Sunday, March 27, 2016

Far from the Madding Crowd

On Reading:  Many years ago I started a collection of classics that I wanted to read. I acquired some of the books at book shops or people gave them to me. One of the books I somehow got from my sister was "Far from the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy. This was pre-Google and I never bothered to look up the plot, but I had heard that it was a classic so I added it to my collection. I've had it for years now and I never read it. Since it's a paperback it's grown old and the pages have yellowed.

I don't know why I never started to read it, especially since I love the title. It reminds me of how I feel when I'm overwhelmed and I have that desire to just run away and hide. Last night I decided to watch the movie on my HBO app on my Kindle (I sound so 21st century saying it that way!) and I absolutely loved the storyline! It is such a romantic story and the characters are so great. It made me want to read the book for sure now to get more details and to know more about the characters than a movie can't tell you.

I want to start reading again like I used to. I don't read enough and I miss it. I just finished reading "Room" by Emma Donoghue. It's a really great book and I can't wait to see the Oscar-nominated movie.

On Health: Well I have not done very well with my #healthy word for 2016. In fact I've been sick with a cold or flu at least three times. The third time was the charm! I had the flu really bad last weekend and it settled into my lungs and turned into bronchitis. It was the first time I've had bronchitis that I know of. Yeah, ironic isn't it? After all that talk about health!

I ignored resting this weekend because I wasted all of last weekend sick in bed. I cut the yard and I swept and mopped the 3 main rooms in the house. Now I'm feeling a little extra congestion in my chest but at least I've taken all 5 days of my antibiotics.

My doctor got after me when I went to see her about this bronchitis and she sent me for blood work. I'm going to go get it done this week so I can face the music. She's checking me for everything and I know I need to start seeing her on the regular. I hadn't been in three years! Yeah, not good.

Now that the time has changed I'm going to start walking every evening after work. I need to start a regular exercise routine again. I'd like to eventually start Cross Fit and I want to train for a run.

On Life: It's good in general. I appreciate the small things and the big things. I appreciate that I'm working back at the Chronicle again and that I have money to support my family like I should. That's a big one. I appreciate weekends without the kids to be alone and to watch all the HBO and Netflix that I want, uninterrupted.

I'm doing better at #liberty and #clarity than I'm doing with #healthy. At least there's that and I appreciate it. It's still a work in progress and arguing with the demons in my head.

Is it weird to still want to achieve something big in my life at the age of 46? Although I'm very grateful for what I have I still want to do more and achieve more in life. I was looking at Soledad O'Brien's biography and of course I'm not a major news anchor like her, but I see women like her, around my age, and all that they've accomplished and I want to do that too.

Soledad O'Brien is around 49, Brene Brown is 50. I don't know how old Kelly Rae Roberts is, but I did learn that she didn't start painting and doing her craft until she was 30.  I realize that 46 is much older than 30 but still, she didn't start as a young adult. I want to do that.

I want to achieve something big like they have, whether it's writing and publishing a book or starting a successful podcast with a really cool and interesting topic, or becoming a journalist for NPR in my old age. I feel like until I'm dead anything is possible and I don't want to stop dreaming and believing.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March Madness

March has been a pretty crazy month, thus the madness part. Miranda turned 15 and she had a karaoke party with a few friends. It's also the month of Spring Break so we went to New Orleans on the first weekend to visit my step-daughter and her new baby.  While we were in New Orleans I visited some of the oldest and coolest cemeteries, St. Roch 1 & 2. They were so old and so amazing. Here are some of the photos I haven't shared on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Kids on the St. Patrick street of the cemetery since it was the week of  St. Patrick's Day.

Creepy girl statue we suspected had blood on her forehead but we aren't for sure.

Shots of St. Roch Cemetery, NOLA

We came back from NOLA and Seth's cat had mysteriously had his jaw ripped off and broken. We had to take him to the emergency room that same night we got home and had him put to sleep. Tears from everyone.

I had to go back to work Wednesday-Friday. I had a short but very busy week as I felt myself getting more and more sick. I spent the better part of this weekend in bed sick with a bad cough because Murphy has a sense of humor like that.

We got a mild cool front, probably the last of the year because today is the first day of Spring, so the weather has been beautiful. I needed to cut the yard and treat it for fleas. I needed to spray in the house for fleas too as a precaution with all this cat activity going on in here. But since I was sick all I managed to do was stay in bed resting and trying to bring my fever down. It finally did come down and at 5 p.m. on Sunday I'm finally feeling better, just in time to go back to work tomorrow.

 Now it's on to a short week of school for the kids because they have Good Friday off but I don't.

Since the year started I've only written a blog per month. My goal is to increase that to at least 2 blogs per month or one a week if I'm really being ambitious.

I'd like to start blogging about the Houston Independent School District and the Vanguard and Magnet programs a little more consistently. I think it's a topic a lot of parents have questions about and now that I've been through it a few times I feel like I can be a source of information for parents with questions. I'm still interested in doing some grassroots outreach to lower income and minority parents to educate them about what opportunities there are for their kids. That's on the agenda of things to do as well. Stay posted!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

"The who-I-was who would become the the who-I-am"

I turned 46 last week. Yes, 46, as in 4 years to 50, and I'm in a good place right now.

This is me yesterday on an adventure with my 14.5 year old daughter. We took the Metro downtown to the Place Upstairs. They weren't open so we had a snack and a drink at Tacos a Go Go downstairs. I got my hair cut yesterday so I wanted a picture of my hair and I found those amazing readers at another shop upstairs, above Tacos and the Continental Club. So here I am, looking every bit my 46 years.

I'm in a good place because I'm happy. I love just chilling in my house without anyone bothering me and deciding what I want to do and when. Sure, I have the kids and my dad to take care of but other than that I don't have to answer to anyone and that is a great feeling. Even cutting my hair short was a statement of liberty.

I've slacked off on my #Healthy, #Clarity and #Liberty. I need to get back on track there but I'm OK. I'm not going to stress myself out about it because I am free (liberty) to do what I want when I want to do it.

It was a great 46th birthday. I am finally feeling like a grown woman and that's a good thing. I think I felt like a kid or someone's wife for way too long. That's nothing to be ashamed of. It's "the who-I-was who would become the the who-I-am," (Sandra Cisneros)

The thing is this. I have always been under someone's headship. I lived at home until I got married at 27, then I was married for 14 years and we followed the traditional "head of household" relationship. After we got divorced I lived alone for only two years but I was truly alone in every sense for one year and then my dad came to live with me.

Even though I'm taking care of my dad and I'm the "head of household," at least according to the IRS, it is still living with my dad again. There are a lot of things I don't do out of respect for him and his religious beliefs even if it is my house. So in some ways I am still his kid and that's another bridge I will need to cross. My dad is 92 and I'm not in a hurry to cross that bridge if it means losing him.

For now, I celebrate the little victories, like doing what I want in general, letting go, doing my own taxes, turning people away from my door if I don't want to talk to them and voting in the Primary for the first time. (I didn't vote because it was against my former religion.)

I feel free in so many ways that the little ways that I'm not free don't really matter that much. I know that growing up also means letting go in my mind and grasping that freedom and liberty myself. It's what I'm learning to do.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My Words for 2016

A friend of mine gave me this idea a couple of years ago. We choose either one or more words to define our goals for the year. We started doing this when she moved back to Houston from Savannah and this is our third year doing it. It's become a tradition now!

A clean desk after a good house cleaning the day after Christmas, part of clearing the clutter!

This year I've decided not to set any wordy goals at all. I'm only going to use the three words that will be my guide for all things. These three words can act separately, but they can also overlap. I'll define them for the purposes of this blog post only.

Healthy-  This means both physical health as well as mental health. I want to work on clearing the baggage I still carry from childhood and along the way.

Clarity- Clarity of mind and well as soul. This also relates to clearing my life of clutter and goes hand in hand with my mental health.

Liberty- I choose freedom from all things that bring me down, whether they are food, clutter, organized religion, fear, people or the negative voices in my own head.

The older I am getting the less tolerant I'm becoming of people and things that I don't appreciate. I'm still learning to say no and telling people that certain behaviors, like coming to my house unannounced, are not okay. It's my right to say no and I will. Here is to a happy and prosperous 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Beauty Product Review of the Year

I tried two new dry shampoos towards the end of 2015 and the winner is still Batiste. I tried Pantene's Original Fresh and Salon Grafix "Invisible" formula.

The Pantene spray left my hair just as oily. It was like I had just sprayed product and mixed it with the oil in my hair to create a thicker more oily film on my hair. Not good! I know I have especially oily hair, so in order to give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe Pantene is good if you just have semi-oil or non-oily hair.

Salon Grafix was just a step up from Pantene but still not great. Nothing over the counter has worked as well as Batiste so far.

Of course in the more expensive salon category I still chose Bumble and Bumble. The only negative point I can give them is that they come tinted with color and it does come off on your pillow. So use at your own risk or cover your pillows with a towel.

If you're looking for a way to freshen up your hair, and you don't have time to wash it, I still recommend Batiste Dry Shampoo.