around here…that early fall feeling…

Yeah, it’s not technically fall. But I think most of us have our own personal definitions of when a new season begins. For me, as I’m sure for many others, fall begins with back to school. And this year the weather is backing me up. My goodness, has the weather been delightful here. Frankly, with all the pain and suffering being experienced by so many because of the weather, it’s quite unfair how glorious our weather has been.

I love all the seasons. Truly. While winter may edge the others for top spot, autumn holds so many special treasures. Not the least of which is its colors and textures. Yes autumn, you are spectacularly beautiful. If only I were a better photographer and could do your beauty justice. But for me, taking pictures isn’t really about the end result. It is more about the doing, the paying attention. Now obviously one doesn’t need a camera in their hands to pay attention, but I admit it helps me.

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looking forward to…September…

This summer has been a bit of a struggle. Mentally and physically. I haven’t felt quite myself, and I’ve tried hard to straddle that line between accepting that it’s okay, even necessary, to acknowledge and respect my negative feelings and fighting to not let depression completely take over. Ah, but that’s honestly not what I want to post about…but instead is just the back story as to why I’m here trying this whole blogging thing again. Blogging was something that used to bring me such joy. Partly it was about having a place to just ramble on about whatever, and partly it was about reading other peoples’ blogs and building/maintaining friendships with a bunch of truly special people. Over the past few months I’ve really missed blogging. I’ve missed reading. Honestly, I’ve missed a lot of things that typically make me happy because I just haven’t been able to make myself do them. But here’s to jumping back in.

So here it is, time to say goodbye to August, and get ready to welcome September in. Typically I have very mixed feelings about saying goodbye to summer, but this year I think I’m ready. And these are a few of things I’m looking forward to in September:

  1. RIP XII. You know, just everything about it. RIP brings back overwhelming feelings of nostalgia. And while blogging has vastly expanded my reading horizons, RIP allows me to go wallow in my reading roots. And I’ve got hopes that maybe this is just what I need to bring back that utter joy in opening up a book and climbing in.
  2. Back to school. LOL–I can’t believe I’m even saying that! It’s usually the thing I dread about fall. But depression, fibro, and anemia have really ganged up on me this summer leaving me feeling so utterly exhausted all the time. And exhausted didn’t jibe well with all the things that needed done–moving Annie, painting, gardening/preserving, etc. Getting back to the less physical sorts of work that homeschool planning/prep/execution require actually sounds like a nice change of pace about now. And holy crap, how can it be Gray’s senior year?!! The last year that my life will be pretty much dominated by homeschooling.
  3. The natural beauty of fall. Yes, of course the changing leaves and blooming sedum and all of those stereotypical images of fall. But also the dead flowers. I just can’t explain why the beauty of dead flowers so moves me.
  4. Ushering in the foods of fall. Soups and pumpkin and apples. But most of all, I’m looking forward to Rich’s first bigass pot of chili of the season. Holy yum!
  5. Our library book sale. I got in it my head that I really needed to weed down the number of books I owned this summer, and thus did a huge culling, getting rid of several boxes of books. Somehow it failed to make much of difference in how things looked, however. And well, I can pretty much guarantee that a portion of my hard work will be undone, because I just cannot help but go overboard at our local book sale. *shrugs*

So goodbye August. September, come on in…

tidbits…

*I’m so far from alone in my feelings about the state of the world right now. The normalization of hate. Not that hate hasn’t always existed, of course. But after Brexit, and after the still unfathomable presidential election in the U.S., it’s become a more openly hateful, less friendly, less compassionate planet. For so many there was this turning point, after which nothing felt normal any more. And even months later, it’s hard to know what to do with oneself. Yes, there’s the endless petitions to sign, there are letters to write daily, if I had a phone there would be calls to make, there are rallies and protests to attend, there is reading to be done, and so much listening to do…but beyond those acts, what do we do with ourselves. How do we approach the things that make up a life? I’ve heard many people say that apart from their resistance activities, they have largely pulled inside themselves. And that’s what I’ve done too. I’ve had talks with friends about the importance of not letting go of hope and not letting go of joy…because if we do that, well, hate wins. But it’s hard. Some days it feels impossible. Anyway, last night I was having a text chat with my dear friend Chris, and he said one of the most meaningful things I’ve heard in dealing with the world. In part, he said, “…sometimes I think the best thing we can do is just be our most authentic selves and put that out in the world whatever way we’re able to in that day…” There was more, and it was all rather beautiful, but this particular line really struck me. Even when you’re exhausted and discouraged, show your love. Kindness should be a given, and yet somehow it feels nearly radical these days. Share yourself, your creativity, your kindness, your love.

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*Switching gears entirely. Finished a book last night. A book I never would have read if not for homeschooling. While some of the books, Gray and I have read for his sci-fi class genuinely have knocked my socks off (Octavia Butler’s Parable books being the most recent), Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not that kind of book. But I have to admit it was fun! I enjoyed reading it far more than I would have guessed. Yeah, it was a bit silly, a bit cheesy. But like I said it was fun. Even a wee bit suspenseful at times. And definitely an interesting peak back at 1950s small-town America. Never would have read it if not for homeschooling, but I can’t say I’m one bit sorry that I did.

IMG_0660*My uncle died yesterday. I wasn’t close to this particular uncle, but my heart is breaking for Mom. He was her baby brother. Said baby being almost 74-years-old. He is actually the first of my uncles or aunts to die. It was a powerful reminder (there have been several of those in the last couple years) of how old my parents are getting to be. And of how I am not ready to lose them. But then, when is anyone ever ready to lose a parent…

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a walk down memory lane…

As I was thinking about and trying to throw together a book pool for Dewey’s Readathon last night, I decided to go back and look at my posts from the very first 24-hour-readathon to see what books I’d read then. And then I truly got sucked into those posts from so many years ago. Reliving my introduction to the then relatively small world of book blogging. Reliving how that rekindled of my passion for reading and books. Reliving how that expanded my bookish explorations into realms I hadn’t even known existed.  Reliving family stories, so many little stories of the kids that I’d forgotten, funny stories and heartbreaking stories and just everyday stories of living. Reliving the blossoming and early beginnings of some of the most important and precious relationships in my current life. I’ve tried to imagine what my life would be like if not for that first blog of mine…but it’s one of those endeavors that ends in failure. I really cannot imagine. That blog changed my life for the better. Friends like Chris and Ana help keep me going in this effed-up dystopian nightmare we’ve entered. Chris and Ana and Dewey and Eva, and many others too, all helped me grow as person, all helped me tweak my worldview whether any of them knew it or not. I’ve learned so gosh damn freakin’ much from blogging that it boggles my mind.
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I cried a lot as I read through some of those old posts. Some of those tears were simply from nostalgia. A lot of those tears were over missing Dewey and how very real that void still is. (At this point I guess it’s time to admit that the grief I feel over losing my dear friend will always remain.) But some of those tears were happy tears, tears of gratitude for having these stories, those memories written in a place where I can revisit them. It made me realize in a pretty big way how much I miss blogging. Blogging in the way I did then. There was a freedom in my ramblings then, a freedom to write about whatever the hell I wanted. I felt like I was really seeing me in that old blog. Don’t get me wrong–there were definitely moments I cringed at some of the things I’d said. But that’s just proof of my growth as a person. And so much of that growth I attribute to the friendships I made through that very blog.

I want to blog like that again. I want to feel that freedom to babble about whatever the hell I please. To talk in my unsophisticated way about books. To tell the everyday stories of my life. To keep those weekly lists of the good stuff. To just be me, with all my myriad flaws and imperfections.

So this is a fresh “hello” to you, the wee bits of happy. I’m hoping that from here on out I can treat you with the love and affection that I think we both deserve. It’s still a little early in the day to toast this new beginning with champagne, but you know somehow coffee doesn’t exactly feel inappropriate here. So cheers