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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bliss Kit.

This thought came from a Darling Magazine article by Andrea Corp. I love the sound of the phrase bliss kit. So I'm thinking about what simple objects and experiences bring my bliss and how I can access that more often.
  • Fresh flowers. I love pink and white roses, miniature daffodils and miniature irises, and glittered daisies. Oliver climbs everything right now, so fresh flowers aren't really possible. Maybe I can find some faux hydrangea. 
  • Hydrangea and fuchsia. I can see the former at Bruce's apartment complex and the latter at Mom's house when the weather is ready.
  • Retellings of fairy tales. I have a few of these waiting. I've loved them since I discovered Robin McKinley and Francesca Lia Block.
  • Walking through shaded trails at the botanical gardens.
  • Bella Grace Magazine, my current favorite. It's full of inspiration and lifestyle lessons. I need to make more time to read it.
  • A sturdy journal. My current journal is falling apart because it has a glued binding (and of course, I use the journal heavily). I'll watch for sewn bindings from now on. Spiral journals can also be sturdy and easy to use.
  • Colorful pens. I like color barrels and inks. Metallics and glitters are even better. I'm delighted with any pen anywhere.
  • Beautiful quotations. I keep composition books of quotations. I need to go to them and enjoy them.
  • French lifestyle books. This is the closest I have to a guilty pleasure--I don't feel guilty! I just love reading about French approaches to fashion, beauty, home, and relationships.
  • Sharing popcorn with Bruce at the movies.
  • Brie spread.
  • Back tickets from Josh.
  • Sparkly stickers.
  • Going to the theatre.
What's in your bliss kit?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Restoration: Week 2.

I've continued reading poetry in the bath. It feels natural now. I finished Mental by Jaime Lowe, so I've learned more about BSD and finished my first book of the year. I want to pick up the reading pace. I've started French Women Don't Get Fat. I'd like to read two books this week to get to one book per week.

Josh and I will have one long morning and a couple of short mornings alone together. We can talk and nap and kiss.

I went for a walk with Bruce and also did some exercises at home. Still, I haven't done much to restore my old weight.

I've begun a higher dose of Prozac to help restore my mental health after a crying breakdown. I believe the higher dose will help.

I felt beautiful in silver glitter eye makeup.

I restored my desire to scribble after going to Staples with Bruce. The store now has far more notebooks, stickers, and writing tools.

I'm restoring and strengthening my faith by continuing to read the Bible. I haven't had much trouble keeping up. Finally reading this sacred text is exciting.

I looked at a Pottery Barn Teen catalog and imagined beautiful rooms, restoring my sense of the lovely.

This coming week, I want to stay curious. I want to read with discipline and devotion. I want to watch at least one movie. I want to enjoy children's books. I want to look at photos of Oliver as a baby. I want to restore other relationships. I want to learn about something. I want to find new ways to restore my mind and my heart.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Bold Reader: New Year, Week 2.

Books surround me, both literally and figuratively. Reading is both a joy and a matter of responsibility to my own mind. I want to stretch and strengthen my mind and my reading. Each serves the other.

I finished reading Mental by Jaime Lowe. I learned about lithium and about how bad manic delusions can get. My own grandiosity and delusions have been relatively mild--at least, that's what I think. As I told Bruce, I could touch the edge of Lowe's narrative, seeing who I could have become and still may become. Though I've never seriously wanted to go off my meds, this book reminds me why I must not. Mental is also my first finished book of 2018! I hope to pick up the pace and finish a book once a week.

I'm still working on my other books--I need to make more time for them. I've read two weeks' worth of the Bible. And I'm reading poetry in the bath every night--candle, bubbles, and three books of verse make a good nightly ritual. And though I usually only read one poem for each book per night, I will finish them eventually.

Though I don't really need to add books, I'm going to replace Mental with French Women Don't Get Fat. A few years ago, I had no interest in the book, but now, I'm trying (not very hard!) to lose weight. Plus, it's a French lifestyle book! I did like Guiliano's Women, Work, and the Art of Savoir Faire. I just love anything about living like a French person. My parents have me Entre Nous many years ago; that's probably how the obsession started.

Some of my GoodReads friends have already read three books this year! I have some catching up to do.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sitting up for Poetry.

I've come to believe that a day is better with poetry in it. I need the rich images and the perfectly-chosen words. I need the sound of the words, beautiful despite my flawed voice. Poetry can put a sheen on everything or make me feel brave and less alone. I hope to be a life-long poetry reader. My MFA classes introduced me to a gorgeous world of poetry about which I knew nothing. I still know so little.

In my experience, poetry, regardless of its age, is not an easy read. Old poetry may be difficult to understand, and while contemporary poetry may be more accessible, it rarely has the rhyme and meter that many people expect.

When I taught literature and creative writing, I told my students that contemporary poetry was an acquired taste. I've acquired it, but as I recommended to my students, I still read poetry aloud.

Recently, I was lying in bed and decided to read a few poems, holding the book up over my face. I couldn't focus my eyes or my mind. I sat up in bed and read easily. I laughed. Apparently, poetry expects me to sit up when I read. It's a sign of respect and focus. It tells my brain that this is important and requires my full attention. And that message makes the reading easier.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Restoration: Week 1.

This past week, I've moved toward restoration. Bruce asked me how I was honoring restoration; I like that wording.
  • Faith. I read the first week of The Daily Bible, working toward restoring and building up my faith. I'd forgotten how rough early Genesis was. Josh is reading it too, so many that will help restore and refresh our relationship.
  • Marriage. Josh and I also worked on restoring our relationship by working on his schedule and finding some time alone for us on Friday mornings. We had Tuesday mornings last semester, and we often napped together, but that restored us too.
  • Reading. I didn't finish a book yet, and I need to finish a book each week to reach my annual goal of 50 books. But I read from several books, keeping up pretty well with the Bible and poetry. I've been checking my shelves for children's books since that's my focus for winter. One evening, I sat still and read for over an hour. I've been getting into the flow with it, perhaps for the first time in months.
  • Sleep. I know sleep does heal the body and the brain, so I'm trying to make sure I sleep enough.
  • Motherhood. I had Oliver at home much more than I expected because of snow and ice. He allowed and even sought a lot of cuddling. That gives me a rush of motherly love. I need to tune into that more; it's a reset button.
  • Musical theatre. Bruce and I saw On Your Feet in Durham. It energized me, and I've been singing Gloria Estefan songs every since. At the theatre, I feel closer to my real self.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bold Reader: New Year, Week 1.

Yesterday, I finished my first week of reading the Bible. That may be the most daunting of books! My mom has read the whole Bible every year for many years. I asked her to give me The Daily Bible for Christmas, so I could read it with her this year. Josh joined in too! What varied perspectives we have. It's quite an undertaking, though, especially after such a rough reading year. But the Bible will be the 50th book I finish this year. I have to be a bold reader, and a disciplined one, to reach this goal.

I'm reading several books at once. This works well for me sometimes. When a book becomes difficult, I pick up another, so I can take a break but keep reading. Here's what I'm reading now:
  • Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer. This is my current children's book for my winter focus.
  • Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind by Jaime Lowe. This is the book I'm currently reading with Bruce. Reading a book about my mental illness can be enlightening but also overwhelming. Still, I want to learn and feel less alone.
  • The Broken Way by Ann Voscamp. I'm reading this because I loved her first book. It's not easy to read, but I'm almost half way through it.
  • Uniquely Human by Barry M. Prizant, PhD. My darling friend Melissa recommended this book on autism. I've not gotten very far yet but the case examples are so interesting and sometimes familiar. 
  • Donald Hall's Selected Poems (White Apples and the Taste of Stone)
    Book of Poems
    by Federico Garcia Lorca, dual language
    Best American Poetry 2010 (my favorite poet, Amy Gerstler, is the editor)
    I read one poem from each book every night, always aloud. Reading poetry is always bold.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Journal and the Blog.

While the blog and the journal are separate, they do intersect, sometimes in ways that surprise me. I've been serious about journaling since I was 15. I've had blogs through Live Journal and Myspace, but I began this blog, with its specific purpose, when I was pregnant with Oliver almost 7 years ago. Sometimes, a blog post will emerge from regular scribbles. I've also done a few page-from-my-journal posts.

A couple of years ago, I started the practice of giving myself writing prompts in my journal. Prompts come from questions, questions I have while reading, or just fleeting images.  To keep them distinct from my scribbles, I started writing the prompt at the top of the page and leaving the page blank. Sometimes, I would immediately address the prompt. More often, I would leave a sticky flag on the side of the page and come back to the prompt later. This means I usually can't put my journals away when I finish them because, technically, I haven't finished them: some still have a fringe of sticky flags. Sometimes, I'm not able to respond to one prompt, so I try another. Something usually pops.

Eventually, I realized that many of these prompt responses were just right for blog posts--short and focused on a topic or question. So when I respond to a prompt, I move the flag from the side of the page to the top, so I know it's ready for typing and revision.

I think the blog is a sort of condensed manifestation of my journal. My scribbles are full of boring nonsense, but I try to make the blog clear and bright.