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Holidays

Here is the difference between being depressed and grieving. Last year – from Thanksgiving on – I was mired in depression. My therapist worded it best when she said, “depression feels like emptiness and emptiness hurts.” Last year I could look at a brightly decorated tree, the wee faces of my cute kids, or bask in the warm hum of Christmas activity and feel nothing but hollowness.

How different this year has been! There are some very painful and personal struggles right now, but I am still able to relish the good. I can grieve my hurts and feel joy. I’m going to focus on the good of this season. I cooked a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for Sam, the kids, and my friends, Nicky and Eric. We forgot to take pictures because we were so engrossed in eating cheese, drinking coffee, and chatting late into the night. Sam and I decorated with the kids and each kiddo got an individual mini-shopping trip and time with me to pick out little gifts for their siblings. Some good friends threw an amazing 1st birthday party for their little girl. The kids baked “Christmas tree brownies” that turned out more like lumps (but they tasted delicious). I’ve addressed some Christmas cards  and wrapped gifts. I had breakfast and a morning shopping for yarn with my mom. My evenings are spent crocheting and enjoying the glow of our tree. I hope your holidays are off to a great start!

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I’m trying to exist in the tension right now. The tension that whirs and knots in the mind and body when you realize that everything is heinously bad and so beautifully good at the same time. How am I even managing to vacillate between the two? I’m not even vacillating; each moment I’m pulling ragged breaths of heartache and joy, disappointment and hopefulness.

Right now the awful parts. The guy that hurt my daughter is most likely not going to jail. When we left court just over a week ago we thought he was about to be arrested on a separate indictment in another case (a case that involved grabbing a different girl by the throat, threatening her with a knife, and forcibly detaining her). As we were exiting from our hearing the deputy had this young man in a chair and was calling about a warrant. For some reason the warrant didn’t come through and he left without being arrested. Then we found out my daughter’s phone was processed and there wasn’t enough evidence for a warrant. We’re still keeping the GoFundMe up until we hit our goal because we’ll probably end up back in court with this guy at some point and I want to know that we can retain an attorney. As of today we still have no legal resolution and it hurts.

Now we try to heal and move forward. One day this guy will go to jail. He is 19 and has already hurt multiple young women. I pray he goes to jail before he kills someone.

Here comes all the hard work of moving on, of surviving. Therapy, yes, but more than that. She has school assignments, chores, and a job. I cannot pour all of my time into her because I have a job and two other children. We do our best and that’s what we’ll keep doing.

What’s strange is how I can feel such opposite emotions at the same time. I’m sitting in this tension between the discomfort of fear and worry while I also sit in the comfort of love and warmth.

The tension between competing emotions is what has been so hard about continuing to blog or talk about my life. I’m not even sure if I’m wording it correctly now. There has been countless joy and comfort in the past few weeks that has been a companion to the pain. I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with Hope on Saturday. There have been big mugs of coffee and cozy mornings under piles of blankets. Atticus has requested “Jingle Bell Rock” on repeat because it “puts the spirit of Christmas in my heart, mama.” Tonight I came home from work and Sam put out Christmas lights and tomorrow we’ll decorate the tree and drink cocoa. There are all the books I plan on reading, and the softness of yarn, and my cat purring. I got into grad school and I’ve started a social justice book club. Life is moving, growing, changing and endlessly messy.

I feel disgustingly privileged and vapid given the current political climate, but I’m focusing on kindness and warmth this season. I’m not avoiding the task of advocating for political change; I’m involved politically and in social justice causes, but we have to remember why we want to change the world. If I teach my children to value kindness, to be mindful of their surroundings, and to look for the light, then I feel like I am truly working to change the world. I want my kids to be the comfort and change in times of conflict.

Now, for some of the good:

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Have Courage and Be Kind

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I drafted a longish post about the election, fallout, and what we can do.

I don’t have it in me to that post right now.

I have this very real family tragedy I am handling.

I am hurting, but I have friends who are actually put in danger by this election.

I am overwhelmed with fear, exhaustion, and revulsion from the personal to the political.

What do I do?

I deactivated my Facebook account (related to the political state of things) and I deactivated my Snapchat (related to the personal state of things).

I’ll still be on Instagram and Twitter and Litsy (nerdybookgirl).

But I’m going to focus on my family, my friends, my health, kindness, and writing.

Be safe. Be kind. Be courageous. Be the light.

 

Nonfiction November

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I’m running behind on bookish posts, but I did want to take the time to do an official sign-up post for Nonfiction November. Doing Dewey and some other great book bloggers are hosting a month of nonfiction reading. I’m not planning on participating in the questions each week, but my TBR is filled to bursting with nonfiction titles.

On my Nonfiction November TBR list:

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

On Writing by Stephen King

The Sisters by Mary Lovell

Are you participating in Nonfiction November? Let me know and we’ll chat!

Scribbles: 6 November 2016

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*Deep Breath*

Let’s try a return to normal.

Weather: 54, cloudy

Location: At work and taking a quick coffee break. I really shouldn’t drink coffee this late, but the time change has me all mixed up. The kids woke at 5:30 this morning and didn’t quite understand the concept of sleeping in an extra hour.

Reading: I’m a third of the way through Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive. To be honest, words are difficult to retain in my sieve like brain at the moment, but I’m taking notes and should have a review up soon.

Writing: What’s that?

Listening: I’ve started listening to my classic Christmas tunes and Sufjan Stevens holiday albums. Tomorrow I may break out the Johnny Mathis.

Watching: Y’all I am watching an episode or two of Murder She Wrote every night before bed. I AM ADDICTED. I have a post brewing in my brain about Jessica Fletcher being a bad ass feminist. The great thing about this show is that it settles me before bed. Mystery and murder, no gore, and LORD there are so many windbreakers and taffeta curtains!

Cooking: I really need to do a full blog post, but thank heavens for once a month cooking! Not having to worry about dinner and tons of dishes has been a god send. Dinner aside, I’ve eaten far too much junk (hello, stress eating) and gained a good 15 pounds. I’m about to do my next round of cooking and I’ll be focusing on more whole foods and vegetarian cuisine. I’m also trying to plan snacks with a bit more care.

Blogging: I’m going to try. We’ll see.

Plans for tonight: Finish a few work tasks and close up the library. Go home and shower. Read a bit. Sleep. Wake up and do it all again tomorrow.

Keep Her Safe: A Fund for my Daughter

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Hi all.

I’ve been gone for longer than expected. My family is living a nightmare right now and I just didn’t know how to write.

My teenaged daughter is being stalked and has been hurt by a young man. I cannot divulge the particulars of her case, but we have filed a police report and obtained a Temporary Protection Order. I’m not more forthcoming with details to protect her privacy and to not hinder the investigation.

We’ve started a GoFundMe account for her to help with attorney fees and other expenses. Why attorney fees? Because I know how women are treated in these types of cases and there is a chance that during the hearing to extend the Temporary Protection Order the perp could be there and she would have to testify in front of him and the entire courtroom. I want someone there with legal expertise. We have a kick-ass feminist attorney recommended to us and we’re meeting with her today.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe. If you cannot give, please consider sharing.

Readerly Rambles: a post-Readathon wrap-up!

girlreadingI took a break from readathon volunteering this past weekend. Typically I help co-host, manage Twitter in spots, and run a mini-challenge. After the busyness of a conference, work pressure, and moving house, I decided to take a more relaxed approach. I woke at 7:30, stumbled downstairs in my pjs and read. I drank coffee. I stayed away from social media for the most part. I took a break for several hours in the evening and then read until midnight. On Sunday I didn’t read at all. I slept and set up my bullet journal for the week.

My goal with this readathon was to get back into reading. The last book I finished prior to readathon was back in September. Mischief managed! I finished two books and got my reading mojo back. Below are two very brief mini-reviews of my reads.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

A vintage mystery that centers around detective Alan Grant puzzling out the mystery of Richard III and the princes in the tower while he is on the mend from a leg injury. Predictable, but fascinating. My librarian brain is thinking that excerpts of this novel would be great in a library instruction class to illustrate evaluating sources, uncovering bias, and the importance of primary resources.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What a page turner! You guys were right, I loved this one. There is really no way to write about the story without giving it away, but there is an element I want to talk about so SPOILER WARNING!!!!

The Girl on the Train deserves a trigger warning for domestic violence. You should know that every man in this book is an absolute dickhead. If you are one of the folks who “cannot understand why a woman stays” in an abusive relationship, then this one is for you. Gaslighting. Isolation. Slowly chipping away at self-esteem. Charming behaviors and romance during the “good” times. All of this is here and all of it is intergral to the story. Of course, if does tie up neatly at the end, but that’s expected in thrillers. I recommend this one as I was so enthralled I forgot my coffee and my ice cream!

In April I’ll be back to full volunteering and social media hovering, but this readathon was good for my bookish soul. I’m back to reading and about to dig into some short stories.

Happy Reading!