Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sunday Stealing: Answering 19 Fluffy Questions

I simply did not feel like coming up with anything to write today. I am far too crazy busy to think straight, but also felt like putting something down in this space. Plus, I am not very good or eloquent talking about myself (I hate it), so this could be considered an exercise of sorts. Therefore, I am playing along with this meme, which I haven’t done since I started blogging two and a half years ago. Some people I read call it a “fluff” post. I am okay with fluff.

You can find the origin of this meme here. It is called Sunday Stealing. And here are this week’s 19 questions:

Where would you retire to?  I would retire to a Caribbean island for winters, and spend summers at the lake. Not sure which one though, but a sailboat in the Caribbean would be the best of all worlds for me.

What are your best physical features? Definitely my eyes (Very light blue, so light that it is difficult for me to be out in the sun without shades), and my legs, which are more than half the length of my body (hip bones to feet).

What are your best characteristics? I believe I am very nice to everyone; doesn’t matter who you are. I am an intensely good listener. I am non-judgemental. People who are looking to have some fun usually call me.

What kind of books do you like to read? I like fiction. I also like books with a little meat on their bones, not just a light and fluffy read. Ideally, I would like something philosophical, at least a little, on which to chew.

What are you reading now? I am reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, and I am really liking it. Also, I am listening to All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. I’ve been on a bit of a McCarthy kick here recently.

Where would you want to retire to? I swear I just answered this…

What is your favorite time of day? I love mornings, so fresh and new, and the hour right before I go to bed.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a suburb of Chicago called Elmhurst. It was quiet and family oriented. My grandmother’s sisters (my great aunts) lived on either side of me, yet I was still able to get into trouble without being caught. I wasn’t closely watched.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now? I could walk to the southwest corner of Elmhurst right now if I wanted. It is about six-ish miles away from where I sit.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? I am both. I love seeing a sunrise, but don’t often enough. I’m a chipper morning person usually waking up in a good mood ready to start the day, but I prefer my mornings to be very solitary for the first hour or so. But I also love to read into the wee hours, which then makes seeing that sunrise more challenging. I’m tired most of the time.

What inspires you? Books and people, but not in that order.

Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows? Are there really people out there who can’t?

Do you have pets? I have a very large chocolate Lab. She’s six but still acts like a gregarious, and sometimes naughty, puppy. I swear she’s trained.

How many rings before you answer your phoneSomething about a ringing phone gets under my skin. I don’t ever answer the “home” phone. Really. It never fails to be a solicitor. When we move, we will not install another landline. I don’t even look at the Caller I.D. I do answer my cell phone. How many rings depends on who it is, and how I am feeling at the time. I usually pick up quickly, but my phone is always set to vibrate so I don’t always catch it. 

What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life? I have worked since I was fifteen years old. Some highlights are working security at Carson Pirie Scott, the snack shop/golf cart shack at my university’s course, counting the weekly collections at my church. As an “adult”, I was always in technology sales.

My current job is really fun. I work at the Shedd Aquarium along the lakefront in Chicago. I am one of the divers. My current assignment is maintaining tanks in the Amazon Rising exhibit. There are some big A$$, prehistoric looking fish in there, as well as huge turtles (who thinking I have food), fresh water stingrays, and PIRANHAS.

Any new and exciting things that you would like to share? Can’t think of anything. I am fully consumed with putting my house on the market and moving to the city.

What is most important in life? Having the people you love, love you back. Living life in such a way that you can sleep at night.

Did you dream last night? I dream every single night. So yes I did. It involved a dog that barked incessantly, and I remember being very annoyed. It wasn’t my best dream ;-).

Do you remember your dreams? Yes, I remember just about every single one, at least immediately after having them. The slip my mind quickly if I don’t write them down, which I used to do but do not not do currently.

Hey, feel free to ask me a question. I will (probably) answer close to anything.

This was really fun!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

WWW.Wednesday: Book Post From My Phone

This will be a very sparse post. I am writing it on my phone as it is the only device I have at hand.

What are you currently reading?

I am still reading the 1914 book of letters titled The Things He Wrote to Her.

Yesterday I began The Light Between Oceans by M.L.Stedman. This book currently seems  to have some buzz surrounding it. We shall see how it holds up.

What have you recently finished?

The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I really enjoyed this book. It's set in a bookstore (Yea!), on a New England island, and references books (those I've read and haven't, but would like) throughout. The story is sweet and touching and easy. It is definitely a great summer read.

I also finished The Road by Cormac (love this name) McCarthy. Would you find me strange if I said I loved this book? It is dark and depressing and desolate. That said, the writing is beautifully sparse, and, wonderfully yet precisely descriptive. McCarthy hits a home run with word choice. What I loved best about this book was the depiction of  a tender relationship between a father and son, and what lengths a father/parent would go to protect and care for his child. It broke my heart in such a stunning way. I may have reacted so strongly to this book because I listened to it. It is mostly dialog, and the actor reading it did a marvelous job shifting between the voices of the father and son. If you read it, please get back to me with your thoughts!

What will you read next?

Sorry, I have absolutely no idea, but maybe a book about how to sell your house quickly!

That's it for this week. Thanks to Miz B for hosting at Should Be Reading. I always feel like I should be reading. Something. Don't you?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

WWW.Wednesday: Books, But I Should Be Packing

I’m moving. Life is crazy. Squeezing in reading time has been challenging!

The hardest part about packing up all of our belongings is figuring out what to do with all the books. All five hundred of them! Some have found good homes already with several more being mailed off. That still leaves four hundred seventy-five to dispose of properly. I am seriously considering a “books only” garage sale.

I should be packing, but I wanted to update anyone out there who comes over to check out the pages I have turned.

What am I currently reading?

I bought this book and its companion The Things She Wrote to Him, I think, several years ago at the Shipshewana Auction (an Amish auction in north central Indiana). I am sure I bought them for very little and because of their intriguing titles. I came upon them recently in the packing process. Score!!! These little gems (this one first published in 1914, which this one is an orginal, and the companion book, published in 1930) are letters written between recently met romantic prospects. Each book documents the writings solely from that person, and not responses from adressee. So far, they are romantic and thought provoking, which is intriguing in and of themselves since they were written over 100 and 80 years ago respectively. I will report back when I am finished with both, and it won’t take long.

I am enjoying the heck out of this book set in a New England bookstore!

What have I recently finished?

Shotgun Lovesongs was very good!

I was afraid I would only "just like" this book because I thought What Alice Forgot was good, not great. This book continually lead me through twists and turns. Just when I thought it would most likely/probably become complacent, it more than held my attention and interest. Well done, Liane Moriarty!!! This book is really very good.

What will you read next?

An Untamed State…probably!

And, of course, I will be listening to something as well!

As always, thank you MizB at Should Be Reading for hooking all of us Bibliophiles up with one another!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Yeah Write Garblebuster: Location, Location, Location

Nat’s first “grownup” place was a fourth floor walkup studio.

The radiators knocked, lead paint peeled off windowsills,

A whiff of bug bomb permeated the hallways,

To her, it was “home”.

She’d grow accustom to the scattering when the lights turned on.


This is a 42-word response to the Yeah Write Garblebuster challenge question:

Is something crawling on me?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Remember Me and Diana Ross
If you would have asked anyone back in the old days, say in my twenties, is Gina a spontaneous person? They would have replied, “Oh yeah! Hell, yes! She is!!!”

Being spontaneous seemed automatic, something I was compelled to be, and I valued it about myself. I was that, adventurous, and carefree, too.

Fast forward through my adulthood.

If you asked anyone now who has known me over the last twenty years, or so, that very same question, they would reply, “Well yes, sometimes she can be.”

What happened? Where did that person go? Why did she stop being that way?

There is a simple answer. She made some choices along the way.

There have been more “I wish I could…” “I would have liked to…” “Darn it, I missed the opportunity to…” than I can possibly count on my fingers and toes combined with yours. In my mind, I actively traded spontaneity to marry a fantastically fun and wonderful man, have two children, and raise them as best as we could. All noble and satisfying, yet intensely time consuming pursuits, marriage and childrearing, that I wouldn’t trade for the anything. I don't look back with any regret.

It's called compromise, which I also fondly labeled "you can’t have everything" syndrome.

And even now, with my children currently away at school, and the rather long leash my husband provides for me to pursue my personal interests, the opportunities for spontaneity don’t come along as regularly as they used to, should, or at least as often as I would like. 

That is until I found myself walking with a friend down the streets of Chicago’s theater district last week. Up on the giant, mesmerizing marquee of the historic Chicago Theater was:

[blink, blink, blink]
[blink, blink, blink]

“This is the first concert I EVER saw back in 19XX,” I wistfully reminisced. (Yeah, I’m not going to mention the year except to say I was in 8th grade.)

“Let’s go. We should go. What do you have to do tonight anyway?” my friend immediately said.

“Nothing. I have nothing really to do tonight.”

So we pushed through the entusiastic crowd milling around the street front, slapped down our credit cards, and bought the last two best seats in the house. Only thing left to do was compose a text to “home” to explain where I was, and what I was doing. It went something like this:

“Guess what I’m doing tonight?”

“Going out to dinner with me?”

“NO! I’m going to see DIANA ROSS!!!”

“Huh? Why?”

“Because I LOVE her!!!"

"I didn't know that."

"Of course, I do! I’ll send you pictures!”

So from the first row center in the balcony, I danced and sang at the top of my lungs without stopping because I knew all of her songs. I always had. She changed her outfit four times, which she always had.

And I longed for the concert to go on forever because I felt a little bit more like the real me than I had in a long time, if only for one night.


Some of my favorite songs:

 “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)”, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)”, “Love Child”, “Upside Down”, “Love Hangover.”

"Remember Me"

Bye baby, see you around
Didn't I tell you I wouldn't hold you down
Take good care of yourself, y'hear
Don't let me hear about you shedding a tear
You're gonna make it
You're gonna take it

Remember me as a sunny day
That you once had, along the way
Didn't I inspire you a little higher
Remember me as a funny clown
That made you laugh when you were down
Didn't I boy, didn't I boy

Remember me as a big balloon
At a carnaval that ended too soon
Remember me as a breath of spring
Remember me as a good thing

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yeah Write Garblebuster: Every Time I See a Crow

Can't consider crows without thinking of Josephine.

("They're those who've crossed over.")

Hugging myself against the familiar shiver,

"Is it you?"

It whisper-shouts from its branch.

“What did you say? Tell me, please.”

All it does is caw,



"Damn you."


42 words to answer the question:

Why do birds suddenly appear? 

(This question made famous by The Carpenters)