Cape Cod Shelf

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One summer, I went with my friend Hope and one of her friends to Cape Cod. I have had an affinity for decorating elements that remind me of that trip ever since. So when Mel got married and moved out of our apartment, this little bathroom shelf – charming, quaint, Cape-Cod-y – was one of the items I commandeered. It’s still one of my favorite things in my apartment.

One of my other roommates was a Drawing/Painting major, and then she switched to Fashion Design. I loved living with her. Not only do we get along really well, but our apartment looked like an art gallery.

That was also the downside. There was barely an inch of the wall that wasn’t covered. For someone who enjoys a lot of white space, this could be stressful.

To combat the stress, she and I made a deal: I got one shelf in the house that was my point of sanity. It would be decorated, but nothing else could be stacked in it. Ever. It would remain the one place I could look if I ever just needed to see a space that wasn’t packed as full as it could possibly be packed.

She happily obliged.

Now I live alone, and most of my shelves stay pretty uncluttered. They hold books and the items that they’re meant to hold, but shelves are the least likely place in my house to get cluttered.

Every time I look at this shelf, though, it reminds me of Cape Cod and my point of sanity shelf. It makes me feel peaceful.

What place in your house is designed to bring you peace?

I am taking 31 Days of Shelfies and writing about them.

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My Friday Five this week consists of five stories I have loved since childhood:

  1. Mediopolito (The Half-Chicken) – There are two versions of this Spanish folk tale that I have heard. The dual-lingual book I own is the nicer version, where little Mediopolito helps the wind and the fire and the stream and thus does not end up scorched like a cinder in a soup pot. The version my family told (and it is telling that I can’t remember which family member liked to tell me this story – the love of a good warning tale runs rampant throughout our clan) is the sadder version, where Mediopolito is selfish and unhelpful and leaves his mama to continue to be selfish and unhelpful, and terrible things that give children with vivid imaginations nightmares happen to him.
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – The first time I read The Chronicles of Narnia, this was my favorite book in the series. At different times in my life, my favorite has changed, but this one is the one that I associate most with the wonder of childhood.
  3. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – First given to me by my Aunt Gale in hopes that through reading (my favorite pastime of choice) about horses, I would become more interested in riding them (her favorite pastime of choice), I fell in love with the stories. I’m not sure it made me want to ride horses more (it DID make me want to race them, for I am competitive), but I enjoyed it.
  4. The Crooked Banister from the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene – Speaking of one of the many things I wanted to be when I was a child, I loved Nancy Drew. I recently re-read this one, and oh, the nostalgia! I have read enough mystery stories since that I was expecting some sort of twist, but no. That’s not how Nancy mysteries roll.
  5. Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson – Technically, these didn’t come out until I was in junior high, but I’m still counting it. The author visited the elementary school where my mom worked, and she got me a signed copy. It’s a super cute series, especially for new readers or for reading aloud.

What are some of your favorite stories from childhood?

I’m posting shelfies (and yes, I am counting the top of the table where my books are posed above as a shelf) and writing about them for 31 days.

31 Days of Shelfies

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My project this October is going to be 31 Days of Shelfies. A shelfie, as defined by MacMillan Dictionary, is  “a picture which is taken, usually by a smartphone or a similar device of somebody with a bookshelf or bookshelves behind them,” or just a picture taken of bookshelves. I am going to take broader liberties and define shelfie as “any picture I take that has a shelf in it.”

Don’t worry – it’s not just going to be shelves. Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

The way I usually put together a blog post is to write the post and then find or take a picture to complement the post. This month, I am practicing the reverse. I am writing posts from photo prompts. Picture-taking (and the visual arts in general) don’t come naturally to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve what tiny skills I have. This month, I am going to practice taking better pictures and noticing what makes each picture better. This month, my content will be at the mercy of my pictures.

These photos (and their subsequent posts…ideally) will fall into four basic categories:

  1. A bookshelf + me. I thought of doing just 31 days of selfies, but I couldn’t get excited about it. I don’t really understand selfies. I mean, I support other people’s choice to take them for whatever reason they want to do so. But for myself, I’m usually left thinking, “Why?”  Unless there’s something new that I’m doing with my hair or something I’m wearing, I look pretty much the same as I did the last time I took a picture. People know what I look like. They don’t need a daily selfie from me, and I don’t require it for myself. But myself plus a bookshelf? I can make that interesting.
  2. A bookshelf by itself. Who knows where this will lead? I anticipate that I will be writing book reviews and telling stories about specific books that have meant something special to me.
  3. Friday five – a stack of five different books each Friday that I have read or am reading and why I recommend them.
  4. Non-book shelves. Because books – while wildly important – are not the only things in life. On the weekends, I will be showing other shelves to remind myself to take my nose out of the books every once in a while.

I hope you enjoy it!

Master list of posts:

10/2 – Friday Five: Five Favorite Stories From Childhood

10/3 – Cape Cod Shelf

10/4 – Memory Shelf

10/5 – My Book

10/6 – Sweet Valley High

10/7 – The L Shelf

10/8 – Hanging out with Allende

10/9 – Friday Five: Five Books That Move Me

I am feeling a bit curmudgeonly today. I’m avoiding Facebook for the afternoon after a morning of frustration with my news feed. Five things I don’t understand about people today:

  1. Freaking out over “new math.” First, it’s not new. It’s the same numbers and same concepts being taught a different *cough* more comprehensive/logical *cough* way. Second, while I understand being frustrated with learning a new way of doing things, I don’t get the compulsion to call other ways of doing things “stupid” just because one does not automatically understand it. Third, I like new math. It’s the way I do math in my head. If math had been taught to me that way, I might not have been so bored in math class. In fact, if the fun I had from the two times I can remember someone approaching math this way in class (once in Coach Depew’s geometry class when he challenged me to argue and defend my answer against his and once in pre-calculus when the professor showed us how Pythagorean theorem was discovered) is any indication, I might have enjoyed it enough to go into a math-related field. Who knows what I could have done with that?! And finally, telling your children how complicated and stupid it is? Not exactly conducive to learning. Stop it. Stop it immediately.
  2. Speaking of an aversion to learning – getting upset when a professor gives you a challenging assignment or one that’s not precisely in your comfort zone. I do understand if someone has undergone a specific trauma how said person might have an interest in avoiding a few specific things that force her/him into reliving said trauma. Fine. But complaining because an assignment is hard? Um…THAT’S WHAT COLLEGE IS FOR. That is how you learn. That is an example of professors doing their jobs well. If a college class is easy and never requires you to do something that stretches or challenges you, your professor is doing it wrong.
  3. Uggs. Yes, the boots. I don’t understand them. They look like some sort of bloated root vegetable. Also, it is not now and rarely is cold enough in Texas to wear them.
  4. Spontaneity. This one, I actually want an answer to. How does it work? Do you just not make plans and hope something happens to fill the time? Or do you have to be one of those terrible humans who is comfortable flaking out on plans you’ve made whenever something more exciting comes along? “Are you free tonight?” No. Forever no. Even if my plans are to spend the evening at home, by the time one asks this question, I already have my head wrapped around what I’m going to be doing at home, so if I cave to peer pressure and go with them, I will spend most of the time trying to figure out when I’m going to get done what I abandoned in order to hang out with someone who didn’t even want to hang out with me enough to make actual plans to do so. I would like to be more spontaneous, as it’s supposed to be fun. I just don’t get how.
  5. Being a regular at the gym. At least, I didn’t understand it until I read this beautiful piece. Now I can sort of see how such a thing would happen. I mean, I’m still not gonna. But I can kinda see it.

What don’t you understand? Let’s help each other out.

Shelfies Shmelfies

I am working on my 31 Days button. I’m going to do an Instagram-blog series of shelfies. Some of them will be just bookshelves. Some of them will be me in front of bookshelves. Some of the weekend posts will not even be books, because while it’s important to read, it’s also important to take your nose out of the books every once in a while and enjoy the world around you (apparently).

I am enjoying taking these pictures. This is my favorite so far. I look so annoyed (as opposed to others, where I look happy but drunk). I swear I’m not (annoyed or drunk). That’s just my face.

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You know what I am not enjoying? Editing pictures. Adding text to pictures. Staring at pictures of myself for two hours while I edit them and add text to them. I’m almost to the point that I just don’t care anymore.

But I think I’m really going to like this series. I hope you do, too.

The Best WTF Face

The ninth grader in Irving who was arrested for showing his English teacher the cool clock he made has the best WTF face ever.

Yes, Ahmed Mohamed. That face exactly.

If you’re wondering if racism is still a thing, watch this story.

[Also, stop wondering if racism is still a thing.]

Watch the comments. Read the letter that the school sent to parents to cover their ass. Watch people excuse them for doing so because the school has to protect itself from liability or even praise them for grossly overreacting in the name of safety.

I disagree.

I am just as afraid as anyone about violence happening at schools. I work on a college campus. You better believe we’re suspicious and on high alert all the time. But when you make that big and that public a mistake, you admit it and apologize for it, no strings attached. It’s embarrassing enough for an institution of education to have made the mistake in the first place. It’s unconscionable not to follow up with just as big and just as public an apology.

On the bright side, he did get an informal invitation to the White House because of it.

If there are updates, I’ll edit and post them. Feel free to share related links in the comments.

Right now, I’m into anything that keeps me cool. I’m dreaming of boot weather and soup while wearing sandals and eating sherbet. I feel like I’m living multiple lives.

In face-to-face life, the sister has started physical therapy and is progressing. We may take tap lessons when she’s up and jumping again. School has started, and part-time staff is hired and trained (HALLELUJAH). I have finished slicing off the unnecessary parts of Feast, and now I’m writing new words again. I am teaming up with two other folk from my supper club to write/read/edit. It will be my first primarily in-person writing group (if you don’t count English classes in college, which I don’t).

In reading life, I’ve been working on the reading challenge (very slowly) and have become enamored with The Goldfinch. I have also read two friends’ books this month, and you should check them out – L.V. Smith’s Remember Us and Andi Cumbo-Floyd’s Writing Day In and Day Out.

In Instagram Life, I’ve been participating in Susannah Conway‘s August Break Challenge. Here are some of my favorite shots from the month:

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In online reading life, here are some of my favorite pieces:

“This table is large enough for every one of us. There’s space for you and for me, there’s room for my quirkiness and space your solemnity.  Even our messy, big, sometimes embarrassing emotions can’t rob this table of its nourishment.  Jesus’ is never scared away by our truest selves.” There’s Room at this Table. Come – Osheta Moore

“But then I shook hands with the woman who tore hate from the sky, and I knew that I didn’t have a choice. I knew that I would have to take a stand.” Grit Calls Out to Grit – Abby Norman via SheLoves Magazine

“Governor Kasich thinks the problem with teachers is the teacher’s lounge. The problem with teachers is this: we are having to deal with laws that are being passed by people who have not one single clue as to what our job entails or how we do it.”  What Teacher’s Lounge? Some Information for Governor Kasich by Abby Norman (who is on fire this month)

“I am an angry, black woman. What I am not is irrational, fickle or immoral because of my anger over oppression. I am an angry, black, Christian woman and proud of it. I am proud of all those who are angered over injustice and oppression. I am proud of all those who resist, protest, write, march, rap, organize, and advocate out of a deep belief that no one is worthy of oppression. May we be as angry as God at the powers and principalities that let injustice thrive.” God is Not Sad – Austin Channing

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer – come tell us what you’re into!

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