Jailhouse Rock

A La Carte:  Let’s see… A lot of my focus has been on cutting out snacks and sugars.  Pure Protein bars are an “old school” favorite of mine, and I’ve had one with a piece of fruit or some cherries every day this week.  Also EAS AdvantEdge shakes are great.  As far as ACTUAL food, sweet potatoes are life right now.  Any way I can get them, especially fries.

Tunes:  Elvis!  That’s right, I’m tuned in to the King this week.  My 7-year-old saw a book at the store and said, “Who is Elvis?”, and I knew I had done him a great disservice.  So this week we’re blasting favorites like “Teddy Bear”, “Blue Christmas”, “All Shook Up”, “Viva Las Vegas”, and “Hound Dog”.   I have fond memories of dancing around to Elvis in my mom’s room, and we’ve had a fun time re-creating it at our house.

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Where I’m Going:  I want to go somewhere new for Christmas.  Well, maybe not ON the day, but for Winter.  It doesn’t snow here.  I’m fantasizing about somewhere white and romantic.  New York?  Paris?  Heck, I’d even consider somewhere out west.  I like to ski!  Maybe Aspen?  I could ski with Tom Cruise and we could discuss our mutual disdain for vitamins and how we both do our own stunts.

Trees in Aspen
Image courtesy Pinterest.

Flesh:  Elliptical cross-training!  I forgot how much fun the elliptical can be.  The ones at my gym have a setting called “X Train Backwards”, and on this setting you go 4 minutes forward, or regular, and 4 minutes back.  It’s great for working quads and hamstrings, and it’s FUN.  If you know me, you know fun is a necessary component in fitness.  Life is too short to have it otherwise!  So if there’s an elliptical at your gym and you’ve never tried it, please do!  Challenge yourself with the settings, too.  I like to go to the very highest level for a minute, then turn it way back down and get high reps, and repeat.  (It’s a lot like doing intervals in spin class.)  Another bonus:  The elliptical simulates skiing motions, so you’ll be prepared for that ski date with Tom!

Here’s a short article on some of the benefits of elliptical training.

Soul: I did a blog post the other day about the small eclipse this month, and already I have seen a few eery things happen (ALL good) in my life.  I’m reading about the BIG eclipse that’s coming and doing my best to prepare, without stressing or planning everything.  I like for things to happen organically and naturally, and not be forced.

Dreams:  Both dreams I remember this week took place in my grandmother’s home.  She is heavily on my mind this week, and I am supposed to go and visit her, so this is probably why.  I’ve also been researching our family tree and thinking about getting some oral histories from her.  One final explanation is that I miss her and her home, and the time I lived there, terribly some days.

Cruise Home
Image from Business Insider

Photographing:  SCHOOL IS IN!  My phone is full of photos of my big 2nd Grader.

Movies and TV: I have discovered a show for children called Pocoyo.  It is available on Netflix and it is adorable.  Very simply animated, and narrated by a man whose voice is quite similar to the guy from Winnie the Pooh (from the 80s), it’s the only thing my toddler will pay any attention to.  Before this, he would not watch TV at all.

Library:  My own book.  Two years ago I wrote a book to honor my grandfather and to process some of my own grief.  The end result has been sitting on my computer since, and I’ve been inspired by some writer friends to go ahead and self-publish on Amazon.  The issue I’m having is that it’s full of religious/spiritual references that I’ve moved on from, and I don’t want to be a phony.  I’ve attempted several different edits, but none of them feels authentic to who my grandfather was.  So… I’m stuck.  I’m sure it’s only temporary.  The next step will be figuring out how to format from Word to e-reader, and so far I can’t even get a successful download (thanks, Firefox!)

Tech: Duolingo is my best friend.  I’ve been sitting up at night becoming fluent in French, in preparation for our inevitable Paris take-over.  If you want to learn a language, consider using the Duolingo App.  It’s fun, free, and easy to learn.  Duolingo offers a variety of languages, and the lessons are short and fun.  You can track your progress, earn rewards, and share Fluency percentage with friends or even have it posted on your LinkedIn profile.

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Han and Leia and Vader, Oh My!

I just wrapped up my posts on Disney this morning, and today I found this drawing in my son’s end-of-year folder from school.  I believe it speaks for itself.

 

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In other news, it looks like instead of purchasing a new vehicle, we will be visiting Disney again this fall.

Thirteen Reasons Why: My First Book Review

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated and was not retained by the author, publisher, or any other person or persons to review this book.  I just read a lot, liked it, and want to write about it.  The opinions expressed below are my own.

“Thirteen Reasons Why” is a best-selling Young Adult novel by Jay Asher.  It’s a haunting story told by high schooler Clay Jensen, an all-around nice guy and friend to troubled (and recently deceased) classmate, Hannah Baker.

Hannah’s death comes as a shock to many, but unbeknownst to them, she has set a plan in motion to explain it.  Not to everyone – just to the people who were, whether directly or indirectly, involved in her passing.

It’s an easy, exciting read and (hallelujah!) a new concept.  While aimed at a teenage demographic, the writer does not condescend or ‘dumb it down’, and still manages to capture accurately the sometimes horrific sub-culture that is High School, USA.  The dialogue is smart and relate-able, and most importantly, believable.

Asher has found a new way to discuss an old, much talked-about subject: Bullying.  It happened when I was in school, and it happens now.  We hear about it more now thanks to social media, and that also contributes to more drastic actions by teens and unfortunately, frequently dismal outcomes.  This is what we see (or hear) happening to Hannah Baker.  A new student at a new school whose world is slowly destroyed by others, some never realizing the damage they’ve done.  He also conquers a the difficult topic of suicide, and reminds the reader that oftentimes a person’s screams for help are just whispers.  But if you listen, you can hear them.  Unfortunately for Hannah, they didn’t listen.  Now she’ll make sure they do…

Anyone who is in high school, has a child or relative in high school, or who simply wants to be more aware, should read this book.   Not only does it shed light on the real struggles (and perceived “life altering” effect of those struggles) that teenagers face, it also reminds us that what we do and say to others has meaning.  Sometimes a flippant remark can remain lodged in someone’s psyche indefinitely.  We should all be more careful with how we treat each other.   The Bible says the power of life and death are in the tongue [Prov. 18:21] and sadly, sometimes it’s more true than we want to know.

To learn more or purchase this book: http://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Reasons-Why-Jay-Asher/dp/159514188X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

To find mental health counseling in your area: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

And finally, if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.IMG_3345

Oh, Suzannah

I don’t remember a lot about high school.  I didn’t like school and I liked being in public school even less.  However there are moments and days that I do recall with fondness.  One such day, which began like any other, my life would be changed forever.

I had switched over to public school from parochial school in 8th grade, taking Algebra a second time because it was the highest math offered in junior high.  It was fine with me, because it was an easy A.  Geometry my Freshman year was a breeze.  Now a sophomore, Algebra II was difficult for me.  One of the youngest in the class, I was also pretty shy, so I sat in the back and mostly paid attention.

One day, a girl I had never seen walked into the classroom.  She had stringy red hair and jelly shoes on her feet.  I giggled.  What kind of person wears jelly shoes?  (I mean, besides the toddler kind.)  Who was this weirdo?

Turns out she was a transfer student.  Her name was Suzannah Dove.  She was from San Diego, California, and I just knew her parents had to be hippies.  She had freckles on her porcelain skin, an easy demeanor and kind smile.  She was assigned to sit in the empty desk to my left, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Throughout that school year, we chatted, we studied together, we figured out how to pass notes to each other in our graphing calculators.  (So I guess you could say weI invented texting. You’re welcome.)

Suzannah was like the butter to my toast – we were so different, and she was everything I wasn’t, but together we were better.  I had never known a friendship that was so effortless, honest and fun.  The things I loved about her then are still qualities I admire in her now.  Twenty years later, we are still best friends.  Both moms and now living on opposite sides of the country, our lives have changed drastically, but our bond remains intact.  We have weathered our share of storms and been up on peaks and down in valleys together, and I am so proud to call her my best friend.

Most of our conversations happen on Skype now, but they are still as effortless as the day we met.  Suzannah (whose mom is totally a hippie) is sweet and honest, and she still laughs at my jokes.  I still ask her advice about fashion (are jelly shoes in again?) and dealing with my dad, and I have no doubt that we will be friends for the rest of our lives and after.

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