Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream

1. If you're not following Comments by Celebs on Instagram, you are missing out. Thank you Lauren for sharing this gold mine.

2. Somewhere over the last week I forgot that I never owe the world an explanation, even if the world is thirsty for one. I forgot that the world can't take what I don't in some way willingly give. Both of those things are so out of the ordinary for me to even think about that I was operating at like 20% of my normal capacity.  It has been almost five years since I’ve given away my personal power to circumstances or people or the world at large. Taking your personal power back is like running an errand in Mordor: it takes longer than you think, requires more energy than you have to spare, and is a dark, dirty, flesh eating mind fuck on the way there but you drag your ass home even more fierce than you were before because you've been reminded of how vital your personal capital is and you aren't going to let anything fuck with that again any time soon.
3. But today is my 41st birthday and while that whole battle with myself earlier this week was a drag my birthday will definitely not be. We're meeting Melissa and Blane in New York and seeing Bruce Springsteen on Broadway and I could die of excitement, I've been waiting for this forever. Thanks to Mom for picking Bruce Springsteen The Dog up from Camp Bow Wow and hanging with the dogs!

4. While that will be an exciting and awesome end to the day, I'm going to the library in the morning and that's nothing to shake a stick at either. Library love for life. Speaking of, did you catch up on the 56 awesome posts in Show Us Your Books on Tuesday? Man, if you can't find your next great read in one of those posts, you can't find it anywhere.

5. Aside from seeing Bruce Springsteen The Man, I'm possibly happiest about not commuting for two days in a row even though I will be on a train to NYC today. Being on a train for something fun is different than being on a train for work. I've had a series of very late trains and run ins with brain drainers. Yesterday a man  put a hat that was sitting on the seat next to me onto my bag saying very matter of factly, "There's your hat." I told him it wasn't my hat. "Oh...SURE it's not," he replied, his tone and look making it clear he thought I was lying and it was my hat but didn't want to tell him. Dude. Why would I lie. Go away.

6. You've got to have fresh nails for your birthday too. It's a personal rule. Essie Lots of Lux - this is textured polish and it's weird and I won't ever buy another textured polish but I love the color. Excuse the mess, I was painting my nails when the power went out last night. Not the best timing. I could've cleaned them up and taken it again but the world is an imperfect place. Plus Bruce Springsteen The Dog is freaking hilarious in this photo.

7. Another minor purge was picked up yesterday. Thanks Vietnam Vets of America!

8. I can't even, hour by hour now in this administration. Tillerson, Russia, Sessions orchestrating ICE illegal fuckery, fucking insanity abounds not day by day anymore but hour by hour. I'm taking my birthday off from this shit, I've had enough bad energy in my psyche this week. I'm tired. Please refer to Amy Siskind's Authoritarian list as always.

9. Reminder: courtesy of Jay-Z.

10. E-card of the week: me!
Made my March Madness picks on a wing and a prayer. I don't even have any idea who I picked to win.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

17 minutes.

We have failed an entire generation of kids from Columbine on April 20, 1999 to Parkland on February 14, 2018. Now they are taking matters into their own hands. I don't blame them.

But man, all the adults bitching and saying awful things about these kids for 17 fucking minutes out of the classroom to remember 17 lives cut short - some of the dead are younger than the kids who will participate today.

I bet the parents of those 17 kids wish their kids were alive today to argue with over 17 missed minutes of class.

17 kids at the end of a long line of gunned down school children but we want to tell kids not to dare leave class to say anything about it because they don't know what they're talking about and probably just want to get out of class and don't make it political. How dare they have an interest in staying alive in an environment that should focus solely on learning and growing rather than the now required active shooter drills? #neveragain

Civil disobedience requires no permission. You know the possible consequences when you engage in it but your cause is important enough for the risk. Staying alive is pretty fucking important. So is standing up for what you believe in.

It's hypocritical to have kids pledging allegiance to the flag every morning in school from age six up, way before they know what they're pledging allegiance to and why; to tell them they can enlist to serve and possibly die for their country and vote for its leaders at age 18; but expect them to keep their mouths shut in between because they don't know what they're talking about.

You can't want civic engagement and knowledgeable voters and community members at 18 without encouraging them in civic engagement before they reach that age. You can't teach kids that participation in community, government, politics, etc. is fundamental to the American way then ask them not to participate when you don't like their stance.

I support every kid that participates in the walkout today in support of common sense gun laws and in remembrance of the 17 kids gunned down at school in Parkland, FL, a month ago today.

This is your future. Don't let anyone tell you you don't have a say in it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Show Us Your Books - Birthday Month Reading Report

I'm only working three days this week. It's two days until my birthday and I can't think of a better way to spend the Tuesday before it than talking about books with all of you. 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is April 10, 2018. 
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me
2. Display the button and/or link back to us on your blog post
2. Visit other blogs who've linked up and talk books as booknerds are wont to do

Here's what I've been reading since the last linkup

Engrossing Reads

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus - I read this in a few hours and most of them were from 11 pm - 2 am on a school night so you freaking now I couldn't put it down. I loved this book. Technically YA, I guess? It hit so many of my reading hotspots. Philly library hardback.

After Nightfall by A.J. Banner - I tore through this one and probably pinned the tail on every character at some point. Lots of suspension of belief for a series of events but an enjoyable read nonetheless. Not a lot of character development and a wishy washy lead character but both of those things actually benefited the story. What it lacked in those areas it made up for in drama. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out in August.

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land - A nonfiction book in engrossing reads, who am I? You know why I loved this? It read like fiction. This is a wild fucking story. Check it out. Philly library hardback

Passed the Time Just Fine

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris - I devoured this book while alternately thinking this is so good/this is going nowhere. It was a weird read. Read it when it comes out and tell me what you think.
Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out in June.

The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll - I hated her first novel so I was apprehensive about this one and I think sort of determined not to like it? I ended up liking it. The subject matter - sort of a behind the scenes of a reality TV show - was not thrilling to me, but there was a large backdrop of women's issues and feminism and how women will fucking eat each other alive to be who the world wants them to be and, well, you can see what that brings as this comes to a conclusion. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out in May

Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant - I freaking love creep novels. This is one. It could have gone in the engrossing reads category too. e-book, Kindle store

The Visitor by K.L. Slater - Half of me really enjoyed this and half of me was disappointed with the lack of depth in quite a few areas. Overall though, I enjoy things are not what they seem books. E-copy from Netgalley  in exchange for an honest review, book is out now.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks - I had no interest in reading this, then all of the sudden I did. It was a different book than I thought it was going in and I ended up liking it. Did I love it? No. But it passed the time just fine. This is why I am in favor of picking a book and just trying it for a while with no requirements to finish anything. If I didn't do that, I would miss out on a lot of books I've ended up liking or loving that I resisted reading initially. Philly library hardback

Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell - If this book was a conversation I was observing, my head would have been swiveling back and forth the whole time give or take a few boring spots. E-copy from Netgalley  in exchange for an honest review, book is out now

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser - A solid neighbor read - how well do you know your neighbors? I liked most of the characters and was surprised by the ending. Free ARC from Netgalley  in exchange for an honest review, book comes out at the end of this month

Not Worth It
Providence by Caroline Kepnes - I love her writing, so this pains me to put it here, but I just didn't click with the story. I know many people will so I urge you all to try it. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book comes out in June

The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding - I've read a few things by her, and like in those books I hated pretty much everyone in this book. I figured out what was going on early on, but still enjoyed the what is happening dance. Still I wouldn't be like rush to read this. Free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, book is out now

Did Not Finish

What have you been reading? 

Monday, March 12, 2018

TWTW - the one before my birthday

Friday night I saged my house and every being in it in an effort to banish negativity from the hit piece on MFD that appeared in the paper and online Friday. A state rep race out of the gate is not news in our district...unless someone makes it news. Do you have to give up your soul and humanity to do that to other people? I think you might. I heard MFD's side of the conversation and that wasn't exactly how it went. A good reminder that many things in the paper are some version of the truth but not all of it LOL. Thankful more than ever for the mighty village of the people in our lives. This hangs in our basement and it is 100% truth. When you're honest with yourself and the people in your life, you take the hit and stand right back up because you know who you are and what you're about. What he's not about is a whitewashed, perfect Stepford past, present, or future. We have all fucked up and will continue to, and if you think and act like you haven't or won't, that's a problem that's going to come back on you.
Saturday I finished a book, put laundry away, purged some stuff (including some of MFD's stuff, which never, ever happens), texted voters on behalf of Conor Lamb for the special election coming up this week, ate a MFD-made dinner, and watched some Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. I fell asleep contorted around three dogs on the couch and woke up feeling every single bit of nearly 41. My aching back for real.
Sunday was tough to get up and go with the aching back and the time change. I kill it every Sunday of fall back and walk through sludge of every Sunday of spring forward. I visited Pop for his 87th birthday and got to hang with my mom and Lori there and at Stephen & Aubrey's after, where we visited the best niece and nephew ever and had lunch from Jay's. The pugs were happy I saw Treat Lady because they enjoyed the bones she brought for them. I got this awesome mug for my birthday from Emily and put new pug canvases up on the gallery wall that I didn't add the other week. MFD changed the sheets and I did some picking up and ran the dishwasher and started a new book and suddenly it was 8 pm.
Weekly food prep: Birthday week and only three days at work so nah. I did make a pork loin and buternut squash Sunday night but after I wrote this up so no pics. Breakfast is breakfast burritos though, I always have those in the freezer. I'm going to have to get creative for lunch using whatever's in the fridge and pantry.

Show Us Your Books with me and Jana tomorrow! See you back here for that. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

That's enough todaying for today.

I have laughed at that picture a million times since Monday, and I needed the laughs this week. Was it bad in an apocalyptic sense? Certainly not. Just filled with little annoyances and setbacks and problems that when piled up feel bigger than they are and hello it is my birthday month and rude for this to happen now. Not every week is going to be a good week because that's not how life works.

I'm still sage cleansing my house this weekend to increase my odds for better next week, trust.

Anyway, I hope the pic makes you laugh too.

Cheers to a good weekend and a fabulous birthday week next week - for me and for you even if it's not your birthday next week.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - say what you wanna say and let the words fall out

1. Every day is International Women's Day in my house, but today is the official day. Press for progress, women.

2. What a feminist is/is not.

3. What a feminist is definitely fucking not.
And sorry, I can't resist. But I'm with you Amy Siskind. Remember when people when nuts because Obama wore a tan suit? This guy’s got dick pics about to be released, attempted to pay off a stripper, likely violated election law in the process, and then neglected to sign the contract so it’s all coming out anyway.

4. Birthday sneakers. Blue? Gray? Neither? The blue are a more me color but I think I like the execution of the gray better. ONE WEEK OUT, people. Birthday. One week.

5. Thanks so much for the supportive words on yesterday's post. It's very freeing to put it out there, warts and all, and own your fuckups and still feel supported. Especially when reporters call wanting to talk to your husband specifically about everything he’s ever done wrong. What a world we live in. Truly, from both me and MFD...thank you. And try it, living your full truth. You'll always have support from me.

6. Me: let me open the shore house this weekend! March: Sit down. Yesterday's scene. Another storm forecasted for Monday. MFD was out for hours shoveling us and neighbors out. I was working and if we’re speaking freely which we always are here, avoiding the shoveling.

7. Some days I just fucking can't. This is happening, and it's not happening only to the criminals everyone loves to wave around when they say they don’t like immigrants. This is happening to human beings doing everything right. Read the whole thing here on janefultonalt instagram. I couldn't even go back and screenshot it again. I ask the same, Jane. Can this be my country? I mean, it clearly is. How can this be my country? Clean DREAM Act now. And stop the demonization, torturing, and harassment of immigrants. Is ICE the SS? What in the fuck is happening while we sit in our houses and bitch about stupid shit? Get on the phone or the ResistBot. Make the calls. You know what to do. 

8. Show Us Your Books on Tuesday - sneak peak: I stayed up until 2 am to finish this book. That's a sure recommendation. Bruce apparently likes to read too. He prefers kindles.

9. Reminder.

10. E-card of the week. Chill, nor'easters. 
I'm preparing for the upcoming Nor'easter by not living in the Northeast.
Today is my Mom Mom's birthday - I grew up at that fierce knee. She has more to do with who I am and how I am than even my parents. I've missed her every day for over 20 years now, but I've always felt her when I needed her. They do not leave us, only their bodies do. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Cleaning out my closet - reporting in from the campaign trail

I always get a spark of anxiety at the start of something new and I remain low-level anxious until I assimilate the change into my life and get perspective/control/organization/order.

Being an almost 41 year old woman who has shone a merciless internal spotlight on my weaknesses and worked hard to get to where I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; I have tried and true methods for assimilating, gaining perspective, exercising control where I can, imposing organizational systems, and restoring order to my life as quickly as possible after I’m thrown off kilter. I've armed myself with the correct tools and self knowledge and when a big change throws me off balance, and in order to make sure that low-level anxiety does not blossom I immediately work on righting the ship.

Ideally. Usually.

Since my interaction with MFD's campaign thus far has gone from ignoring it was happening to so much so quickly in petition gathering mode for the past month, I was not prepared. I fucking hate being unprepared.

I’ve lost shower invitations and forgotten to get back to people about fundraisers or regular life things. I’ve been trying to keep all the balls in the air and haven’t even attempted to figure out how to adapt to this new season in our life. First of all, what do I even adapt to? I have no idea how this goes, what's involved, what comes next - there’s no handbook for your spouse running for office, much to the dismay of people like me who rarely jump into anything feet first. I’m more of a wade in cautiously person.

I laugh thinking back to the end of the first Saturday of gathering petitions... I sat down and said whew! that was great...exhausting, but now it's over! Only to find out that it wasn't over at all - that the next day, and both weekend days for the next two weekends, we'd be hosting and feeding 10-15 volunteers from 9 or 10 to 6 or 7. I also didn't know our house would be campaign headquarters for as long as MFD is in the running. Everyone assumed the candidate's spouse knew that - including the candidate.

Being a person who is out of the house for at least 11 hours a day working a full time job, renting and managing a rental property, my own activism pursuits, this blog that I like to keep up with, two aging dogs that poop everywhere and a puppy that eats everything, framily, and the general operation of life stuff, I haven’t fully thought about what might be expected or required of me going forward, and what additional responsibilities I will take on because MFD will split his time between real estate so we don't starve (anyone buying or selling in PA or NJ? I know a guy) and campaigning with no room for much else aside from maintaining his sobriety and volunteering. I’m not sure how people with kids do this. Or people in races up the chain that require more visibility. I’m ashamed that I have supported or roasted people running for office without thinking of the huge impact just the sheer hours required, uncertainty, and vulnerability had on their families.

Now that petitions are in and we wait for a formal acknowledgment of him being on the primary ballot, I have some time to look ahead. It will be better and easier to handle the curveballs when I get whatever perspective/control/organization/order I can.

The mental toughness I have honed throughout the years requires regular maintenance: setting boundaries, practicing self-care, asking for help, honoring my introvert need to recharge alone, shutting out people with bad energy, not caring what people think about my decisions, and being psycho protective of my peace and time. When I do those things, it’s hard to knock me off my game. If I'm not vigilant and I slack on those things, the bastard quartet of worry, what-if, anxiety, and fear slip through.

And we all know 1) worry serves no purpose aside from depleting energy 2) Ninety-nine percent of what if scenarios will never happen 3) Anxiety is the monster child worry and what-if birth from the depths of hell 4) Fear is what stops you.

Needless to say through a month of chaos and uncertainty and WTF am I supposed to be doing and reacting rather than being proactive which I hate, I dropped the ball. I worried, what-if’d, was riddled with anxiety, and afraid. It happens. Far less frequently than it did in my 20s and early 30s when I was still figuring out how to sail this ship the way that enables me to be my best self, but it definitely still happens. And when it does, I need to acknowledge it does and press publish on the post where I say it does, lest anyone think other people are immune to those things. They come for all of us when we give them the space to. Releasing them out into the world reduces their power. 

Monday night I was happy with the accomplishments, team work, hard lessons learned, new friends made, time with old friends, and all the rest of what has come over the past month, but I was wrung the fuck out and that’s entirely on me. When I’m wrung out I have nothing left to give to myself or anyone else and I leave myself susceptible to the worry and what ifs and anxiety and fear, which is why I fight hard to not get to that energy depleted place. I am not who I truly am in that place. 

Has this been worth it so far? Yes. If elected, MFD will be a true representative of regular people because we ARE regular people. He has battled crazy demons. We have been down and out and poor and sick and desperate and in crisis. We have made mistakes, fucked up our taxes one year, done stupid shit, said the wrong things, survived, thrived. He knows how to come back. He can help other people do the same. He believes in service to community and he doesn’t just say it, he lives it. Was he born this way? No. I do not want or expect perfection in candidates or anyone in their life up until now or in their life going forward - none of us should want or expect perfection in others - but I do expect people to do better and be better once they know better. And knowing him for 28 years, I can say he is living that. He has put himself on the line to protect the freedoms and rights of others, many who can’t do it for themselves. This position will increase his ability to do that. I can’t let my fear of the unknown hold him back from doing something he would excel at. That’s not what partnership is. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. Not his ship, anyway. 

Has this been comfortable, easy, or free from fuckery and fear? No. Did I want it to be? Yes.

But now, a break from this part of life for me. Time to breathe and position myself to be prepared for whatever comes next, to remain true to who I am while supporting him as he pursues what he knows he can be.

And getting my shit together usually starts with the pedestrian act of cleaning out my closet: a space I can totally control.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Stand by me

Are you fully there for people, or someone who says I’m here because that's what is expected of you while you edge away quietly?

I used to edge away quietly. I think a lot of us do that when we’re younger. We panic because we don’t know what to say or we want to fix things because we aren’t seasoned enough by life to know sometimes there is nothing to say and usually there is no way to fix things. 

Besides, what most people going through something want is not to hear empty words or for someone to turn over earth trying to fix something they know can’t be fixed. They want people who can sit there with them in their pain and not turn away because it’s uncomfortable, awkward, difficult to see someone you love suffer, or hard not to overlay the situation on your own life as something that could happen to you which brings your own fears to the table. 

We’re human and we’re selfish. Our instinct is to protect ourselves even in situations where we are not the one hurting the most. The easiest way to do that is distance.

I also think we expect each other to move on from grief, but the truth is we deal with grief forever because loss changes who we are. Grief re-shapes us and we are never the same, so we owe people an understanding of that process too. 

There are a lot of lessons I wish I learned earlier in life, but this is definitely one of the top three: how to sit beside someone hurting or grieving and simply be there with them in their pain. I'm happy that I don't turn away from doing it now though, and that I've learned that I can't always soothe with words or fix, but that I can just show up in person or on the phone or via text and not leave when someone is in pain and that most of the time what best serves any situation is the willingness to be there.

File under: things I think about, not something I am currently in the midst of dealing with. I feel the need to clarify or people are all what's wrong. Nothing.

How are you doing with being there?

Monday, March 5, 2018

TWTW - the one I would like to do over except not really

Friday afternoon I merrily spent my LOFT and Body Shop birthday gift cards, unaware of the shitshow that lay ahead. Around 2:30 I got a SEPTA alert about trains being delayed due to the Nor'easter. By the time I got down there, about six lines were flat cancelled, mine included. I made my way to Old City, ran into Angie and Sam on the way, and Debbie picked me up and drove me home. Thank God, people were stuck in the city overnight. I had no gas in my car so I left it at the train station. I was happily ensconced in my warm house by 5:30 pm only to have the electric go out at 6 and the front fence blow down soon after. This is only the second time we've lost power in 14 years, so we've been lucky. Early to bed and finished a book on my kindle.
Who wants to be woken up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning when they are trying to stay warm in bed and not alert the dogs to movement by a phone call from someone trying to get in touch with their husband? No one. It was chaos from there on out. The power kicked back on about 9:30, Gus was walking pooping as campaign friends and my mom arrived. Welcome to the poop house! Please come in. The second to last petition day and it was a cold one. Catering by my mom, thank you Mom! When everyone left around 7 I cleaned up and painted my nails (Essie It's Genius) and got into bed. Saturday totally took it out of me and I am 100% thankful for my friends who never fail to be there in person or at the other end of a text or phone call. I would not be who I am if I was not fortified by a damn fine crew of strong, honest, smart, funny, loyal women who prop me up when I need them.
Sunday we finally retrieved my car and got an iced coffee because I'm fresh out of my homemade brew. I picked up a little and changed the sheets and caught up with my dad when he dropped off catering by Carol for Sunday. Thanks Carol! The last day of petitions brought a lot of people we don't know personally in and it was nice and exhausting but most days were full of people we know personally who gave up hours or whole days to get signatures for Michael, who were patient as areas were assigned to them, who were kind to our pain in the ass dogs, who understood that we are regular people trying to do something outside of our regular jobs and lives that would not be possible without the help of them. We know amazing people - some we've known forever and are family because we are actually related to them and some are framily we have chosen, some neighbors, some we know through various fellowships, some people who just want a representative who better aligns with their views, and some we've met since the 2016 election. Plus our families and friends who have donated money and friends from high school who show up to volunteer with delicious pastries (thanks Bridget!) or show up on a Sunday night to notarize (thanks Staci! and thanks for the Girl Scout cookie hookup through your daughter) and my mom and Carol who answered my please help me I'm drowning I need food help calls last week. I have cried out of both frustration and gratitude this weekend.

Weekly food prep is leftovers. Leftovers are saving us this week. Thanks again Mom and Carol!

While I would do most of the fuckery of the weekend over, a do over would mean I'd lose the help from our family and friends, so I can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. You take the good you take the bad you take 'em both and there you have the facts of life...the facts of life. 

How was yours? 

Friday, March 2, 2018

The March Seven

See The January Seven / The February Seven

1. Continue with the 40 min of exercise a day for the 40 days of Lent
2. Get back to a good water intake - I haven't been good the past two weeks and you can see it on my face
3. Stop driving myself crazy with what if scenarios. I normally excel at not borrowing worry but when a big life change happens I have to work hard to get control of that again. This campaign life is a big change and I need to find my balance.

1. Get comfort pack items to Mike for distribution in Kensington
2. Donate to Higher Heights and She Should Run for Women's History Month
3. Figure out the local food connection for my neighborhood and set up a drop off point

1. Pretty Bird Coffee in Yardley
2. Bell's Market
3. New bread

1. Birthday shoes - it's my annual gift to myself to purge and add to my shoe collection
2. A thirty-one bin for the shore for guests to use to tote beach stuff - benefits Team Eva the Diva for the March of Dimes. Please check it out if you're in need of any 31 stuff, the cause is near to my heart.
3. A rose gold eyeshadow from LipSense - Also a Team Eva the Diva benefit with proceeds going to the March of Dimes team. Anyone can join/buy from the party!

1. Paint shore house closet
2. Transition planner and self organization system to an electronic/paper hybrid
3. Set up recommendations tab on blog - never got to that in February



This weekend will be spent finishing up petitions for MFD's campaign, trying to stay dry, I'm sure cleaning up dog pee and poop inside since they will refuse to go out in the rain, and making a birthday month to do list.

Whatever you do, I hope it's exactly what you need. 

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