Sunday, January 22, 2017

Life: It Goes On - January 22

For me, as with many of you, this was a tough week. I generally try to keep this blog free of politics but it's been tough in the past few weeks to stay quiet. I cannot remain quiet about a man who, in his inauguration speech, painted this country as the blackest hole in the world. Yesterday I watched a lot of the Women's March on Washington on the Facebook Live feed; they kept me inspired and kept this homebody convinced to leave the house and join the march here. I'm proud to say that Miss H and The Big Guy joined me (and Mini-him would have joined us but had to work late). Our crowd, in this red state, wasn't anything like the big cities but we did have 18,000 people (15,000 more than was expected) marching through downtown Omaha on a Saturday night, carrying signs, chanting and coming together to inspire each other to continue to make their voices heard to their elected officials. It made my heart

This Week I'm:

Listening To: I'm about a third of the way through The Emperor's Children and enjoying it but it is starting, sort of, to remind me of The Interestings in that it is about a group of people living in NYC where not much, so far at least, is happening.

Watching: Several episodes of "Orange Is The New Black," a couple of episodes of "Longmire," football and college basketball (of course), and the season (series???) finale of "Sherlock." Damn, that was twisty greatness! Oh, and Kate McKinnon as Kellyann Conway as Roxie Hart. Hilarious!

Reading: Reading? What's reading? Yeah, I know I'm meant to be participating in a readathon but it is so not happening. Not even on my unexpected day off from work due to an ice storm on Monday when I spent the entire day watching "Orange Is The New Black." I don't know why I can't make myself read right now. And I have so many great books lined up to read!

Making: Chicken noodle casserole, stir fry, Cuban sandwiches, pork roast, chicken salad - yeah, I cooked a lot of chicken and a pork roast last weekend and we used it in all kinds of ways this week.

Planning: On getting my hair colored today. Holy crap, does it need it!

Thinking About: Too many things. I can't (see Reading) concentrate on any one thing for any length of time.

Enjoying: That extra day off this week. It's the first time my company has EVER closed down. Since none of us had to go anywhere, I was able to enjoy how beautiful the ice was. I even slid down the lawn to take some pictures.

Feeling: Empowered.

Looking forward to: The Big Guy's birthday this coming weekend. Family dinner will be involved - I wonder if we can FaceTime eat with Mini-me and Miss S while we do that?!

Question of the week: Please give me your best tip to get me out of my reading slump!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Winter's Respite #Readathon

Michelle, of Seasons of Reading, a.k.a. the queen of readathons, is once again hosting A Winter's Respite Readathon. This winter the readathon lasts two weeks. An excuse to read as much as I possibly can for the next two weeks! I'm starting off with On The Sickle's Edge, which I hope to finish in the next couple of days. Then it's on to Aravind Araga's Selection Day, followed by Julia Baird's Victoria: The Queen. C'mon, it's the depths of winter now - you know you'd love nothing more than to curl up in your cozy reading spot and reading for the next couple of weeks!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West
Published May 2016 by Hatchette Books
Source: purchased for my Nook

Publisher's Summary:
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

My Thoughts:
Last year I kicked off the year with some Caitlyn Moran. It felt like the perfect way to start the year; and, I must say, it kind of inspired me to be more vocal, to make my voice heard. If we are Facebook friends, you may have gotten quite tired of it. I decided starting the year with feminism again would be a good idea.

Do you know Lindy West? West has been very active on the internet and has even appeared a couple of times on one of my favorite radio programs, This American Life. But I had never heard of her. Which may have been a good thing going into this book. I had no preconceived notions nor did I have any idea that so much of it was going to resonate so strongly with me.
"...when you're a fat person, you can't hide your vulnerability, because you are it and it is you. Being fat is like walking around with a sandwich board that says, "HERE'S WHERE TO HURT ME!"
West put into words so much of what I've felt in my life. She spent most of her life feeling bad about her weight, being made to feel bad about her weight. And then she started to get mad.
"America's monomaniacal fixation on female thinness isn't a distant is a constant, pervasive taint that warps every single woman's life. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to save our money and our time - that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women's safety and humanity are secondary to men's pleasure and convenience."
West is angry about the world treating women as second-class citizens. I mean, she uses A LOT of caps! But she is also extremely funny, and vulnerable (in the good way!), and honest. It's not a perfect book; as with all collections, some pieces are stronger than others. But I loved this book; it gave me all of the feels. Plus, I'm really pissed these days about the way our culture  treats the most vulnerable of its citizens but West gives me hope knowing that there are loud women out there fighting the good fight.
"My little victories - trolls [the internet variety], rape jokes, fat people's humanity - are world-building. Fighting for diverse voices is world-building. Proclaiming the inherent value of fat people is world-building. Believing rape victims is world-building. Voting is world-building. So is kindness, compassion, listening, making space, saying yes, saying no. We're all building our world, right now, in real time. Let's build it better."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Life: It Goes On - January 15

We've spent much of the past two days prepping to be icebound and possibly without power. Whenever I'm this prepared, it generally means that not much will happen. An unplanned day off of work could mean a day curled up with a book, which would be nice. But it might also mean I'm doing it by candlelight in a house that has no heat, except for what the fireplace can put out.

It will be what it will be, I guess. We're well stocked with junk food, propane for the grill so that we can still cook, batteries are in the flashlights and I've brought out plenty of candles. Just don't let the power go out until we're done watching football and tonight's episode of "Sherlock!"

This Week I'm:

Listening To: Show tunes on Spotify, The History Chicks and Reading Women for podcasts, and I started Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children, which is marvelously read by Suzanne Toren.

Watching: Football (of course), the weather forecasts (incessantly) and The Great British Bake Off. That last comes on Saturday mornings, after the other shows we enjoy end, and the past couple of weeks it's featured the two experts making the recipes they've challenged the contestants with. They spend a lot of time explaining the how-to's and why's of the recipes and I've been busily printing off recipes for the things they've been making.

Reading: Major oops this week! I was meant to have posted, on Tuesday, a review for On The Sickle's Edge. But, this being January, I had not gotten my sh*^ together yet about what needed to be done when so I didn't even notice that I did not receive the book. Until Wednesday. Yesterday when I looked to see when I was meant to review it, I was a little surprised. Quick email off to Trish at TLC Book Tours and I've been plopped down reading it when I haven't been doing storm prep. Review this week!

Making: Pork roast, beef stroganoff, bean enchiladas, ginger snaps. Cold weather stuff.

Planning: See above.

Thinking About: Ways to resist. Pretty sure I will join the March on Washington's sister march in Omaha next weekend.

Enjoying: Entirely too many hours of Two Dots. I may need to remove it from my phone. It's seriously impacting my reading time.

Feeling: Better now that I finally have my 2017 bullet journal up and running. I didn't realize exactly how much I had come to depend on it to keep me on task.  

Looking forward to: The Green Bay Packers game today.

Question of the week: For those of you who've been snowed (or iced) in before, what's the one thing you absolutely have to stock up on before it hits to keep you sane throughout?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Happiness Project - January

Last year I chose, for my one word, the word "happier" to be my focus. Other than putting out little notes, listening to "Happier" podcasts, and spending months reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, I didn't actually do much to make myself happier. But when I finally raced to finish the book, I was inspired to put together my own happiness project.

I've spent hours in the past week thinking about what I wanted my resolutions to be for the coming year, one a month. I'm not entirely set for the entire year but I'm most of the way there and solid on the first six months of the year. The biggest problem so far? Once I decided what my resolution would be for each month, I really want to put all of them into effect right away. But I know from experience that I can't try to change everything at once. So, one thing at a time. I hope you don't mind coming along on the journey with me. Rubin's podcast has taught me that I need to be accountable to someone in order to be successful. Each month, I'll be sharing my resolution for the month, along with the things I'll be doing that month to make it happen.

For January, my resolution is to "Get More Energy." Exactly how am I going to make that happen?

  • Get more sleep - I'm trying to make sure I'm getting 7 hours of sleep during the week, but I'm a night owl so this is a tough one for me. Eights on the weekends is the goal and if that doesn't work, I'm planning to make time for a nap.
  • Get moving - I sit at work and I can often find that I haven't gotten out of my chair in a two or three hours. I'm working to make sure that I'm getting up at least every hour, even if it's just to get copies or to grab a file.
  • Act more energetic - this one's a little harder to define but I'm thinking it will mean things like dancing while I'm making supper, talking myself into doing some cleaning even though I'm really tired and just want to sit down at the end of the day...that kind of thing.
  • Drink more water - I'm a soda girl. I love me some Diet Coke. But it's not good for you and water is. A lot more water than I usually drink, especially in the winter when cold beverages aren't necessary what I want. But I'm also dehydrated all winter, so...
  • Eat better - specifically eat more fruits and vegetables. Starting with taking a piece of fruit every day for lunch, more salads, making sure we having vegetables with every dinner.
  • Schedule appointments - I'm long overdue for a visit to the doctor and the eye doctor but I hate to take the time to go in. Gotta make that happen. 
To remind myself to stick with it, every month I'm adding the month's resolution and actions to my monthly tracker in my bullet journal. You'll notice that I've also included my word for 2017 on this page as well. For January, the actions are the same since they all also contribute to a healthier heart.

What would you do to add more energy to your life?