31 May 2013

Summer Book Swap with Micah

Now that June is just one day away, it's safe to say that summer has arrived!!

And with that means it's time to start figuring out my summer reading selections. Why a whole new season would inspire the needs for a "books I'm going to read list" is beyond me but some things I just don't question.

This summer, my friend Micah over at Unabashedly Me (do ya'll read her blog? If the answer to that question is no, I suggest she check her out--she's a pretty awesome chick and it's kind of awesome that I get to call her a friend) is hosting a Summer Reading Swap! Since I am notoriously bad at picking books for myself to read (I'm really good at recommending books though), I'm signing up to see what else everyone else is reading! Plus, how fun it is to be connected to other readers? Fun I tell you. FUN!

If ya'll are interested in signing up, the sign-up is open through tomorrow. I'm quite certain Micah would love to have you.

What types of books do you like to read in the summer? Any suggested summer reads?
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27 May 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I was sadly not blessed with a green thumb nor the desire to be out in the hot sun sweating my ass off for the sake of having beautiful flowers or a garden packed with fresh vegetables. But I am determined to have those two things even if I spend half my time whining about needing a cool breeze or a cold pool to jump into.

For the past couple of days, with the help of my parents, I have been doing just that--working on my flower and vegetable gardens. It doesn't look like much now, but I can't wait to see what it looks like once everything starts growing!!

The back of the house. I'm really looking forward to having a wild flower garden here so I can have fresh flowers for the house this summer. We also added the stone at the bottom of the steps for a little extra bonus.

I adore sunflowers but not the old dish antenna. We planted sunflowers here today which will hopefully be tall enough to cover the eyesore.

My petite little vegetable garden. I figure it's best to start small and then get bigger as time goes on. This year I planted green beans, snow peas, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and beets. All of my favorites!

Every garden  needs a windmill, which my dad found it in the garage. I'm hoping it will help keep Sadie out of the dirt.

What's a garden project without a diy project on the side?

We also tackled the front of the house as well! Yesterday my mom and I put out the new brick edging and today we put down new mulch. I love the way it turned out!

Without a doubt though, my favorite part of the project was the gnome who moved in over the weekend. I picked him up at a local garden shop and then found the red mushrooms at a local warehouse store. He is still without a name, but friends have suggested Stan, Louis and Jerome.

Thanks for taking a touring of my "gardens" with me! I'll be sure to share some updates once things start to grow!

Are you doing a garden this summer? Any tips for a first timer?
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Music Monday: Vandaveer

Happy Monday everyone!

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26 May 2013

Sunday Confession

Fear of Starting: After writing up my post on Friday about being able to run again, I had another chat with my doctor and he gave me the all clear to start running as soon as I would like to, keeping in mind that I still need to ease into it. Awesome, right! Well, here I am sitting on my couch on a PERFECT spring afternoon not running. I'm all kinds of worried that even easing back into running will send me right back to where I was six weeks ago. And yes I know, as everyone has kindly reminded me, there are other things I could be doing instead of running. But running clears my head, it lessens my anxiety and calms me down. So I'm making a pact with myself that I start running again tomorrow. Nice and easy and my hip will be just fine.

Anger Management V2.0: I love gardens but was not blessed with a green thumb. My dad has it and is thankfully helping me this weekend get my gardens whipped into shape. And my mom is helping, too. I spent some time this morning ripping out weeds and attacking an annoying overgrown section near my deck with nippers and a hoe. It was fantastic to get in there and whack stuff down. I still have a lot to do (including moving the piles of clippings from the backyard to the compost pile) but this part of gardening I like. Now if only I can keep the plants alive I'll be good to go!

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24 May 2013

The Good, the Bad & the Just Plain Annoying

Monday I had an MRI done on my hip. Long story short is that I've had this really frustrating and annoying pain in my right hip since last fall from running. Taking the winter off from running didn't help. Weeks of physical therapy helped but didn't totally solve the problem (I was diagnosed with bursitis of the hip with the PT definitely helped to sort out), so it was off to have some imaging done to get to the bottom of things.

Today my doctors office called with the results of the MRI.

The good news is that I can start running again!! I have to make sure I ease back into it......slowly. So, its back to the C25k program which is fine. I've been mostly successful when following that program so we will give it another go. June 1 is my new target start date. I'd start sooner, but the doctor wants another week off with my exercises from physical therapy. Who am I to argue? I get to start running again!!

The bad news is that I do have a diagnosis of arthritis. First bursitis and now arthritis  I'm starting to think all my jokes about having the "hip of a ninety year old" aren't too far off. I'm going to do a bit of research into running and arthritis to make sure running won't make it any worse. I honestly don't think it will, but one can never be too careful. I'm also planning on adding in some more yoga and tai chi to my routine.

Unfortunately, "lump" he felt during my last exam still goes undiagnosed. Because of its location, he isn't sure it is related to this hip thing to begin with. So on Monday I have to call another doctor on my payroll to see about an appointment with her. Here it to hoping it is just a cyst. I've had them before and while they are annoying, that is something I can deal with.

Even though I don't have all the answers I was looking for, I at least have enough to get me started on the right path. But more importantly, I've been given the all clear to start running in a week which makes me very, very happy!
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22 May 2013

Weekly Reads

I think we can all agree that sometimes, just sometimes a book that doesn't require too much participation from the reader is just what one needs. Both of the "books" I've read recently fit that bill nicely.

A midnight encounter between two estranged lovers rekindles a passion beyond their wildest dreams... 

Rowena, Countess of Northam, is surprised to find her former suitor has returned from India and is on his way to the very house where she is staying. When he appears in her room late at night, she can only believe it is a dream. Her fantasy soon becomes reality when Simon makes every effort to seduce her. 

Despite his six year absence, and the fact that Rowena married his best friend, Simon is determined to have her back now that she is a widow. It soon becomes clear that while her body craves his affections, she doesn't trust him enough to give her heart. Can Simon forget her past betrayal and convince her to surrender to the greatest love they've ever known?

Ok....so this was more of a novella than a book. And calling it a novella is stretching it a bit. It comes in at just under 70 pages BUT despite all that, this title was really well written. The characters were well developed and the interaction between Simon and Rowena was nothing short of HOT. This is absolutely a title I would recommend to those looking for something to read during a summer afternoon.

Set in the world of the bestselling title Legend Beyond the Stars, an erotic novella about two warriors who have lost the ability to desire, and the human woman who is about to wake them up. 

Fran must have been crazy to leave her ordinary, safe life and volunteer as a colonist to terra-form a new earth. Now she is trapped in a prison cell on an alien planet a zillion miles from home and bound for a hideous death in notorious research chambers. 

She has one chance of escape: awaken the long dormant sexual urges of the Darkon Warriors shackled in the next cell. 

It’s a desperate job, but someone has to do it.

This one was weird. Another novella, but shorter. It felt like it was an oddly extracted excerpt from a longer title. I was definitely left feeling unsatisfied (no pun intended) and wanting more.

And for the record, even though we know was the heroines name is because it's noted in the synopsis, I found it incredibly annoying that on the last page of the story is when her name is revealed in an "Oh, by the way, you can call me Fran" kind of way.

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21 May 2013


Excited For: Matt Nathanson has a new album coming out in July and I CAN'T WAIT. I pre-ordered the album today and have been listening to Mission Bells on near constant repeat.

Exploring: Have ya'll checked out Riffle? It's kind of awesome. It's like Pinterest but for books! I'm still trying to figure out it, but it's been fun exploring the virtual bookshelves of others.

Reading: Speaking of books, I successfully completed my goals for the Bout of Books read-a-thon. Can I get a woot! woot! I'm now weeding through a whole slew of books on my Kindle, trying to get through some of the not-so-great reads that have been taking up space. I'm also still making my way through Riveted. I must confess I'm not enjoying this one nearly as much as the first two books in the series, but I'm not about to give up now!

Anticipating: This weekend I have big plans to hang out with friends, while kicking back at one of these best summer festivals in the area. It's going to be a big time break from the last couple of weeks. If I remember, I'll try to snap a few photos of the shenanigans. 
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20 May 2013

Music Monday: Father John Misty

I am currently sitting in the radiology waiting room at the hospital waiting for my MRI.

Sadly they are a wee bit behind schedule and I (of course) didn't bring a book with me to I occupy myself so I've been watching videos on YouTube and checking out the Humor section on Pinterest.

One of the videos I came across was this performance by Father John Misty. I swear the more I listen to his music the more I fall in love with it.

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19 May 2013

Sunday Confessions

I'm a wee bit worried: Ok....maybe not a wee bit. But a lot worried. Tomorrow is my MRI and I'm not sure I'm ready for the results. I know. I know. It could be nothing, but anytime your doctors say, "Hmmm......that lump shouldn't be there" I can't help but freak the fuck out! So here is to hoping it's just an angry, inflamed knot of muscles or a cyst and not my wild imagination keeps thinking it is.

Blogging Burnout: I dunno. Part of me wants to just start all over. But another part of me thinks I've participated in too many blogging chats and skimmed too many "how to and how not to blog" lists and blah blah blah. Do ya'll get that way? Cruise along for a good bit of time and then think "Nope, time to divert course!"?

Bout of Books: I'm crusing right along with this weeks read-a-thon. I've managed to complete part 1 of my challenge, which was to read for an hour a day. We are good to go there. But actually finishing a book has been another issue all of its own. How, if I am reading an hour a day, am I unable to complete a single title? Easy--I'm back to picking really awful titles to read. So awful in fact, I'm not even noting via Goodreads that I've started them because I'm not sure I'm going to even finish them. Thankfully though, I'm not immersed in Riveted which is proving to be at least halfway decent at this point. Not sure I'm going to have it finished by today, but it's at least not been a total fail of a read-a-thon!

People Woes: At this point, if someone is breathing, they are most likely jumping all over my last nerve. I'm so sick of whiny, bitchy people who complain to get their way and make the rest of us suffer or look like an ass for upholding rules, policies, procedures, etc. I'm over it. Really, really over it.

14 May 2013

Poem: 10 Honest Thoughts on Being Love by a Skinny Boy

I am not a skinny girl.

I have never been a skinny girl.

I will never be a skinny girl.

I've spent much of my life believing that because of this,  I was defective and not worth being loved, especially by a skinny boy.

A fellow blogger posted this video of poet Rachel Wiley a few months ago. I think I have listened to  and read Rachel's poem at least a dozen times over the last week. Sometimes we all need a reminder that we're perfect just the way we are.

13 May 2013

Goals Smoals

I really didn't think long and hard today about what I'd like to accomplish this week during the Bout of Books Read-a-thon. Let's be honest.....if I over think things, it isn't going to end well.

Sadly, at 9pm on day one I still haven't committed to what I'm going to read. And I barely know what my goals are going to be. BUT I have a couple so we will go with that and see where it takes us!
Daily Goals: Read for at least an hour a day. That may not seem like much but things have been ridiculously busy around here lately and finding an hour to carve out of my day has been a bit difficult. But this week I'm going to make time to get lost in my book, even if I need to give up some quality time with my Detroit Tigers.

Weekly Goals: Read two books, one from my Netgalley library. My Netgalley sellections are a little out of control. That is what happens when you think your going to be declined but are approved instead. NOT that I am complaining. I have a lot of good selections to choose from. It's just the choosing know that is the problem. Although the choosing part isn't strictly related to those books. I have stacks of them around the house begging to be read. I just need to settle in with one.

Books: The current plan is to read Waiting for Dead Men's Shoes: A Mini Monroe Comic Mystery by Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Riveted by Meljean Brook.

Updates: I'm going to try and do a couple of updates here on the blog during the week, but most of them will be via Goodreads and Twitter.

Music Monday: Mission Bells

You're welcome....

12 May 2013

Gettin' My Read On: Bout of Books Style

I am all kinds of behind the eight ball on this one.

In two short hours Bout of Books Read-a-thon 7.0 beings and I haven't even prepared myself for it yet.

What is Bout of Books Read-a-thon you ask? I'll tell you....

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I've participate in the last couple read-a-thons and have had a BLAST. It is such a great way to get your reading kick started. Especially if you are like me and haven't even attempted to pick up a book in weeks. What can I can....I'm fickle.

Now I have the arduous task of selecting the titles I am going to read this week. Heck, I still have the task of setting my goals for the week! But I'll get that sorted out shortly and share my game plan for the read-a-thon here on the blog tomorrow.

Are you participating in the read-a-thon? Have you participated in one before? Any tips and tricks you want to share?

Happy reading!

11 May 2013


Watching: I don't have cable and half the time I can't get the four major networks to come in clear enough using an antenna to watch much t.v. so I have to rely on online services such as Hulu to get my t.v. fix. Because of this I am typically a few weeks, or in the case of my new obsession Chicago Fire a few months behind on shows. It has taken a couple of weeks, but I've mostly caught up with the season. Love. This. Show.

Reading:  My lack of reading has been really frustrating. The next round of Bout of Books starts on Monday. If I can get it together, I will be participating again. It makes for a fun week. I just need to sort out what I want to read!

Anticipating: On Wednesday, my dad and I are off to Detroit for a Tigers game. Depending on the rotation, it will be either Verlander or Scherzer pitching. Regardless of which one it ends up being, it will be a good game to watch!

Frustrated: I had my last physical therapy appointment this week and I'm still not running. The issue is a little bigger than originally diagnosed  I see my doctor on Monday and based on the recommendation of my physical therapist have a few tests and possibly a referral to an orthopedic surgeon on my near future.

Missing: It is tough saying good-bye to a friend especially when things were left unsaid. I want nothing more than to send him an email but what needs to be said needs to be said face-to-face. Let's just say, I feel as though I've missed my chance and will most likely forever be referring to him as "the one who got away".

07 May 2013

Spring Has Sprung

I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen, but spring has finally arrived in Northern Michigan!

This past weekend I started getting my gardens ready for summer planting. As soon as I can convince my dad to let me borrow some of his garden equipment (he is a big time flower gardener) I'll start getting my vegetable garden ready.

In the mean time, I've been enjoying some of the flowers that have already started to come out in the flower gardens. It was a long, cold, dreary winter so it's been nice to see some color back in our world.

Sadie likes to sit in the front yard and supervise the kids skateboarding in the parking lot across the street.

06 May 2013

Music Monday: Gravity

Another song that I resonating with me a lot.

Oh twice as much ain't twice as good 
And can't sustain like a one half could 
It's wanting more 
That's gonna send me to my knees.........

05 May 2013

Sunday Confessions

National What Month?!: I do not think it is a coincidence that not only is  May National Mental Health Month, but it is also National Masturbation Month. Anyway to get those serotonin levels up, right? Right!

Glitter: The submission I wrote for Glitter kind of fits this months theme. Have you bought your copy yet?

Still Bitchin' About It: I know. There has been a lot of moaning and groaning (ha! pun not really intended based on the two previous items) about my not being able to run but it's getting to be extremely frustrating. And mostly because people keep telling me "Well, not everyone was meant to run. There are other things you could do instead". I get it but my trying to get back into being able to run isn't really about the running. It's also about proving to myself that I can do something other obviously think I can't. And while their reassurances that it "ok" to not run could in fact be based on this nagging injury, it' still annoying and not at all helpful. 

Dreams: O.k......I know when you have a dream about someone, the isn't necessarily about that person but what they represent. But honestly, for once, can't my subconscious throw me a bit of a bone and actually dream about something (or someone) that could actually happen?!

04 May 2013

Running with the Devil

I am so frustrated I could scream right now.

I am really starting to wonder if I will ever be able to run again. Over dramatic  yes? But I'm frustrated. Really, really frustrated.

Yesterday saw one of my last sessions of physical therapy. I still go through next week, but he said when I left yesterday those two sessions will be focusing on exercise I can do at home rather than the ultrasound treatments I've been receiving and him stretching out my leg/hip. He also gave me the o.k. to try and increase my activity level to see how my hip handled it.

This morning, I put on my new running shoes and headed out for a walk with a little 60 second run. It didn't go well. The walking was fine. The walking has been fine for two week. Yes, there is some discomfort but it's ususally worked itself out a few minutes into the walk and then I'm good to go. Today was the same--a little twinge at the beginning, but was fine after a few minutes. I decided to see how it went if I added a little running to the walk. I was just going to run for a minute at a time, give myself and my hip a chance to re-acclimate itself to the whole process. Acclimate it did not. My hip wasn't having any of it and started to hurt immediately. This time, I didn't try to be a hero and "run through the pain", I stopped and walked the rest of my route and have been nursing an aching hip ever since.

Thankfully I have the last two sessions with my physical therapist and am hoping the exercises he give me to try at home work. And in a week, I have a follow-up with my doctor to see how things are going and to discus my "future running plans".

Anyone else have a nagging, recurring injury that is keeping them from running?

03 May 2013

Just Gettin' By

Big time disclaimer on this one! I was never a big fan of talking about "triggers" until I finally, FINALLY, worked out for myself what words, topics, actions, activities could in fact trigger my depression and anxiety and I would hate for this post to do the same to others. Even as I sit here, proof-reading what I've written for today, I have to remind myself that I am o.k. and I would never want someone reading something on my blog to have to worry about that as well. 

Did ya'll know that May is Mental Health Month?

Mental health advocacy is something that is extremely important to me. I know I have talked about it a bit here on the blog but haven't really dove into it for a number of reasons, mainly being the fact that it is becoming increasingly harder to talk about. I've been accused of being extremely detached or cold when friends, family, acquaintances try to talk about to me about (heavy) things but I have to be. It's a coping mechanism. I "allowed" myself to let it in, allowed myself to always feel something when someone needs a shoulder to cry on, it would break me. And trying to explain to someone that you are protecting yourself rather than them in their time of need, is a really difficult thing.

I was first "officially" diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was twelve, although I remember having my first panic and anxiety attacks as well of thoughts of self harm and suicide when I was much younger. Through my teens and into young adulthood I struggled with those same thoughts, but on a much scarier level. Even now, as a thirtysomething who has (mostly) come to identify her triggers, worked out a plan that brings me back from the edge when I need it, it is still a daily struggle.

There are days when it takes all my strength to get myself just to roll out of bed. I fight anxiety and panic attacks almost daily. I am constantly fighting against the voices in my head telling me I am worthless, unlovable and that everyone would be better off without me. And unfortunately I still, without really knowing how I got there, will find myself on the bathroom floor, sobbing uncontrollably fighting the urge to do something to myself.

These feelings don't just "go away" because my therapist thinks I'm doing wonderfully or because my doctor has given me the o.k. to reduce my meds to see how I do without them. Despite being told by friends and family, "You are the one choosing to be happy or sad" or "It's your choice if you are depressed", I don't get to wake up in the morning and say to myself "Today, I'm not going to be depressed anymore!" and have it all go away. There isn't a switch that gets turned on and off on a whim. This is something that will linger for the rest of my life and something that I will have to live and work through for many many years to come.

A few weeks ago, Jes shared on her blog the things she is able to do when Shit Days Happen which was a post that couldn't have been shared at a more perfect time for me. As I said the other day, things have been a little rough around here. I've found myself dealing with with some intense anxiety attacks and depression even if I didn't realize that is what it truly was until last weekend.

Reading Jes' post reminded me that I too had a list of things that I could do to help pull me away from the edge. I don't remember writing the list (I'm sure it's an exercise I had been given at some point from a therapist) but it's been with me for a long time. And even though some of the things on "the list" are no-brainers, sometimes when you're that close to the edge, you need a little reminder, a nudge back to the person you really are.

I thought, in the spirit of sharing and help and for Mental Health Month that I too would share my list. These are the things, as simple as they may seem, that I have come to rely on when I need a little extra help from myself:

  • Write: Sometimes you have to get the funk out. Talking doesn't always work for me, so putting the thoughts down in a journal or on paper (and burning the paper at a later day) is one of the best ways to cleanse myself.
  • Listen to music: I tend to listen to music that fits my mood when I'm struggling. I think it goes back to the whole idea that songs can give voices to emotions we are otherwise unable to express.
  • Run or go for a walk: Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is so important for me. Even sitting under a tree and listening to the sounds around me can put me at ease. Side note: I am sure on of my previous therapists would be doing cartwheels if she read this. I don't know why, but I fought against doing this for years, but now that I am older and wise have come to realize that of all the things on the list, this has been the most helpful thing that I am able to do for myself. 
  • Meditate: See above.
  • Create something: Focusing on art or making something (I tend to bake, a lot, when I'm stressed) refocuses me enough to be able to start to put things in perspective. 
The list isn't terribly long or involved, but those five things, sometimes on their own or combined, are enough to calm my bad days. They don't fix them, but they help me deal with them.

How do you handle/cope with bad days?

Thanks for reading!

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