Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

So, it has to happen.  I have started watching The Gilmore Girls and how could I not jump on something like the Rory Gilmore reading challenge!

Now, there are some in the list that I have already read, but I am going to read them again.  When I took a quick look, there were some I read more than once, sometimes going up to five times, but I will read it again.  I will post when I have finished, one book at a time.  I am going to keep reading other books as well, since I usually have more than one book going at any given time.

Here is the list!

1.) 1984 by George Orwell
2.) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
3.) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
4.) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
5.) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
6.) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
7.) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
8.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
9.) Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
10.) The Art of Fiction by Henry James
11.) The Art of War by Sun Tzu
12.) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
13.) Atonement by Ian McEwan
14.) Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
15.) The Awakening by Kate Chopin
16.) Babe by Dick King-Smith
17.) Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
18.) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
19.) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
20.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
21.) Beloved by Toni Morrison
22.) Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
23.) The Bhagava Gita
24.) The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
25.) Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
26.) A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
27.) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
28.) Brick Lane by Monica Ali
29.) Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
30.) Candide by Voltaire
31.) The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
32.) Carrie by Stephen King
33.) Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
34.) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
35.) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
36.) The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
37.) Christine by Stephen King
38.) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
39.) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
40.) The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
41.) The Collected Stories by Eudora Welty
42.) A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
43.) Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
44.) The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
45.) Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
46.) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
47.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
48.) Cousin Bette by Honore de Balzac
49.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
50.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
51.) The Crucible by Arthur Miller
52.) Cujo by Stephen King
53.) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
54.) Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
55.) David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
56.) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
57.) The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
58.) Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
59.) Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
60.) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
61.) Deenie by Judy Blume
62.) The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
63.) The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
64.) The Divine Comedy by Dante
65.) The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
66.) Don Quixote by Cervantes
67.) Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
68.) Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
69.) Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
70.) Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
71.) The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
72.) Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
73.) Eloise by Kay Thompson
74.) Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
75.) Emma by Jane Austen
76.) Empire Falls by Richard Russo
77.) Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
78.) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
79.) Ethics by Spinoza
80.) Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
81.) Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
82.) Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
83.) Extravagance by Gary Krist
84.) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
85.) Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
86.) The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
87.) Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
88.) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
89.) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
90.) Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
91.) The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
92.) Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
93.) Fletch by Gregory McDonald
94.) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
95.) The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
96.) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
97.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
98.) Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
99.) Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
100.) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
101.) Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
102.) George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
103.) Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
104.) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
105.) The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
106.) The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
107.) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
108.) Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
109.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
110.) The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
111.) The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
112.) The Graduate by Charles Webb
113.) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
114.) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
115.) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
116.) The Group by Mary McCarthy
117.) Hamlet by William Shakespeare
118.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
119.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
120.) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
121.) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
122.) Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
123.) Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
124.) Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
125.) Henry V by William Shakespeare
126.) High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
127.) The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
128.) Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
129.) The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
130.) House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
131.) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
132.) How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
133.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
134.) How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
135.) Howl by Allen Ginsberg
136.) The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
137.) The Iliad by Homer
138.) I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
139.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
140.) Inferno by Dante
141.) Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
142.) Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
143.) It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
144.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
145.) The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
146.) Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
147.) The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
148.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
149.) Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
150.) The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
151.) Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
152.) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
153.) Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
154.) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
155.) Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
156.) The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
157.) Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
158.) Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
159.) Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
160.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
161.) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
162.) The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
163.) The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
164.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
165.) Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
166.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
167.) The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
168.) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
169.) The Love Story by Erich Segal
170.) Macbeth by William Shakespeare
171.) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
172.) The Manticore by Robertson Davies
173.) Marathon Man by William Goldman
174.) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
175.) Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
176.) Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
177.) Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
178.) The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
179.) Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
180.) The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
181.) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
182.) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
183.) The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
184.) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
185.) The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
186.) Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
187.) A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
188.) Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
189.) A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
190.) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
191.) Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
192.) Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
193.) My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
194.) My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
195.) My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
196.) Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
197.) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
198.) The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
199.) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
200.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
201.) The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
202.) Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
203.) New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
204.) The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
205.) Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
206.) Night by Elie Wiesel
207.) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
208.) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
209.) Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
210.) Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
211.) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
212.) Old School by Tobias Wolff
213.) On the Road by Jack Kerouac
214.) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
215.) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
216.) The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
217.) Oracle Night by Paul Auster
218.) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
219.) Othello by Shakespeare
220.) Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
221.) The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
222.) Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
223.) The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
224.) A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
225.) The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
226.) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
227.) Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
228.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
229.) Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
230.) Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
231.) Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
232.) The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
233.) The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
234.) The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
235.) The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
236.) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
237.) Property by Valerie Martin
238.) Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
239.) Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
240.) Quattrocento by James Mckean
241.) A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
242.) Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
243.) The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
244.) The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
245.) Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
246.) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
247.) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
248.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
249.) Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
250.) The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
251.) R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
252.) Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
253.) Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
254.) Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
255.) Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
256.) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
257.) A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
258.) Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
259.) The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
260.) Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
261.) Sanctuary by William Faulkner
262.) Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
263.) Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
264.) The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
265.) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
266.) Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
267.) The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
268.) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
269.) Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
270.) Selected Hotels of Europe
271.) Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
272.) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
273.) A Separate Peace by John Knowles
274.) Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
275.) Sexus by Henry Miller
276.) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
277.) Shane by Jack Shaefer
278.) The Shining by Stephen King
279.) Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
280.) S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
281.) Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
282.) Small Island by Andrea Levy
283.) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
284.) Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
285.) Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
286.) The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
287.) Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
288.) The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
289.) Songbook by Nick Hornby
290.) The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
291.) Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
292.) Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
293.) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
294.) Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
295.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
296.) The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
297.) A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
298.) Stuart Little by E. B. White
299.) Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
300.) Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
301.) Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
302.) Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
303.) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
304.) Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
305.) Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
306.) Time and Again by Jack Finney
307.) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
308.) To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
309.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
310.) The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
311.) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
312.) The Trial by Franz Kafka
313.) The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
314.) Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
315.) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
316.) Ulysses by James Joyce
317.) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
318.) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
319.) Unless by Carol Shields
320.) Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
321.) The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
322.) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
323.) Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
324.) The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
325.) Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
326.) Walden by Henry David Thoreau
327.) Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
328.) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
329.) We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
330.) What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
331.) What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
332.) When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
333.) Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
334.) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
335.) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
336.) The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
337.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
338.) The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
339.) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

If I missed any, please let me know!

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About a Girl

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Hey you,

It’s been a while.  I think it’s been at least a couple of years , but to be honest, I have lost track of time.  I really don’t think you will ever read this, but sometimes, just sometimes, the internet does crazy things.  You may be sitting there one day, somewhere, maybe having a cup of coffee, and you may see this.

Sixteen years ago today, we sat together, in a hospital room.  It’s almost right on the dot of when she was born and I had my first look at our daughter.  Our first child, and at 21, I remember joking saying now we were on a time limit and I would have to have another child in two years.  We did it, too.  Crazy.

I want to tell you about our daughter, though to be honest, I will refer to her as my daughter from here on out.  You see, you maybe had two years with her, maybe three (though I am truly not sure how present you were in those years and I don’t mean that in a bad way.  We’ll get to that later), before we went our separate ways.  You missed a lot, and I know you know this.

She is really amazing.  She sometimes will do something, a look or a mannerism, that reminds me of you.  It blew my mind the first time that I saw it because it was you.  Don’t get me wrong, over the last sixteen years her and I have had some differences, but I can also say we have a great relationship.  She watched Sailor Moon with me, and Fruits Basket. She loved all the geeky things that I did and she has an inner strength that is so admirable.  In sixth grade, she dyed her hair rainbow.  I would have never had the courage to do that.  I’m proud of her courage and inner strength.  She can do some things better, like the dishes, but if I got to check off the things that I would want out of her for her life, I would put inner courage and strength above dishes.

She draws.  She draws so well and I don’t know how she does it.  She is so talented with what she can do in such little time.  I remember you used to draw a lot, and I think she probably got that genetically from you.

She’s funny, too.  I remember you had a way with words, and could make these boring stories really interesting.  I would give you credit for that, but I happen to think I am pretty funny and a decent storyteller.  I am taking the credit for that.

She is smart.  She may not give herself enough credit in this area, but she is.  She is also in Colorguard in the Marching Band in high school.  She does halftime at the football games, marches in parades, and last year they were the State Champions.  I still have the newspaper clipping on the refrigerator.

 

I could go on forever, telling you about everything she is, and how brilliant she is to be around, but I imagine you don’t have much time.  I am going to take some time for me to talk to you, and please, finish it until the end.

I can’t tell you how angry I was when we split.  It wasn’t because of the ending of the relationship, that could be seen from a mile away, but more angry about you leaving them.  I tried everything, even court, to have you just be present. It was never about the support, because let’s be honest, you and jobs weren’t really a thing, but more to put visitation on paper.  I thought then that they would get to know you, but you found ways around that too.  I may never understand why you did other things, or decided to just not be, but I have stopped trying to understand.

The last time we talked, you told me it was my fault that they didn’t want to talk to you.  You wanted me to sign some paper absolving you of financial responsibility, but I wouldn’t.  I won’t take you back to court.  I am not one for wasting my time and I know what happens.  When you told me it was my fault, I saw red, I yelled, and I honestly don’t know what I said after that.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I yelled, and I am sorry that I got angry.  I have been over my anger for years.

You see, I spent years, many years, doing just the opposite of what you said.  I covered for your extended absences, I covered when you would show up for a few weeks and then leave.  There were times you would say you were picking them up and they would wait, just wait, and you wouldn’t show.  I would come up with the excuses, and sometimes have their anger put on me, but I understood.  The last time, when you wanted to write to them, I gave them the option because they were old enough to make decisions.  They made that call, not I.  It wasn’t my fault.  I think they just didn’t feel the need to communicate with someone who never really made an effort to communicate with them.

Please don’t think that they are sad, or anything.  Oh, they lead awesome lives.  They smile, they laugh, they have so many friends and so many people that love them.  M and I may not be together anymore, but M’s family still treat them as if they were blood.  They dropped things off for her today, and M’s mom made dinner (something that she makes that L loves).  They are so loved, that someone is moving around the world to be with all of us.  That is how amazing, how wonderful, of a person that she is.  The boy’s post is coming in a couple of weeks, but he is also included in that. Imagine that, how incredible, that someone loves us all so much that they want to leave things behind to come here.

I’m not angry anymore.  In fact, thank you.  Thank you, because even though it is her day for presents, I really have the best one of all and I couldn’t have done it without you.  Thank you for helping me create them, create her, because I couldn’t imagine life without her.  Thank you as well, for leaving, if you couldn’t be what they deserve.  Sometimes I wonder if I am good enough, if I am doing a good job, but I know I do the best I can.  I hope you have a wonderful life, and find some happiness, as I have.

J.

2 Comments

September 25, 2014 · 10:13 pm

Are You Scared?

I wish I could describe to you all in most perfect words what is going on inside of me. I wish I could explain to myself what is going on inside of me.  Truth is, friends, I don’t know, and I am more than okay with it.

I was doing a thing last week and I was asked a question.  The Person looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was scared.  There was no hesitation in my answer; I gave myself no time to think about it.  “Terrified.” I told them.  I was.  I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be a good answer, because who likes to admit to being afraid.  That question stuck with me and has been replaying often in my mind, over and over.  

I gave the Person some additional information after answering that I was terrified.  I told them my fear is why I was there.  That when I think about things and if they scare me, they are most likely worth doing.  Now that I have had a week to think about it, I think it may have been the answer to everything lately.

I. Am. Terrified.

I watched “The Way” with K yesterday.  It’s a movie about a man who travels Camino de Santiago.  Maybe about a month or so ago, I discovered this and brought it to K.  I told her we should do it; we decided in 7 years because that would be the next holy year and it would give us time to save and prepare.  We watched the movie and there was a line that got me (the whole movie got me, but right in the beginning, I knew it would impact me).  It was simple.  “You don’t chose a life, you live a life.”

The walk could be done for religious reasons, or personal.  It could be none or both, but I hear it changes you.  There have always been things I planned, things that may not have happened, or things that didn’t quite happen the way I had planned them, but this cannot be one of them.  It’s almost like a calling.

I can’t tell you every story of my life, because we don’t have enough time, and I don’t think you would want to know everything, but I know the day that I lost my religion.  I was in a bind, as I usually end up being in, and was faced with one of the most difficult choices of my life.  I knew I was standing at a moment that would pave a road, and I wanted an answer, a sign.  I wanted something to help me make my decision.  I went at night, in the rain, to the closest church.  I wanted to sit in the church, have a conversation with God, ask for help.  The doors were locked.  It’s hard even as I type this, friends.  It’s so hard.  I felt alone, and abandoned.  I felt that my answer was in those locked doors.  God had turned away and told me I couldn’t go into His house anymore.  

I made my choices; I chose my life.  I didn’t walk back into a church for 8 years.  Goodness, I was so afraid.  I was afraid I would be struck down, or that everyone would know.  They would all know that I was turned away on a rainy night and branded.  They would give me looks, and tell me to leave.  I had Girl2 with me.  She was the only thing that could have gotten me back into a church.

They didn’t kick me out, look at me funny, or shun me.  I nervously sat through, waiting for the moment to come where it would happen, but it never did.  

I honestly don’t know where I stand with it all now, but I can tell you that I am having a strong sense of life change moments lately.  The decision to plan this walk is one.  My weekends being spent having more life; it may seem small, like small things, but I am reconnecting out there in nature.  I told K she was the only one who I would be able to make the camino with.  She is the one who would accept my silence, just as she does when we are caching.  I can have my inner moments, and she gets that.  When I have been out there, on the trails, in the woods, I am reconnecting with myself.  I say I am caching, but I really am breathing in the air, seeing the trees, listening to the river.  I am finding peace and myself.

I don’t know what I believe anymore.  I have my logic, and it serves me fine.  I can’t help but think there is something though.  There has to be something out there, that puts us in places, at the right times.  That something silently guides us along, watches our mistakes, lets us learn our lessons.  It puts the people in our lives, and also takes them out of them.  There has been so much lately that seems like things are happening and rather than be a spectator, I need to be in it.  I need to stop choosing my life and start living it.  It may be small things, like spending the morning out in the woods, or taking a weekend for the beach, but it is really me saying that it’s time.  

I am scared.  It’s hard to take those steps, to face your fears.  I remember when I was little and watching The Neverending Story.  Atreyu reached the Southern Oracle and he had to face himself.  I couldn’t understand how that would be such a big deal, how it could be hard to face yourself.  Oh, was I wrong.

K and I were talking to The Boy, and he had made a comment on how he wanted to have his life figured out at 20.  We laughed, not at home, but rather at the fact that we were probably once young and thought we would have everything figured out at 20.  I am less than one week away from 37 and I am nowhere closer to having it figured out than I was 17 and sitting at her kitchen table playing cards. 

I honestly don’t know how this all comes together, friends.  It’s one of those days that I can feel it; the mystical strings pulling me along, the sense that there is more meaning than what I am doing now.  The sense that I need to reconnect to myself and make changes.  I need to be connected, not just to myself, but those I love as well.  It isn’t enough to go through the motions, you have to be present, to make memories.

I am terrified and that’s okay.  I am giving myself permission to make mistakes, to learn, and to live.  I am living my life and giving myself permission to not beat myself up for the things I don’t have control over.  I am going to start mentally and physically preparing for my road ahead.  I may even start to accept the fact that maybe I am not as shunned as I believe myself to be.

 

 

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So Much Life Part Two

Two posts in one day!  I know!  This has been a pretty event filled weekend though, so I though I should hang with you guys a bit longer and tell you about Saturday.

My mom had a birthday a few weeks back and I was really trying to find something different for her.  I know what she likes and I know what I usually get her, but I figured this year should be different.  I saw something on my Facebook about a paint bar close to me.  I have heard of paint ball, and decidedly knew my mom would not fare well with that, but I had never heard of a paint bar.  I found out what it was and basically you look at their schedule, find a painting you like, sign up for the session.  

I talked about it with K (she is very artsy, me not so much), and we both thought it would be fun.  I thought that it would be nice to do something outside of the box with my mom so a plan was born.

I took the first available Saturday, which was yesterday.  I was feeling quite fine, I mean, how hard could it be?  We showed up early (planning on my part – my mom is notorious for late) and looked around.  It was filled with white canvases, painted pictures on the wall, a cute little bar.  We found our spots and waited for the class to begin.

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White canvas, so full of promise.

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What we were going to be painting.  It wasn’t even the picture I had signed us up for, but I decided it was still a cherry blossom tree, so good enough.

Friends, meet Jeremy and Brian.  Jeremy is wearing the hat and he was our artist teacher.  Brian also teaches, but today he was helping out Jeremy.  It’s as if they knew I would be coming and would need extra help.

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So, Jeremy gives a great talk before we begin, and I am still feeling very confidant.  Then it began.  He told us to dip the brush in the paint and start mixing colors.

This is where I began to panic.  I don’t art.  I sometimes pretend to art, but it isn’t pretty.  I was never good at drawing, painting, pottery, etc.  I am logic and precise.  I like directions that spell things out.  I have no talent when it comes to the being creative.  Just instilling this fear in me wasn’t enough for Jeremy.  Nope, he wanted to take it a step further.  He wanted me to put the paint on the canvas.

Jeremy took it a bit far.  That was commitment. Doesn’t Jeremy know or care about how I feel?  He did not.  He kept talking, telling us to not only touch the brush to the canvas, but to move it around in a circle.  Damn it, Jeremy.  Damn it all to hell.

At one point he suggested a break and I looked at him and yelled, “Jeremy, I am stressing out!” Didn’t he understand that my circle didn’t look like the circle on the wall?  He came over, taught me how to use a paint brush to make a circle, and as I kept doing it, he walked away.  I was left alone.

K kept reminding me not to stress out so much, that it was just the background.  I had a hard time with this, because stressing out is what I do.  

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My mom could do a circle.  Look at Jeremy, helping someone else, and I was still freaking out about my circle.

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Here is K, working on her circles.  

As I sat there, looking at everyone else who did not seem to be having a nervous breakdown, I realized that they didn’t seem to care as much about their circles.  They accepted them and kept going.  I learned about art in that moment.  It isn’t about having a perfect circle.  It isn’t about blending your colors like everyone else’s.  The bottom of mine at that time actually looked like a choppy sea and I was debating making a boat.  I then set the tone for myself for the rest of the session: I was going rogue.

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Selfie moment with the not perfect circle and the choppy sea at the bottom!  

I then started to relax.  We got to the tree and I yelled to Jeremy that I was going rogue.  He accepted this.  I think he accepted my not perfect circle, and my tree that looked like Tim Burton created it and used it for The Nightmare Before Christmas. I painted, friends.  I painted a picture that ended up looking like a damn cherry tree.  I let go, and just decided that I was okay with a pitchfork branch.  My mom kept saying her tree was too fat.  I had a pitchfork.  Some trees are fat, and some have pitchfork branches.

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It was an amazing, awesome, experience, with two women who mean the world to me.  I learned to let go, accept, and it was okay if it wasn’t perfect.  I’m proud of my painting.  I am proud I created something.  Do something that scares you and smile when you make it through.  I kept looking at a quote they had on their wall, and I am going to sign off with it.  Until next time friends, I hope you all have days coming up filled with so much life.

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So Much Life Part One

Hello friends!  I hope things have been going well for you and yours.  I do have to say, things have been going pretty well from my neck of the woods.  Spring has come, school is almost out for the children, and the weather (for the most part) has been bearable. Recently, my girl K and I have discovered geocaching.  It’s been around for a while, but it wasn’t anything I was familiar with.  In a nutshell, it’s hide and seek (with objects).  People place caches of various sizes in places in the outside world.  Your job is to use a GPS (I use my phone) and find said objects.  You can sign a log book, if there are items you can take one (but you have to leave one too).  If interested, I would recommend geocaching.com, or download the app (it’s free!).

So, K and I decided we are taking this on.  We usually don’t have the same days off, or I will have J with me (we tried this with J, but it wasn’t very pretty).  What we do now is pretty much the nights I don’t have J, when I get home from work, we venture off to find some near our house.  There is a bunch around, so finding one to track isn’t a problem.  It usually gives us a good mile+ walk and I am finding this to be a much better use of my time than playing a video game until I go to bed (I still will get a Diablo run in for now, but it is really relaxing to come home and then be outside).

The first time we ran out, it was raining.  I didn’t have a poncho, or an umbrella, so I did what any sane person would do:

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I donned a trash bag and we headed out.  Classy!

I wish I could say that we fared well that day, but alas, we did not find a single cache.  We did find a family of geese.  There was like 13 babies, three adults, and they were all huddled around where I needed to be.  That was enough to stop me, but not K.  She was on a mission, and geese or no geese, we were getting to that spot.

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No, baby geese.  

Even though we may have walked away empty handed, it was still the most amusing of times.  It also ended up being an awesome stress reliever for after work.

Today, since no children were in the house, we decided we were going to make a morning of it.  We found a spot a few towns over that had bunches of them along a trail.  I woke up this morning, one eye opened, saw her and said, “You ready?”  I decided we could get coffee on the way as I wanted to get started as early as possible.

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Seriously, this is how I looked getting into the car this morning.  

So, now I will regale you with some pictures of our adventure along Hop River trail.

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K has a cache!

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Look!  It’s a dinosaur in a rock!  This one was called Jurassic Park.

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I was only slightly uncomfortable with where the cache was.

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We probably were knee deep in poison ivy.  It’s cool.

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This was taped to some artificial flowers and planted next to a tree.  Tricky!

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Here was one that was taped to some pussy willows.  Best thing about this one was that I was standing in front of it for about 4 minutes telling K I thought it mat be in a pussy willow bush and we had to keep searching for a pussy willow bush.  I failed to see the fake ones right at my feet.

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Here is one we found from today.  This one was full of so much goodies.

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Not from today, but we discovered this, less than a half mile from my house.  I had no idea this even existed.

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Sometimes you have to make the climb to get the prize.

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My hair was still pretty awesome.  The bugs thought so as well.

Which now brings me to things I have learned about geocaching, while geocaching:

1) Camo really works.  I have only seen it used as a fashion statement, and I am still trying to figure out where you would be camouflaged where hot pink is needed, but out in the forest?  Yeah, the regular camo coloring works really well.

2) Just because the GPS says you are 3 feet in front of it doesn’t mean it is 3 feet in front of you.  Or see number 1.

3) Bug spray.  One day I will remember.

4) I learned that you really need to be incognito while geocaching.  That or people stare at you really funny when you are walking around in a circle holding your phone out in front of you.  Plus, you don’t want to give the spot away.  Really though, I think it is so people don’t think you are a maniac.  I tend to just not make eye contact which maybe also makes me look shady combined with the hair.

5) Trails will throw out some benches here and there because I think they knew I am not that outdoorsy, and I may need a place to sit.  Thanks, nature.  I appreciate your benches.

6) It does not however, have docking stations for your cell phones.  When using your iPhone as a GPS, it tends to suck batteries down pretty quickly.

7) Nature has an answer for that too, and will usually color coat their trees so I have some help.  Good looking out again, trees.

8) Bring like 5 pens.  You will lose them all.

9) Remind yourself to bring 5 pencils instead since the one pen you have left may run out of ink on the last cache.

10) Enjoy yourself.  We spent a lot of time on our one way walk to the caches, but put the phones down when we were done and took in our surroundings.  It’s gorgeous out there and one should get out and reconnect with it every once in a while.

So, all in all, I can solidly say I have an amazing new hobby.  If you are reading this and in my area, hit me up and I am sure K and I would be happy to show you the beginner ropes that we are still working with.  We try to go out a few times a week, either when I get out of work, or one of the weekend days.  If you go on your own, pocket a couple of small trading items (in case you find a cache with items, take one and leave one sort of thing) and something to write with.

Happy caching, friends!  Get out there and find something someone hid for you to uncover!

 

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June 8, 2014 · 6:42 pm

Why this Kickstarter is so Important to Me

I do have so much to tell you friends.  I can’t fit all of it here, but I can tell you I have been spending time doing some new things that have ended up in ridiculous stories.  I can say it’s mainly about starting geocaching (which has been so much fun getting into).

This is not about that.  This is about what I think may be the most important Kickstarter I have ever backed.

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of money.  What I did have was books.  I don’t remember a time where books were not important to me.  I remember being young and trying to sound out “Grey’s Anatomy”.  I remember the first time a book really got to me and I started bawling (Charlotte’s Web).  I remember trips to the library and many lazy afternoons, curled up with books to keep me company.

I also remember LaVar Burton.

An entire show about books.  It was magical and lovely.  It helped instill in me my love for books at a young age, teaching me that by opening a book, I was no longer a little girl sitting on a third floor porch.  I could go anywhere, be anything.  I could travel to lands and see them in my mind.  I could go on exciting adventures, some of them I even got to make my own choices (who didn’t love Choose Your Own Adventure books).  As I got older, that love didn’t die.  I learned that a book could get my pulse going and make me leave the light on.  I wouldn’t sleep with the closet door open for the longest time.  I could fall in love with love through books.

Friends, this was just as important a show as Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for me.  It wasn’t just me, either.  Most people I talk to around my age have wonderful memories of the show that taught us opening a book and expanding our minds was the most amazing thing to do.

The statistics now are scary.  1 in 4 children in the US will grow up illiterate.  That is just in the US.  There are countries where that number is probably higher; children who will grow up and never know the magic of books, or how much can be learned from them.

We can help.

This Kickstarter is a plan to bring Reading Rainbow to the web, into classrooms, not to a few, but making it accessible to everyone.  What he says makes perfect sense; 30 years ago, TV was the place to be to reach children.  Today, it is digital.  While there are many who may not have computers at home, there is access at schools.  Reading Rainbow can continue to do for those what was done for me.

Reading Rainbow gave me so much, I am so grateful to be able to be a part of this, even in a small way.  I hope you all will consider this as well.  Whether you watched the show or not, the importance of literacy, of the written word, is too important to let 1 in 4 children (more worldwide) go without at least trying to make it better.  You don’t have to be in the US, as this is something that will be worldwide.

The initial goal was met in less than 24 hours.  Now it is over double.  That does not mean that there is not a reason to donate.  Every dollar helps more people, more children.  It expands it more, brings it to more places, hopefully makes more life long readers.  I still love the smell of books, the feel of books, the art of them.  I do contribute Reading Rainbow as helping to foster that feeling for me.

I leave you all with a quote from one of the best authors I know:

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou

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May 30, 2014 · 12:16 am

Dance Party

It seems like it’s been far too long since there has been a dance party at my house.  It used to be a weekly occurrence, usually Friday nights, where I would get home for work, get some songs queued up, and just jam out.

Today has been a really good day, friends.  K and I took Girl2 down the street to the lake and just fed some geese, tried to LARP on a hiking trail (but Girl2 wasn’t having it.  She said no fights, said I could have traps, but there could still be no fighting because it was a peaceful place.  She wouldn’t even see my logic on if there are traps, it doesn’t seem so peaceful.), then came home and just put on music.  It took some time, but soon you could feel the vibe in the air.  Throw on some cheesy songs and people will move.  Myself included.  It was good to feel present.

I will end my day, tired, but happy.  I also have never seen a girl break it down like Girl2 on Gangham Style.  

I hope you all are well <3

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