read me: way behind.

i haven’t caught you up on what i have been reading in quite a long time. remember when i started that book club? well, we had 2 meetings and…kaput! sad, really. i want to revive it because we had a great group of ladies reading, discussing and thinking together! of course “life” gets in the way. all good (well, mostly good) life things keep us busier than we might like to think we are. we try to plan this or that, and eventually one thing at a time falls by the wayside.

i do continue to read A LOT, though, even if i don’t have anyone to talk with about each book. i will try to remember all the books i have read since last posting a “read me” here. wow…i just checked back through my posts and july 7th was the last time i posted about the books i had read! that’s a LOT of catching up to do!

here goes…in no particular order!

1. swamplandia

three children have lived secluded lives on a small tourist/amusement island in the everglades until their lives are shaken by the sudden loss of their mother. the oldest, kiwi, runs away thinking he can save his family financially, the middle child, osceola, begins a relationship with a mysterious  (and questionably real) man. and after their father disappears onto the mainland, ava (the youngest) sets out into the dangerous swamp to search for and save her sister. this is a story of a family thrown into chaos, all dealing with their loss in the ways they know best. i enjoyed the fantasy and adventure but not-s0-much the ending…

2. shanghai girls

i loved learning facts about shanghai and san francisco in the late 1930’s. i had no idea immigrants were both pushed from shanghai and also kept from entering the united states. what a confusing and wrought time in history. the sisters in this book made me angry in turn. one makes a sacrifice and the other holds that over her head…this goes back and forth throughout their lives. they swing from pure love for each other to mean jealousy, it is both maddening and heartbreaking to read about their relationship. as they grow together in their new country they push and pull and ultimately cling to one another. this is a raw depiction of sisterhood that made me think about and look more closely at  my own sister-relationship as well as other sisters i know. good read-thought provoking, but very sad too.

3. animal dreams

animal dreams is a beautiful tale about a young woman’s journey back home after many years of doing all she could to stay away. once home, she finds and confronts old hurts, old loves, old friends, old memories. she reconciles some, heals some and hurts some. this is another perfectly written story by barbara kingsolver that completely resonates with me, my life, my experiences…i loved it!

4. sookie stackhouse: dead in the family

eh. i have written before about how addicting these books are…but this one disappointed me. it was pretty boring, actually. it took me a long time to get through it and just felt like a “oh, i have a deadline but no good ideas” kind of book. so, eh.

5. let the great world spin

wonderful! heartbreaking and real and raw and beautiful! this book is a string of stories all connected by one man’s act on a morning in new york city. it doesn’t try too hard or push to far…this book is absolutely perfect story telling!

6. sookie stackhouse: dead reckoningbetter than the last one. maybe i’m just over sookie for awhile?!

 *i know there are more books on that list….but for now this is all i can think of! on my to-read bookshelf right now:

miss peregrine’s home for peculiar children

hector and the search for happiness

bossypants

never let me go

hopefully i will get through some of these next week while on vacation! it will feel so weird to have time to read….or will i?

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opposite of fear.

i used to carry this little painted rock around with me in my purse. it had the word “courage” etched into it. i would find it in the bottom of my purse when i needed it and just hold it.  sometimes i put it back into my purse  and sometimes, when i felt i didn’t need it, i would put in somewhere else. then i would find it here or there, hold it tight, and find a new home for it again-it was just a little security, a little reminder. i have had that rock for years now. it was given to me by an unknowing stranger when i really needed courage at a terrible and confusing time in my young adulthood. i never showed it to anyone, never talked about it. but i always knew it was there as a reminder to be strong, find my courage and trust myself.

since it is currently here or there…this is a drawing to show exactly what my rock looks like…

i thought of that rock yesterday because i encountered a person who made me shake and feel angry. i am not a person with a temper- sad and hurt yes, angry not so much.  i felt all of that yesterday-sad, hurt, and angry- when a person attacked me and threatened my business. i became a protective mama bear ready to defend her young.  i needed that courage- that reminder to be strong and trust myself and my instincts.
the thing is…i thought of the rock after the fact…this time i didn’t need to feel the weight of it, to trace the word courage with my finger.  i gained my composure, thought rationally and managed the situation without my little courage rock in hand. thinking of it later, i smiled to myself- proud that i was able to summon my courage, eradicate my fears, take a deep breath, and defend myself calmly.

see, i used to shut down completely when met with anger, contempt, plain meanness and even disapproval. i am a “yes-woman”, a pleaser. i have been told i have no backbone,described as a doormat. that was then. now i am strong. i am fierce and i believe in myself! i still have an extremely difficult time saying “no”, even in the gentlest ways and for the best reasons. i am growing, though. i am learning that being able to say “no”, to stand up for myself, to be courageous  and sure- those things are SO important. those things make me a better friend and businesswoman. those things make me more confident and therefore more trustworthy. they make me like me more!

so, i have found it. i have found, within myself, the courage i needed. and without my rock, this time.

and to mean people who try to take away what i have worked so hard to build up…stop it. go away. no thank you. good bye.

it’s november.

another month has come and gone and i am left saying “how did it slip by so quickly”. october was the busiest month for us so far this year! here are some near family october highlights (not at all in order!):

*we enjoyed family time in indy*

jockamo pizza in irvington

*we joined friends to watch good friend matt halvorson  (and serenity fisher) play at max’s place*

*we created some family fall traditions*

amazing acres with gretchen

*allison came to town!*

(then moved to DC to start her new job!)

alli & lori at brianne’s wedding

*lola, lola, lola*

build, destroy, build, destroylola wanted grammy to build towers on her bellylola rearranging her paintings on our refrigerator

*we celebrated a beautiful wedding between 2 amazing people*

bride & groom- brainne & alex

mr. & mrs. white!

beautiful bridesmaids- lori & adri

there was a LOT of love and & joy in that barn!mike and greg grew creepy mustaches (per the brides request)

*mike turned 30!*

birthday card from mike’s mom

*opposite of far made it’s mark & some cool custom orders*

(see more custom order masks & costumes under the “custom order” tab)

opposite of far shipped all over the country, including alaska- AND to london, france and australia!penguin mask- made for a family of 4fox mask with white earssnowy owl for a hedwig costume

*opposite of far enjoyed the irvington halloween festival*

the boothelliana with near&dear doll flora in a fox masknew friends dan (& hillary) of  kin ship press (LOVE THEM!)

*my little sis got engaged!*

the happy, newly engaged couple

the ring!

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See…busiest month ever! And those were just a few of the highlights! 🙂 Here’s to November being (a little) less busy!!