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Not-Friday Five

Not Friday Five

So Friday got away from me last week, but I have some gems to share with you from the Internet, so here we are on Monday.

Summer is my second wind of trying new things. It’s also the season that I tend to eat the best (because really, it’s just too hot to eat anything but salad and fruit. And also snow cones). So a lot of the things that stick out to me that I want to save for later are food and indoor fitness related, because running outside right now until October? That’s ridiculous. And then there are the things that always stick out to me, like livable wages and social experiments. So…enjoy!

  1. I also like tacos, though, and so I need this book. I’m not sure this can be considered a cleanse in the traditional sense, but I’m willing to listen. Because tacos.
  2. I like stories like this, even though they’re clickbaity and possibly staged and insert-all-the-cynical-things-here. All wages should be livable. Living is what working is for.
  3. I might take tap and ballet again. That would be fun. And also indoors. Win-win.
  4. This made me laugh and laugh. Also, I can attest – accurate. Don’t #notallmen me. Because that’s not the point. The point is that it doesn’t have to happen every time; it happens enough that, statistically speaking, it’s likely just as much the result of societal conditioning as it is individual asshattery, so we as a society should look into cutting it out. Also, if you feel defensive, maybe ask yourself why. Is it because it really didn’t apply to you, or is it because maybe it applied a little and you feel uncomfortable that you may have made this impression? Honor that discomfort. Maybe deal with that instead of reacting defensively. As an aside, when I use this kind of response when people compliment me, and they like it, it makes me like them even more. My people.
  5. Last, I love this. This Gen-Xer agrees.

I’m thinking about sending another newsletter soon. I have some writing news that’s exciting and different. So if you want to hear me yammer on about it, you can sign up here. Also, there’s usually a recipe. I mean, it’s summer, so it may be for a snow cone. But it would be a delicious snow cone!

 

IMG_0945

More of these in my house, please. I love seeing flowers on the table when I walk in.

It’s almost mid-year, which is about the time I remember, “Oh, I made resolutions!” So let’s check in and see how they’re going.

  1. Word of the year – wild. I’m not sure how to answer this. Wild has been pretty vague this year. I catch moments of it, but it hasn’t disrupted things the way the last few years True, fun, beauty. Oh, the havoc they wreaked! But wild? I would expect wild to be…well…wilder.
  2. Read 100 books. SHUT UP, GOODREADS. I KNOW I’M BEHIND. Maybe I should read wilder books. Two birds, one stone.
  3. Learn conversational Spanish. Huh. Forgot I made that one.
  4. Making my home more welcoming. I have had people over more often – does that count? I have embraced the practice of inviting people over regardless of the mess. So maybe this one has morphed into welcoming despite the state of the home.
  5. Make strides in health goals. Plateaus are the worst. I was doing really well, and then plateau. Now I don’t want to do anything – exercise, eat right, sleep well – because it’s a lot of effort for nothing. This last weekend, I actually considered starting a detox program designed to hydrate you and adjust your gut bacteria and all other sorts of weird things just because I know it would be enough of a shock to leap off the damn plateau. This program? Requires me to give up coffee. I HATE PLATEAUS SO MUCH I CONSIDERED GIVING UP COFFEE. Thankfully, that brief moment of madness has passed. Summer is usually good for less ridiculous eating. I’ll give summer a chance.
  6. Finish a manuscript (lol) and publish a calendar. While finishing a manuscript seems like a strange, wonderful dream at this moment, I have been working pretty steady on my calendar project. It’s coming along slowly but steadily.
  7. Run a 5K. Maybe in October, and maybe at the beach! I’ve got a group that I’m going to try walking the July 4th race with, but there will be no running of a 5K in July. Because Texas.
  8. Attend a writing retreat – coming in June! I’m road-tripping to Virginia with my friend Michelle (and maybe others) to attend a retreat hosted by the leader of one of my online writing groups. YAY!!!!!
  9. Get paid for writing – also done (wow, my writing goals are going well. I’m so impressed with me). I have started SEO (search engine optimization) writing, and I’m addicted to it. I got my first paycheck for writing on May 11th.
  10. Continue/establish traditions. I already have my meal plan and grocery/booze list for the Hemingway party started, if that counts. That’s the only tradition I can think of right now.

So I’m not doing too shabby with my goals. This reminder was helpful.

Did you make resolutions? How are they going?

Friday Five 4

My mother is one of my favorite people. She is tough and moody and full of both wonder and practicality. She is the reason I have such a soft place in my heart for Emily Gilmore, because some of Emily’s lines could have come straight from my mother’s mouth. Today, I am highlighting items from the Internet that reminded me of her when I read them.

  1. As I’ve mentioned before, I love Simone Biles. She does not abide foolishness, and that includes the foolishness of being told what to do with her face. When asked why she wasn’t smiling during the judges’ positive feedback, she replied, “Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.” I love her so hard.
  2. Mom Lesson #453: It’s okay to be mad; it is not okay to act like a banshee and pitch a fit on the floor when innocent people are just trying to get their grocery shopping done without incident. Kristen Bell and my mom would get along.
  3. While I’m not sure my mom would be comfortable with the idea of my attending Pride at all, she would insist that if I must that I at least Do. It. Right. If you’re going to try to be an ally, do the work of listening to what that means.
  4. I enjoyed and related a lot to this article on Gen X getting caught in the middle of Boomers and Millennials. My mother would respond with a combination of “Suck it up” and “Well, make them pay attention.” Yes, mother. I’m not sure why they call their generation the Silent Generation. That does not describe either of my parents accurately at all.
  5. I don’t know why this reminded me of Mom. I just can’t quite put my finger on it. This certainly doesn’t resemble her at all. Swear like a Mother.

spinster

Kate Bolick’s Spinster is an excavation of single womanhood in America. I enjoyed the book (for the most part), and I’m glad I read it (finally). It is an ambitious project – weaving together personal history and anecdotes with the country’s history and also the lives of five women who influenced the author’s life and ended up single – but Bolick handles it well overall.

I loved the profiles of the five women who influenced her life, and I loved reading about how they did so. I enjoyed all the historical aspects of the book and the discussion about what being single has meant for women throughout the history of our country until the present. I was expecting more of a traditional memoir, and while I enjoy memoir well enough, that it did not turn out to be Bolick‘s primary focus was a pleasant surprise.

With a subtitle like “Making a Life of One’s Own,” I expected to see more of that. Most of the memoir portion focused on other people. While I can appreciate that there will be significant others (romantic or otherwise) in anybody’s life and that a memoir will inevitably include some mention of them, the key word there is “some.” Not constant mention. Interdependence and independence are two different things. I was disappointed not to see more discussion about independence. There’s more to it than whether or not one is involved in a romantic relationship. The focus on all the men she’s dated and why they worked or didn’t work or ultimately worked but they broke up anyway was exhausting and felt extraneous. It’s this very focus on discussing who women are in the context of relationships to romantic partners (instead of focus on women as actual people on their own, regardless of romantic relationship or lack thereof) that is the root cause of the double standard for men and women regarding marriage. Parts of the book seemed to reinforce that double standard rather than break it down, which I had hoped would be the point of the book.

I enjoyed the book overall, and I’m happy to have read it. I’m not quite sure it was a successful reclamation of the word Spinster, but maybe it was a start.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday Five3

I’m having fun/trouble narrowing down poets this month. Today, I bring you tiny snippets of five of my favorites that I hope you will read.

  1. Audre Lorde – start with The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
    From “Sisters in Arms” –
    “and wherever I touch you

    I lick cold from my fingers
    taste rage
    like salt from the lips of a woman
    who has killed too often to forget
    and carries each death in her eyes”
  2. Martin Estrada – Imagine the Angels of Bread
    From the poem of the same title –
    “this is the year that the food stamps
    of adolescent mothers
    are auctioned like gold doubloons,
    and no coin is given to buy machetes
    for the next bouquet of severed heads
    in coffee plantation country.”
  3. Yehuda Amichai – The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai
    From “In the Middle of this Century” –
    “The earth drinks men and their loves
    Like wine,
    To forget.
    It can’t.
    And like the contours of the Judean hills,
    We shall never find peace.”
  4. Aja Monet – My Mother was a Freedom Fighter
    From the poem of the same title (read at this year’s Women’s March) – 
    “In a midnight voice, arms extended,
    she reads blues that lay the soul to dust.”
  5. Adrienne Rich – Collected Early Poems
    From “Two Songs” –
    “I’d call it love if love
    didn’t take so many years
    but lust too is a jewel
    a sweet flower and what
    pure happiness to know
    all our high-toned questions
    breed in a lively animal.”

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Creed

photo 3 (13)

I’m eager for Easter this year.

Usually, I’m better at Lent – better at reflection, better at the grieving that ends Holy Week – than I am at celebration. But I’ve had enough of heaviness this year.

Every week, we recite the Apostle’s Creed, and sometimes the words are hard to say. Not so much the part you’re probably thinking about – the creation, the virgin birth, the resurrection. As a born mystic raised Southern Baptist, I clung to these stories. Sometimes the irrational literality of their interpretation of these mysteries was the only thing that kept me tethered to my otherwise small and rigid faith.

So…

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

 I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I have no problem saying these words. I believe in the triune God who seems to delight in making rules about how the world works just to have the fun of breaking them. That’s a God who understands us.

It’s the second part that often gives me fits. It starts off fine…

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

But then…

the holy catholic church*,

This one is hard. I hardly believe in the church at all. That is difficult for me to write. I desperately want to believe that the church could be the church. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but I don’t see the church feeding the poor or caring for the other in big enough, consistent enough ways to make an impact. I include myself in this. We tend to give out of our excess rather than out of our sacrifice. I wonder how the world would change if we switched that up.

the communion of saints,

 I often feel like an outsider in my faith. I have adapted to Lutheranism, but I still feel new after being in the church for years. But hearing the talk of some friends I used to go to church with feels absolutely foreign to me. I find it harder and harder to remember what it was like to be in that headspace.

But there is grace here, too. The Lutherans handle me. I’m usually offended by things like that. I’m not fragile (she exclaims in a feral manner)! I won’t break (she whimpers)! But honestly? I’m glad for their gentleness. I’m relieved. I’m still skittish – way more than I would have been able to admit eight years ago when everything fell apart. They meet me there.

And there is grace in the moments when I voice my feelings of otherness, and a friend, visibly relieved, exhales, “Oh…me, too. I thought it was just me.”

the forgiveness of sins,

We are much more apt to look for fault and boast of our deal-breakers. I’m certainly guilty of unforgiveness, and there are cases where I haven’t forgiven myself and don’t necessarily think I deserve it. There are instances where I long to be forgiven, but if I were in their shoes, would I want to forgive me? I’m not sure I would. And yet forgiveness is central – essential – to this faith.

This is not to say that one shouldn’t have deal-breakers. It is important to know what you will not abide in relationships with others.

Nor am I saying we should rush into forgiveness under the guise of holiness. It is unhealthy to project a false peace just so I don’t have to deal with my anger and hurt. It is also useless, because Jesus can see my soul and is not fooled by my cowardly emotional shenanigans.  I suspect that a lot of what I interpret as God’s silence is Jesus sitting beside me – calm, patient, somewhat amused – as I plug my ears and hum, trying to pretend I’m not exactly where I am.

the resurrection of the body,

 The week before Palm Sunday is usually my favorite in Lent. We get the stories of Lazarus and Ezekiel and the dry bones, and hearing them is like being thrown into the rapids of a river. Those are the stories that force me to choose between sink or swim. It’s invigorating. And terrifying. And incredibly wild.

and the life everlasting. Amen.

 This part gives me pause. Everyone told me that my 40s would be better than my 30s. In a few ways, they were right. But mostly, I just feel like I’m running out of time. Like…is this it? Is this abundant life? I mean, mine is a nice, little life. I have only a few major complaints. But is nice enough to make the thought of everlasting appealing at all? If not…then what? What exactly are we asking for here?

 

In true Holy Week fashion, I have more questions than answers. What keeps me saying these words week after week is that I’m becoming more okay with that.

 

Marvia Davidson is hosting a series on Holy Week reflections, and I’m linking up. Join us?

 

*little “c” catholic, meaning the universal church

Friday Five3

I thought it was time for a new picture. I may be trying out several pictures for Friday Five.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’ll be showcasing poets and books of poetry and activism through poetry – basically, if there’s verse to it, it’s fair game.

  1. First up is a book that feeds my obsession with food writing. Nicole Gulotta has a new book out called Eat This Poem: A Literary Feast of Recipes Inspired by Poetry. It’s so gorgeous. I could live in the pages of this book.
  2. Nayyirah Waheed is the author of Salt and Nejma, and her words can slice right through you. Her poetry holds treasures such as:
    “i am mine.
    before i am ever anyone else’s.”
    and
    “you
    not wanting me.
    was
    the beginning of me
    wanting myself.
    thank you.
    -the hurt”
  3. For those who write poetry, Entropy has compiled a list of markets with no reader fees accepting submissions.
  4. If you’re not following Button Poetry, you should fix that. Click like. You know you wanna. I love spoken word, and they highlight a lot of newer poets, which I like as well.
  5. And because ’tis the season – The Mother Warns the Tornado by Catherine Pierce. “I will invent for you a throat and choke you.” Whoa.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

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