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Title is from Britt-Marie Was Here. I’m glad the library had this one available, but I’m just going to buy it. I’m sure I’ll be reading it again.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I love Fredrik Backman. He quickly has become one of my favorite authors. He writes impossibly sweet books that leave me teary-eyed and laughing and relaxed and grateful, which is a stark contrast to how I feel most of the time, particularly after reading the news.

This post contains slight spoilers, so if you haven’t read Britt-Marie Was Here or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry or A Man Called Ove, you might want to rush immediately and read all of them before you come back here and read further. If you’re local, I have A Man Called Ove if you want to borrow it.

About mid-book, Britt-Marie Was Here starts a chapter with the statement, “At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing: how should you live your life?” This also pretty well sums up Backman’s writing. He weaves the faults and the triumphs of his characters together to reveal their impact on each other and the world through the small, everyday choices they make.

  • The police officer who helps out a local kid with a shifty record because he didn’t become an officer because he loved rules so much as because he loved justice.
  • Britt-Marie’s prim assurance to her unlikely friend that he’s not “the only one with tendencies to live a wild, irresponsible existence.” I love her so much.
  • The social worker who tells Britt-Marie that she puts up with all the stress of her job because the sunny stories make it worthwhile…and that Britt-Marie is her sunny story.
  • The confirmation that it’s not only okay to be different but that different is actually the best way to be – “Because all the best people are different – look at superheroes.”
  • The usefulness of being a bit chaotic, because “when the real world crumbles, when everything else turns into chaos, then people like Elsa’s granny can sometimes be the only ones who stay functional.”
  • The beautiful relationship between Ove and his wife, described with wonderful sentences such as “People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had,” and such exquisite moments as “She had a way of folding her index finger into his palm, hiding it inside. And he always felt that nothing in the world was impossible when she did that.”

And then gems such as this are sprinkled throughout: “The Monster looks at her as if she has just asked him to get naked, roll in saliva, and then run through a postage stamp factory with the lights off.”

You must read these books. I’m just going to keep gushing at you until you do. And then probably a little afterwards, too.

Friday Five2

I didn’t strike on International Women’s Day, because reasons and also because today begins a series of days off to celebrate my birth month. I am getting my hair chopped today and treating myself to my favorite shampoo that I never buy because it’s hella expensive. But happy birthday to me. And so today I thought I’d bring you places I love/will love and recommend that you check them out, too, as well as a couple of gems from International Women’s Day that I particularly enjoyed.

[These are all Denton-y or Denton adjacent. Sorry, folks who live afar.]

  1. Salon LaPage – Everyone here is awesome, but I especially love Meredith. I’m picky about hair, so once I found her, I pretty much followed her wherever she went.
  2. I’m so excited about trying Kimzey’s Coffee. I am a sucker for a cute coffee shop. There may be a post about it if I loooove it.
  3. There will be brunch at Abbey Inn on the square. I think I want steak and eggs benedict. Or maybe chicken and waffles with bacon pepper gravy. Or maybe I just go multiple times so that I don’t have to choose just one.
  4. Karen Gonzalez via The Mudroom – My Single Life or Why I Love Women’s Day.
  5. And some ridiculous levity from the Reductress – 4 Men Named Kyle Who Have No Idea There’s A Women’s Strike.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Friday Five2

March is my birth month, and you should know that I tend to be obnoxious about the celebration of me. So Fridays on the blog this month are going to be celebratory in nature. I want to highlight things that make me happy to be alive. This may look like, “Look at this awesome person and what they’ve accomplished and also buy all their things in rampant support of them.” Or it may look like, “I love this cause – please donate.” Or it may look like, “This is a simple way to brighten your day. Enjoy!” Or it may look like cute animals, because who doesn’t need more cute animals in their life?

Speaking of things you need in your life, that’s how we’ll get started:

  1. Today (March 3) is National Moscow Mule Day. Do with that what you will. Also, bring me one. But, you know, after 5:00. Because it’s impolite (i.e., against the rules) to drink at work.
  2. MISTY COPELAND HAS ANOTHER BOOK COMING OUT. First, a few words about her. She’s the first African American female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.  She calls people out, particularly those she works with, to hold them to the role model standard to which she holds herself. She has founded her own brand of dance wear, called Égal. I’ve already pre-ordered my own copy of her new book, but I recommend it and everything she does ever. It’s called Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You.
  3. Also, if you use Amazon, go ahead and use Amazon Smile. They donate a portion of every purchase to your charity of choice. If you need a charity of choice, I humbly recommend Christ the Servant Lutheran Church of Denton, Texas. 🙂
  4. Support my friend Emily’s GoFundMe for her surgery.
  5. The Float Spot – they stick you in a floaty pod with water and Epsom salts. I want to do this! I feel that water massage would kick traditional massage’s butt. If I do it, I’ll report back.

Happy my birth-month to all!

 

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Books, coffee, and wine. Yep, sounds about right. Books pictured: Furiously Happy and A Man Called Ove. 

February is one of my favorite months, because I get to celebrate some of my favorite people. Officially, I mean. I can celebrate them any time, really. But they were born in February.

Michelle and I hung out one weekend for Galentines. There were movies (Both Pitch Perfects and Antman), wine, and junk food. And then my sister’s birthday was this last weekend. We went to see La La Land (meh – see below) after trying to see it for a couple of months.

In related news, February is also when I watch more movies than usual.

La La Land was what I expected. It was cute, and there was singing/dancing, which I enjoy. I also like the 10,000 nods to old films. But also – the savior of jazz, should ever such a person actually be needed in the world (i.e., such a person is not. Jazz is fine. It is both respectful of its roots and excited about its future. It is wild and vibrant and often experimental – *cough*aswereitsroots*cough* – and it doesn’t need saving) is probably not going to look like Ryan Gosling, adorable as he may be. If the roots of jazz are really what his character wanted to go back to, it might have been helpful for said character to remember that jazz was born of struggle, so maybe white, straight male is not the most appropriate face of that.

I have watched less TV this month, but what I have watched is still superhero-y and This is Us. I can’t get enough of that show. I love seeing a depiction of what it’s like to live with anxiety. I love the cast and that they play with the fans. I love their sorry/not sorry video, although what they really need to apologize to me for is Jack Pearson. TV has been waiting decades for Jack Pearson, and frankly – so have I. Except…he’s fictional. So basically I’m never getting married because this show has raised my already lofty standards, and a Jack Pearson sort of guy, if such a person does even exist, is probably already married or dead. Either way, he’s unavailable, so I’m going to be alone forever. Thanks, This is Us.

I didn’t finish a lot of books in February, but I read excerpts of quite a few. I currently am reading eight different books. James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room and bell hooks’s Killing Rage are on my nightstand, and I recommend both. I always love Jenny Lawson’s work, and her Furiously Happy is no exception.

You may have noticed I have not been into blogging this month, which is funny, since I’m talking about blogging at my mastermind writers group tomorrow. I also haven’t been writing a lot. I blame the ridiculous springtime weather we’ve been having. It always inspires me to withdraw (because allergies and because spring is hard for me). This is where the discipline of writing comes in handy, because I scheduled two writing nights this week, and they were more productive than the rest of the month put together. It was a good reminder that I don’t have to wait for inspiration to do the work of writing.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer. Hop over and read some other posts, and share with us what you’re into this month!

Third Beer Wild

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Okay, so technically this is coffee. With a shot of vanilla bourbon (DO IT.) But beer is sold at this place (Harvest House, Denton TX)…so…close enough?

When I think of country – particularly the patch of country where I grew up – several words come to mind. I think open. I think chaos and hierarchy, both at the same time. I think free.

I think wild.

Wild is what happens when a west Texas wind meets no resistance. When it goes and goes, and stopping is not even a thought because there’s nothing in its way to make stopping a necessity.

I love that wild. I love moments when I can be wild like that – my unencumbered self, embodying all I’ve learned and all that I’ve taken from those lessons. Not what I’ve had to be (for whatever reason), but what I am.

I originally wrote this rambly post when I was on my third beer. The third beer is my favorite beer, when I’ve pushed past the sleepy of one and the mellow of two and landed on the open wild of three.

Of course, I cannot always be on my third beer. That’s called alcoholism, and I’m neither willing nor financially able to sustain that sort of lifestyle. Having always to have help from a beverage to get to this coveted wild would mean that despite my best intentions to embrace wild, I’ve settled for my comfort zone instead.

Being comfortable and being myself are not the same thing. I sometimes confuse one for the other, though. Usually when I’m seeking out something that is comfortable to me, it’s not out of freedom but out of fear or as a result from outside pressure – because it would be easier to go along than go forward.

  • When I over-schedule myself so that I can not only feel productive but have a full calendar to prove that I am working hard toward the things I care about *cough* to absolutely no one because no one has ever asked to see my calendar to explain myself *cough*
  • When I say yes to things because they are good ideas without stopping to think about whether they’re actually mine to do or whether they’d be better accomplished by someone else
  • When I don’t do something I really want to do – something that would be mine – because I’ve hyper-committed to everything else (see above)

Part of my year of wild is rediscovering where the boundary lies between mere habit and real vision and learning to land on the latter side.

Friday Five!

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The exclamation point is for hope.

I enjoy seeing stories like the ones below. We may not like the hand we’ve been dealt *cough*dealtourselves*cough* but I like stories about people doing something other than just throwing their hands in the air.

  1. Joaquin Castro may run against Cruz. That would be exciting.
  2. Stephen Colbert is funding every existing grant request on DonorsChoose.org  made by South Carolina teachers.
  3. Since DeVos is going to be Secretary of Education, people who don’t like that are running for their local school boards.
  4. Biden’s daughter is making hoodies and I’ve never wanted a hoodie more.
  5. I want to do this to the entire state of Texas – cool off without using refrigerants.

Bonus – in case you’ve ever wanted to hear a conversation between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde (and if you haven’t, you should. You should want this) – here you go.

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When blowhards get loud (as is their way, I suppose), I find myself wondering what they’re trying to do quietly. I stumbled across a couple of things. This week’s reading also seemed to highlight specific actions that Texans can take/call about and advice about what to do if you are stopped by an ICE officer.

  1. For one thing, they’re trying to leave the UN again. This bill was tried and defeated before in 2015, but these are somewhat different times, so this is concerning.
  2. Although they would have us believe that the current president’s National Security Council is business as usual, NPR breaks it down by actually comparing the documents. You know…as one does when one wants to compare/contrast with accuracy.
  3. If you live in Texas and you support freedom of religion, here is a petition you can sign. Also,one thing most of us in Texas do agree on is that we hate the STAAR test. Call your state representatives and voice your support for this bill.
  4. The National Immigration Law Center gives helpful advice to anyone who is approached by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers on the street or in their home.
  5. Speaking of weekly reading, here’s a good start for your weekly reading for Black History Month, compiled by Austin Channing Brown.

 

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