Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting... and reading

This weekend, my sweet girl went out on a limb and auditioned for summer ballet programs.  While she is a good dancer, she is not the "it" girl, not the type that people trip over themselves to train, it is a 50/50 shot at best.   Maybe they see potential in her.  Maybe they don't. Not a darn thing I can do about it but be proud of her efforts and trust in God's plan.  Easy enough....(insert eye roll here).
She also has sent a painting off to an art contest with the guidance and encouragement of her art teacher. So what I am saying is that while life marches on, little bits of my baby are roaming out in the world awaiting, well, JUDGEMENT.  Such a heavy word.  It makes me a wreck.  I love her whether she paints like Picasso or a preschooler.  I love her whether she dances like a dream or like Elaine on Seinfeld.   Click it! Click it!  Still the same, I am waiting..... So to silence the ifs, what ifs, and if onlys, I am trying to check things off my to do list and get extra book time in.
I have 2 books to share with you.

1) One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard.  It is the story of a small tiny town baseball team and their run for the state championship. At the time, there weren't divisions, so it is a David and Goliath story. Their coach was unorthodox as coaches go.  He thought baseball should be....wait for it......fun.
"Many high school coaches try to imitate Lombardi.  After all, winning is just as important on the prep level.  Unfortunately, it is win or look for another job in most cases. I've often thought that prep athletics are being spoiled by this must win approach.  Ruined because the fun of competing is being squeezed out of existence, replaced by relentless pressure to succeed.  Then along comes L.C. Sweet, and his team without coaching, without haranguing, without discipline, is successful.   Most of the coaching fraternity regard Sweet as a freak,  But there is no denying that the Macon players are relaxed, having fun, having a ball instead of being uptight about losing."   (Remind you that this was written in the 1970's before youth baseball and youth sports really went off the reservation with travel teams and clubs and specializing and conditioning and strength training programs for your 7 year old.)

I argue with the no coaching portion of this statement, as Sweet proved to give the boys plenty of coaching, just not baseball coaching.  His ultimate message,"Treat people well, believe in them, entrust them with responsibility, lift them up."

The book gives great game summaries and delivered me to the ball park over and over in the depth of winter.  It also talks about the players, their families, school politics and life in the small town.  While at times, I just wanted to get back to the baseball,  knowing the kids, the parents, the stories and backgrounds made the games so much more real.

It went on to discuss the boys when they were grown.   How the season was carried with them for the rest of their lives.  

Bottom Line: If you are a baseball lover or just love a true story,  do yourself a favor and read this before Opening Day.

2) Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
This book is a murder mystery.  Lame, right?  NOT AT ALL!  I loved this book.  I loved it more than Gone Girl, but that isn't saying much, because I hated that book.  What makes Big, Little Lies so great?  The cover!  That shattered lollipop is genius.  I am almost sad to have read it on my kind to the eyes kindle because that cover is cool!   Then you start the book, smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation.  Right away you begin getting police statements from all these people you don't even know, so pay attention.  Then you roll back in time to the start of the story, which centers around the real kind of crazy people that you encounter every day....school parents.  Catty, witchy, bullying, pot stirrers and all this bad behavior leads up to a murder being investigated at a school fundraiser.  It is rich.  In fact, with all that,  I think it falls firmly into realistic fiction as well as mystery.  I loved that I could, without much work, put a face to the characters.  I felt it a tad slow at first and kept wondering when is something going to happen.  And then it did.  And then something else, and something else and next thing, I am leaving dishes in the sink so I can read.  (Oh wait, I do that anyway).   In the end, I didn't love this book because of the cover or the great story, I loved it because it finished up.  Things weren't left hanging.  Little Bee anyone?  Ugggh.   She wrote a complete story that answered questions that I asked myself, that offered twists that I didn't see coming, made me laugh, made me wonder, and kept my interest all the way.

Favorite Smart Lines:  On pasts colliding:  "On one hand there was far too much to say, and on the other, there was nothing."
On conversation with your Ex's new wife:  "The pain could always get much, much, worse."
On the noble aspirations of teenagers:  "It's just that fourteen year old girls are stupid"
On champagne:  "Champagne is never a mistake."
On using literature to escape:  "Reading a novel was like returning to a once beloved holiday destination"
On Parenting; " If parents had children who were good sleepers, they assumed this was due to their good parenting, not good luck."
On insecurity: "Some people were so unacceptably, hurtfully beautiful it made you feel ashamed.  Your inferiority was right there on display for the world to see."
On things spinning out of control:  "Oh Calamity!"   I am going to work this into my vocabulary.

 Bottom Line: Good Read.  Life Changing, No.   Worth it, for sure!   I hope they make a movie.

And now back to waiting.........and maybe some baking.

Monday, January 19, 2015

On Pace

I made some goals in addition to my In Place mantra.  They are selfish goals.  I want to make more quilts, read more books, and write more blogs.  As a mom and a wife and a woman, I often put my wants and needs last.  I am sure I will still do that often, but I am going to try to do that less.
I made a goal to read 40 books this year.  I should not really say read though, more like experience 40 books this year.    What in the world does that mean?  Experience a book?  Well, I have discovered the wonderful world of Audiobooks and I got kind of hooked.  AND THEN, my parents got me a wireless blue tooth speaker.  It has been nothing short of  life changing! I tell you.  Bubble baths will never be the same.  Doing dishes, not the same.  Any task that I can do while I listen to a book is simply not the same because I am getting to take in books while doing dreary stuff that has to be done.  With Audible, I am mowing through books I have wanted to read.  I just finished The Kite Runner while claiming a victory over my junk drawer.  Then came One Shot at Forever on the tail end of an exhausting road trip from South Carolina.  After that,  I devoured a chunk of American Sniper while taking down my Christmas decorations.  I need the kids back in school tomorrow so I can finish and go see that in the movies.   I am also actually reading with my eyes the more fluffy Big Little Lies for my Read Between the Wines Book Club.     I think I might have to review my books in a later post.

I also want to make more quilts this year.   If I finish what I want to finish I will complete my 50th quilt this year!!!  I started when I was pregnant with G in August 2006.  I made 2 quilts that year.  The next year, I made 3 or 4.  Each year has brought more and more desire and more places I want to spread the quilty love, so each year, I have made more.  This year I have 14 quilts in various stages of planning and process.  14!  I am currently not on pace with that goal, but with any luck, I will get some alone time and get some work done.

As for the blogging, I was cruising along tonight and then Doug came in and asked me 45 questions about the electronic interactions kindle books and audio books.   I told him I don't know. See, I don't mix my drugs.  Just kidding.  I just don't buy a book twice if at all possible.  If I am reading, I am reading.  If I am listening, I am listening.  But, "I don't know" is never an acceptable answer for him.  Ever.  It is an invitation to ask a lot more questions which also really deserve an "I don't know".  He forces me to feed him a stream of fact mixed with fiction and some total B.S. to satisfy his curiosity. I joke.  I always adequately research my answers and deliver them without a sigh or an eye roll.
My point in that is the second I sit at a keyboard with a purpose, some silent alarm sounds declaring it Open Season for important, life at stake interruptions such as, "Mom, come watch this replay of a play a did on Madden".  Ahhhh, yes darling, I would love nothing more to watch an electronic replay of a pretend game of 2 teams I don't care about.  Or, "Mom, I can't find any bobby pins"  Ummmm, have you checked your bedroom floor, because I know there are no less than 20 that you tossed aside.  If not there, try the car.  There are enough in there for MacGyver to build a tight rope and cross the Grand Canyon.   Let's not forget the dog with bowl in mouth and a sad, sad, face "Are you going to feed me?"  Listen, Dog. I just filled your bowl and watched you eat.  Nobody is starving here.  And nobody seems to bother me when I am perusing pinterest or facebook. Oh, no. Only when I try to put coherent thought to paper.  But alas, I shall try to embrace these moments and use them to fuel the fires of my passion for writing.
So now 19 days in to 2015, I can say here's to reading, writing, sewing, picking up the pace, and getting things in place!  It still feels good.

Monday, January 12, 2015


"It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime."  As I read this in The Kite Runner, it hit me over the head.  The latter part of 2013 and most of 2014 beat me up pretty bad.    I went into a situation where I thought had nothing to lose and I lost a lot.    A whole lot.   I am not sure if the course of my lifetime is changed, but I am certain my outlook is.   Lessons learned.   Trust betrayed.  Concerns flippantly dismissed.  Respect diminished. Relationships dissolved.  Bitter pills swallowed.  Voices silenced.   Doubts linger.   I cried a lot and prayed a lot in 2014.   

2014 was glum  and ultimately put me in my place.  My place is HOME.  My place is serving those who I love and care for most.  My place is making the home and the life that I want my family to have.  My place is behind the keyboard writing, behind the sewing machine creating, behind a book learning, in the crowd cheering.   So for 2015, my resolution/goal/concept/rally cry is "IN PLACE".  I am not talking just about all the stuff, but people, priorities and attitudes.  2015 will be about picking up pieces and taking out the trash.  Finding balance and restoring center.  Finishing things up and moving on.   And celebrating the progress and loving the moment.  
In Place.  2015.  Go.