahaha).
  • It's freakin' October and I'm still having to shave my legs, because it's like 75 and about 1000% humidity at 5 am. GET IT TOGETHER, MOTHER NATURE. I need it to be cool enough to wear leggings, okay? Because again- ickyness all over the house. And it's hard to be sure anyone has a fever when realistically we could just be sweating because everything is sweating because it's seriously almost 80 when we wake up. 

  • It's so frustrating to me when people don't just FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. I'm having to train new people at work again and ugh it's the worst. People who don't grasp things baffle me. And I'm sure that's a privilege that I have...but ugh it's soooo hard. Especially when I'm not a friendly person to start with. 
  • I'm officially addicted to caffeine. If I don't have a cup of coffee or can of soda by lunch I have a raging headache and feel quite stabby. Based one a post in a moms group though...I may be able to blame pregnancy. Apparently it can make you resistant to caffeine- like shaking after a cup of 1/2 decaf, or make you dependent on it (aka me). 

This turned a little more rant-y than I expected...but this is sort of where I get things out and all the fun stuff I like typically goes to the Show Us Your Books or Add It To My List link-ups. One rant-y post a month seems fair.

What's up with you lately?

Show Us Your Books Link-Up THIRD ANNIVERSARY: October 2017

 You guys!!!

It is the third anniversary of Show Us Your Books! That's so amazing. This link-up is by far my favorite bloggy day of the month. 

Thank you to all participants, and our wonderful hosts Steph & Jana, for creating such a fun and welcoming and bookish community. You guys make me happy every second Tuesday of the month.

Now, on to the books!

Did I mention this series is about  ASSASSIN NUNS WHO WORK FOR DEATH and OMG WHY AREN'T YOU READING IT ALREADY IT'S SO AMAZING. And there's some love and political intrigue and in this one in particular some deeply disturbing incest but still READ THESE BOOKS.

Third book in the trilogy, you learn more about the various gods and their followers which is cool...and also see above aka READ THIS SERIES IT'S AMAZING.

This book was a really interesting look at disability and what makes a human a human and "us versus them" and personal responsibility and all that happens within the context of a standard but still interesting police thriller.

If you have ever wondered what the term "rape culture" means, read this book. It's the best illustration of it ever. Yes, the book is a bit of a beast and it took me a while to get into it. But it's so. damn. worth. it. Seriously. Just read it. It looks at friendship and sex and family and personal responsibility and mentors and sports and small towns and loyalty and right and wrong and gray areas and it gave me all the feels. I will say it may be closer to a 4.75 because 1) those parents have been through a fuck of a lot and while tragedy does not gaurd against tragedy, it seems awful; and 2) that girl handled everything like a MF'ing champ. And while I respect that and appreciate that she wasn't broken...she had a right to be affected more than she was.

The Girls by Emma Cline
Y'all, I had to write this blog post twice because instead of hitting "Publish" I hit delete.
Both times, I forgot to include this book. It seemed to have really divisive reviews and I went in expecting...something. I literally got nothing. I wasn't shocked or disgusted or moved or anything...if it's not the first time a book has done nothing, it's the first time in a loooooooong time. I did skip over the description of the actual murders, because...reasons. But since we knew about them from the just never clicked. I was never given a reason to care. There was no motive, there was no just all felt distant and pointless. I can't recommend.

What have you been reading this month?
Link-up & let us know! 
Life According to Steph

Books as Memories

It's a well-known phenomena that hearing certain songs can take you back to a certain place, or situation.

I think I have this with books.

The Twilight series got me through my husband's deployment (judge, IDGAF).

Books 1-21 of the Stephanie Plum series got me through what turned out to be basically a super stressful friend-breakup, within about a 2.5 week time period.

The Hunger Games got me through my last years of undergrad.

And the His Fair Assassin series just got me through my first test of grad school. 

 When I hear about these books, I don't just think of the characters and plot. I think about where I was emotionally when I read them. I think about every detail that lined up and made those stories exactly what I needed at that moment in time.

Memories and emotions are strange, double-edged creatures. Our memories are almost never as trustworthy as we typically believe.

If I read Twilight today, I might be a hater. There are certainly people out there who trash it. But it will always have value to me, despite it's problems. I don't pretend there aren't problems, I just know how it was useful to me despite them.

Is it good for every person in every situation? 

Probably not.

But that could probably be said for all books, in the end.

So often the snooty literary folks will pretend a book is good solely because of the specific words in the specific order on the page. But that's sooo not true.

It's about the culture the story was written in, and it's about the reader. That's what makes being a reader so amazing and magical. You get to personally connect with a story- sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. But like everything in life, the personal background of a reader absolutely shapes the lens in which we view the story.

There was a Christian book I had heard a lot of hype about and was excited to try. Pretty much as soon as I started it (via audiobook) I could tell me and this author just didn't jive. He ended up saying what was- to me- an incredibly sexist statement and I flat out DNF'd. When I mentioned this too someone else who read the book, they said that sentence never even registered- they didn't remember it being in the book at all, and walked away feeling like it was a great book. Think she actually had some kind of personal connection to the author, and therefore probably went in predisposed to think highly of what he had done or even just with a better idea of the heart behind the statement*.

*because saying something out of ignorance and saying something out of hate are very different, and I do believe if we want to change the world for the better we must be ready to stop being angry at people for being ignorant and work with them to educate...although this is a much longer thought subject for a different post

Anyway, it happens. It doesn't make her a bad person or bad reader. Pretty much all of those series I listed have gotten tons of flack for various reasons. And I'm sure at least one person would say I can't be a feminist and enjoy Twilight. But...I definitely consider myself a feminist- and I still stand by the appeal of that series!

Do you link books and memories? 
If so, what are some of your connections?

Reading Q&A

I'm taking this from Teh Megan, who took it from someone else...blogging is all about connection, right?

If you came up with this & want credit, let me know & I will be happy to link your blog/etc!

How many hours a week do you spend reading?
This really really varies due to about a million factors.
Anywhere from 1-10, let's say. More if an audio-book is involved.

I like Megan's answer:
"I don't count the hours of things I enjoy."

Do you prefer digital or print books?
All of the above.
Nothing is as cozy or relaxing as cuddling up on the couch with a
blanket and a physical book. It's also easier on my eyes. 

However, ebooks are so handy!
 I can read on my phone at lunch or my iPad
 and binge a series super quick through the library. 

2 favorite genres?
General Fiction
after that, it's a free-for-all

 2 not-favorite genres?
deep sci-fi (Journey to the Center of the Earth type)
after that, it's more dependent on writing than genre

 Biggest book pet peeve?
super sweet love stories
not necessarily cliches, but just...
when nothing goes wrong or people are "all-in" immediately

 Favorite thing about reading?
the escape it provides- it allows me to "hide" from real life

 Bookish confession?
I used to dog-ear pages constantly.
As I get older I understand why this is so upsetting,
but for years I was guilty as sin.

Perfectionist Problems

There are parts of my life that I like to keep pretty orderly.

Not my laundry, or my car, or my house in general. Some things will only ever be "good enough."

So there are clothes that are clean but still in baskets, bags with "trash" in my car (papers mostly or maybe gum), and dog hair in the hall because I don't sweep as often as I should.

But when it comes to work or school or things that involve other people, I am pretty organized. 

I write down instructions, I hate repeating myself, I don't like to be late or in someone's way. And I like being one of the best. At literally every job I've had since 16, I have constantly been told I'm a great employee.

To be fair...I think it's more that I do what I'm supposed to do, and other people actually suck, versus me being truly awesome.

Either way, I like that. I like being dependable and successful. This probably links way back to elementary/high school when "good grades and reading" were literally the only things I had going for me (and I use the term "going for me" lightly since it could be negative also). That's probably why my personal life and space can be a bit of mess- I finally carved out a place for myself to relax.

Anyway, all this to say...

I gotta chill the fuck out with that shit.

I struggled with it a lot when Babycakes was born (see here & here for a wrap up of that shit-show). And I've gotten a lot better in that area. But maybe I'm compensating with that perfectionist spirit in some other places.

I received the results of my first test, and it was a 93. 

Which by all accounts is pretty dang good. It's an A, and it's well above the minimum grade to stay in the program.

So why was my first thought "Man I thought I did better than that?"

If anyone else had told me they got that grade, I would have been so happy for them!!

Part of it is, there wasn't that much on the test that I struggled with. So I want to know what I did wrong. But regardless, that's a terrible first reaction. That is not being kind to myself.

When I have realizations like this, I always come back to a quote from Amy Poehler in Yes, Please:

Sticking up for ourselves in the same way we would one of our friends is a hard but satisfying thing to do. Sometimes it works.

To be clear, I am not knocking myself for being this way. 

I've done that before too- beat myself up for something, then beat myself up for beating myself up. Those days are gone, okay? I refuse to be my own worst enemy.

I had a thought, and I immediately recognized that it wasn't helpful or fair to myself. And I'm going to work on it. So while I'm sad...I'm also proud. Proud for identifying something and being a good friend to myself.

I am who I am. And I am enough. I won't stop trying to improve, but I can do so with grace- for myself and others.

Add It To My List Link-Up: September 2017

  Link-up creators are Lauren from Eat, Drink, & Be Lauren and Bre from Bre Writes. Basically, they are always recommending things to each other- podcasts, television shows, music, blah blah blah. And they figured- why not share even further?

Ugh, not that much to add this month guys. Had my first test this month and I've been busy.

  • Royal Pains (tv show)
    • It's on Netflix, and it's passing the time nicely. 
  • Queso dip & Chipotle Lime Salsa from Aldi
    • Can't find a link for these, but YUM. Some friends invited us over to watch a football game and these were the perfect snack food...I may have eaten about 3 plates #sorrynotsorry
  • Mint Candy Apple nail polish from Essie
    • Got this from a friend and seriously had 3 compliments Sunday morning at church. 
  • Betty Crocker Spice Cake
    • Perfect cake for fall! I switched out the vegetable oil for coconut oil because that's what I had on hand, then added cream cheese icing & walnuts. YUM. 
  • Recollections Washi Tape
    • I bought some of this for my Bullet Journal. At first I didn't really get the appeal, but I was trying to keep everything super simple so I would actually stick with my BuJo.  I got this one at Michael's, but can't find it on their website. Yay, coupons! It's still easy to do but gives me a little "pop" of color and creativity.

What have you been loving lately?
Join the link-up & let us know!

Ways I am a Bad Feminist

original photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

A while back I read (well, listened to) Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. The title of the book stems from the idea of treating feminism & feminimists like it/they have to be perfect...despite the fact that no one and nothing is perfect. The following quotes kind of sum up the theory:

I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I'm not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I'm right. I am just trying- trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.  

“When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than with the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.” 

So, here are the ways I'm a bad feminist. I know they're problematic, and they may upset someone. But...I'm just a person. I'm definitely wrong about some stuff, and I've got a lot to learn. We all do.

I don't like it when families don't have a cohesive last name. It makes addressing Christmas cards/etc so much more confusing- do I list the full names of both? Just the first names? The Smith-Jones Family/Household? Blergh.

Also, don't tell me it's anti-feminist that I took my husband's name.  My maiden name came from I guy I saw maybe 4 times a year until about age 13, when he stopped contacting me all together. It is not something I want to carry around for the rest of my life. There is no "one size fits all" approach for how we should identify ourselves. So, while I don't like that I don't know how to address your Christmas cards...I'll stumble through. Do the same for me, kthanksbye.

I can't stand when people say "We're practically married, we just haven't made it official." Is it really? That's like me saying "Well I'm practically runner- I have the active wear and the hydration belt and I registered for all these races. I just haven't actually ran in them, that's all."  This especially confuses me when it comes from people who also fight for the rights of gay marriage...either the piece of paper means something, or it doesn't. Both opinions are valid, but they are totally different. 

I do not like glitter, and I'm a little judge-y towards those that do. Same for pastel pink and sprinkles.

That being said, my daughter's room does have pink in it and she looks fucking adorable in bows.

I refuse to go past LGBT+ when it comes to acronyms. IT'S JUST TOO MUCH, PEOPLE. I cannot possibly actually use LGBTQQIP2SAA. No. NO. It's not that I dislike anyone...but at some point the acronym is just not effective. Maybe a discussion needs to be had about that, and when a more practical term presents itself I will use it, but until then I'm sticking with the plus. Please don't hate me.

So there ya go. I'm a bad feminist. Just like I'm a bad lotsofotherthings. But I'm trying, and that's a start.