Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful

I read this memoir because I listened to the author on a podcast. At this point I can’t even remember which podcast but I loved the author and immediately put it on hold at the library.

The book is the story of her brothers struggle with heroin and the year following his death. She finds out about the addiction 3 days before her wedding! Its tragic, heartbreaking, funny, light, and covers all human emotion in one story.

She takes you on a journey through being there for her brother and what his addiction looked like to her and her family while she’s dealing with things of her own. It also follows the year after his death. She elegantly takes you through the stages of grief without actually calling them out and you feel the weight of her grief all the way to the end.

We recently had a loss in our family and I was instantly drawn to the say she describes the final stage of acceptance. It’s not accepting that the person has passed or that they are gone forever. Its accepting that the grief you are carrying is the new normal. You learn to want to live again and to not let it drown you but essentially its accepting your new normal in this world without them. You learn that when something happens that you want to tell them about, to smile at their memory and the fact that they would have enjoyed it.

She made you laugh through the book and made you feel like you knew him. I think he was amazing and I never even watched his shows. He said something that she loved and I am equally drawn to it. He said “we are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out”. I think that’s the exact quote but I’m sorry if I got it a bit wrong.

But isn’t that the best quote ever? Doesn’t it describe everything in life? We are all horrible and wonderful. Life is horrible and wonderful and we’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.

We go through season and in every season things are horrible and wonderful. Even when things seem absolutely horrible (let’s be honest they do sometimes) there is something wonderful in that. Either in knowing that it can only get better from there or crying your eyes out only to have your 4-year-old ask you if you think she can fly if she jumped off the tall side of the couch. “No sweetie save the stunts for gymnastics please”.

Life is full of moments like that. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who know how to make me laugh when I’m crying. Whether its bringing up blasts from the pasts or jumping in with stories of their misery that are comical when it’s not happening to you. Thanks guys! I’d say misery loves company but I know you’re doing it to make me smile. Mostly to stop the ugly face crying I’m sure.

Ending on a happy note Rylan tried on flower girl dresses for us and holy moly! I wasn’t sure how she was going to be (let’s be honest she has a stubborn mind of her own). But she was brilliant! I brought in 3 dresses and the first one she came out like Cinderella and was turning and spinning and LOVING the attention! So much so that now whenever she puts on anything she likes me to go into another room so she can make an entrance and I can cheer. This happened last night when she put on PJ’s. She walked into the living room and did turns while we cheered and clapped. As I write this I’m a bit concerned we are raising a narcissist.

Eh screw it. One day people won’t do that. The time is now!

Bookish Community

It’s no secret that I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of the book club community. I’ve jumped in head first and drank the Kool-Aid. How ever  you want to say it, I’m obsessed.

It never occurred to me before to keep track of the books I’ve read or even count the number of books I’ve read in a month or year. I’m on book number 11 of this year which shocks me. I’ve kept track of the ones I’ve read along with a short review which is going to be so helpful because I often forget which ones I’ve read until I’m a few chapters in and have wasted my time.

So not only am I the person who journals, I’m now the person who book journals! Yup I can feel my husbands eyes rolling from across town right now. He’s doesn’t care. I do it in the morning when he’s at work. He can complain when I start putting on audio books for him to hear. Which is coming soon I’m going to find a good sports one and he’ll be sucked in and love audio books. Even I don’t believe that but its good to put good energy like that out in the world!

I’ve always loved the idea of Jane Austen. I want to have read her everything she’s written. Turns out I can’t. I tried reading Emma and it’s just so hard! I feel stupid. I wouldn’t even be admitting this if I hadn’t found a way around it! Jane Austen on Audio book!!! Someone on the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club suggested that I listen to it if I was having a hard time reading it. I wish I could find the thread so I could thank her! Maybe even buy her a thank you audio book. That’s how much it changed the book for me.

I finished The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty on audio book and loved it. I have a big crazy family and yet still love reading about other big crazy families. The family story mixed with a murder mystery was so enjoyable. I appreciated the message that all families have secrets and not everything is as it seems. The postpartum story in there threw me for a bit of a loop and I empathized with her much more than I would have thought. I give it 4 stars and highly recommend it.

Also still working on The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Really enjoying it but the book is from the library and is shaped weird. So I’m having a hard time reading at night and its uncomfortable to carry around. I’m blaming my slow reading of it on all of that. I am enjoying it. The story of 4 women who escape to a Villa in Italy is right up my alley and only fueling my wonderlust. Time to book a trip.

Because I can’t be anywhere without a book and the other one is weird shaped I am also reading Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful by Stephanie Wittels Wachs. The story of her brother’s death and heroin addiction. Not something I would normally read but I’m branching out. Thanks to this new bookish community. (I’m not even sure I’m using the term “bookish” correctly. Someone help if you know!) It’s encouraging me to expand my reading material and I happened to have listened to the author on a podcast and it sounded like something I could get into. I’m flying through it. Never thought I’d be so caught up in someone elses grief. I can’t put it down. I read this one till midnight last night.

So that’s my week of reading so far. Oh I bought stationary so if anyone is looking for a kinda crazy pen pal let me know! I’m ready!

3 SERIES 1 ME

I’m currently in the middle of reading 3 different series.

I’ve read the first two books in the Everything We Keep series.

I’ve read the first book in the To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before Series.

I’m currently on book 4 of the Red Queen Series. You can tell which one kept my attention the longest. Actually that’s not true. The Red Queen series was just the most easily accessible from the library. I’ve had to search or wait for the other ones. I wonder where Rylan gets her impatience.

I’m not as much of a young adult fan as this list suggests but I’m enjoying the Red Queen (now on War Storm) much more than I thought I would. It’s very Hunger Games, Divergent, mixed with some fantasy aspects. I like it.

I like that after the first story she bounces around from different characters point of view. It adds some depth that I appreciate especially in a series. I’m not sick of the characters the way you sometimes get when you read 3-4 books with the same persons voice.

The anyone can betray anyone line carries over from the first book and its such a powerful statement, I have clung to it reading the books. I’ve read them all on my kindle and started one right after the other so honestly I couldn’t separate one book from the other! Its one gigantic book to me right now.

My biggest problem with it is that it makes me want to run. I really love the way she describes her love of running and it makes me want to get back into it. Also makes me want to train to fight to the death. All good things to help get me in shape right? Except I don’t want to stop reading to go do all the work out things its inspiring me to do. Book nerd problems.

The Everything We Keep series is really good as well. She finds herself on her wedding day at her fiance funeral instead. It goes through her trying to heal while getting messages that her fiancé is alive and in Mexico. I like the emotional ride of “what would I do in that situation” because I really don’t know. I kept trying to talk to Pat about it but he doesn’t care. I think there’s only been 2 books he’s ever asked follow-up questions about.

The second book is Everything We Left Behind. I actually enjoyed it even more than the first one. I can’t wait to read the 3rd book but feel like the second one wrapped everything up pretty nicely for me. I’m not sure where they are going to go from here.

To All The Boys I loved Before is very young adult. It really took me back to my high school days and how everything felt so monumental and each “relationship” was the beginning or end of the world. It was a fun trip down memory lane but I’m not sure I have the need to finish the series. It was a nice easy beach read but when I look at my list of book I want to read the rest of the series falls pretty low on the list.

***GOOD NEWS***

We got our generator in so if we lose power again, we won’t lose power! Also there’s another snow storm on its way. Pretty sick to death of the snow but super happy it rained all night and this morning its almost dark out and still pouring down rain.

It went from feeling like a shower to now its turned my back yard into a swamp. Guess what? I don’t care. I love this rain and the sound of it on our house. The 30 mile an hour wind I could do without. Waking up to see our front porch furniture on the other side of the house attacking Rylans playset was not fun. Then again I just left it there so it didn’t really matter… Don’t drive by my house right now its not pretty. But I’m inside cozy with my reading list so we’ll worry about it later!

 

 

 

 

BOOKS & RAIN

I’ve always referred to myself as a closet nerd. I don’t think I can do that anymore. I’m just an all out proud nerd. I don’t leave the house without a book. Ever. Even if its just my kindle (fully loaded with at least 3 books). I alternate between reading on the kindle and real books and am hard core obsessed with the library. I love that Rylan is too and is becoming more self sufficient there. The day we both sit and read together all day is going to be a huge life right of passage for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started book clubs. At least 5 times. 5 different failed attempts at connecting with people over books. I’ve also recently took a crack at starting a bible study and here’s what I’ve realized…. I’m not good at getting people together. I’m good at the idea of it but highly underestimate how hard it is to get any number of people together. I should know this by how little I see my closest friends!

Anyway I’ve stumbled across an app that runs this bible study for me. Its First 5 and its 5 min studies and I do it every morning. I try and post my thoughts and answers to the questions. Its the first 5-10 min of my day and feels amazing. I’m truly overwhelmed and grateful  for all of those who joined.

I thought it was a lost cause with the bible study. I thought I had to settle for being on my own reading and finding podcasts who talk about the book or interview the author. Left to share books and thoughts with friends in passing but never really getting into it. The closest I’ve come is my friend Heather who we frequently Marco Polo about books and my co-worker Terry who I often force to read books I’ve recently read so I have someone to talk to. Poor thing works with me by herself Fridays and has no where to go. Luckily we have the same taste in books. If I could just get her into a little sci fi…. I wonder if I could steal her kindle…

Sorry I’m back! I discovered through the recommendation on Instagram the podcast “what should I read next”… which lead me to the website Modern Mrs. Darcy . An online book club that has the connection and everything that I’m looking for! I’m in love with 3 episodes of the podcast I’ve listened to and have added at least 8 books to my reading list. I’m not sure if this is amazing or terrifying but I have a tingling feeling of excitement.

We’ve gotten more snow in the last few weeks than in the last two years or more (I’m bad with time. I say yesterday and I really mean 2 years ago). Thank goodness for real books cause our power keeps going on and off. When its not snowing its been raining which is heaven!

I’m on the last book of the Red Queen series and am really in a blissful state right now. Its been raining hard, I have a great book, I have a book club to look forward to, and a great podcast to hold me over till March when the next one starts. I can’t start in the middle of the month. I’m weird like that. I’ve also got some audio books going to keep my house super clean!

Sending happy thoughts to all my fellow rain and book lovers. You are truly my people! I’d ask for book suggestions but my list is so long I’m starting to get nervous.

 

 

 

Control Freak

I’ve recently discovered the library! I know I’m way behind the times but I started taking Rylan a few months ago and we fell in love. I came home with two books for me and two for Rylan and told Pat “guess what babe? I can read for FREE!!! Do you know how much money I’m saving on books?!” Which was stupid of me because his next question was “how much were you spending on books?”  Answer: trust me dahling you don’t want to know!

Anyway both Rylan and I love going on Tuesdays. Not during the kid play time though cause we aren’t ready to be that social. Although I’m going to start making her go. That lady tells stories way better than I do.

We go and she finds book and toys and I start a new book. I thought I was a slow reader, and I kind of am. But having a deadline to get the book back has made me realize I average a book every week, week and a half.

I’m currently reading a book and it mentioned that we are not actually scared of heights. We are scared that we will willingly jump.

Well that made me think… is that really true? I want to know more about this. Since I read that we’ve driven over Sonora Pass and as I looked over some of the cliffs I thought of that statement. Being scared of losing control and just willingly jump. To be clear I was thinking about the statement… I do not want to jump.

I’d bungee jump… maybe even sky dive. Its not the jumping that would scare me its the hitting the ground and dying that’s scary. But I guess I understand the statement. Its that fear of loss of control. That fear that you could lose it and just jump.

I think a lot of our fear and actions come from fear of not being in control. I like order. I like to know what’s coming and what to expect. I like to know that if I plan ahead I know how things will go. But you can’t control everything.

I can’t control my toddler. That’s been made clear every day of the last 4 years. I can control certain things but overall she’s her own person with her own attitude and thoughts and ideas about how she does things. “I can do it mama” is said more than 10 times daily in my house. Yes baby I know you can, but we need it done before tomorrow.

I think New Years resolutions are stupid. Why do you have to wait for a certain date to make a change? Listen to Tony Robbins and make the change right when you decide to! In the middle of the day, or week, or year. Just do it!

So while I hate resolutions I do want to focus this year on not being in control. Just letting go and let whatever happens happen. What’s coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does.

I’ve already started this considering in the last 4 months we’ve been changing careers like 5 times! In one month we went from putting in applications to houses in San Jose to Pleasanton to buying a gas station and staying in Sonora.

Final decision by the way is staying in town and taking over the Chevron. Joining the family business and welcoming my husband to the life I’ve had all growing up in the gas station world. Welcome honey I hope you like it!

I wont lie taking over the gas station and joining the family business feels a little like looking over the edge and jumping. In a wonderful way. That fear mixed with excitement and the unknown. The best part is we have this amazing support system of family and friends that feels like a giant net to catch us. Tony Robbins says to learn from the best if you want to be the best and that’s exactly what we are doing. Learning from my grandparents, parents, and Aunt/Uncle. They are the best in the business and we are so fortunate to learn from them and have their support.

So CHEERS to jumping into 2019. wow that was too cheesy even for me! Sorry guys.

 

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish

I’m not sure I have words for how intense this book was for me!

I don’t even like suspense that much anymore. I think the best I can compare it to is how I felt reading Gone Girl. Amazed that someone’s mind can work that way.

I’m kind of jealous of it. That someone is that creative and cunning but at the same time I’m terrified of it. Just like after watching the first Saw movie. (I only say the first one and watched it through my fingers and cried..not my genre AT ALL). I was horrified that someone’s mind created that. While these actions weren’t real they really came from a real person. I find it hard to sleep when I put too much thought into that.

Same way with The Last Mrs. Parrish. Because while it wasn’t a cold blooded murder book, it was a thought provoking, mind twisting, suspenseful book that left me questioning every person I’ve ever met.

Also wondering if something like this were happening to me how would I survive? Would I be so paralyzed in fear and disbelief that I wouldn’t be able to do anything? Would my survival instincts kick in and make my brain think crazy thoughts to get me out?

I’d like to think instincts would kick in but the whole time I was reading my only thought was “Oh my goodness I would just die”.  That can’t be good.

I’m sure factoring kids would change that. Obviously I’d do anything for Rylan. That’s a powerful instinct so I’m sure we’d manage but holy moly was I impressed with this whole book.

I highly recommend it and look forward to any conversations about the craziness that is this book! Now I need to go find something happy and cheery and super Romantic Comedy to bring me back to a normal state where I can trust everyone again! Suggestions?

Memes courtesy of Instagram #randomhousememes

TIME FOR TV

Let talk TV! I don’t ever do this because rarely do I watch enough tv to give my opinion. Plus I’m not emotionally stable to watch ay of the super popular shows like This Is Us or whatever. Parenthood almost ruined me!

Can’t watch the crime shows either! Pat and I used to watch it all the time. The CSI’s the Bones and his favorite NCIS. You know, all the Initial shows. Those are fine till you have kid then everything seems real and you just want to throw up while watching it. I can’t even get through the opening scene without tears in my eyes. Nothing happens but I know that the people I just got instantly attached to are going to die and I”ll be devastated.

We aren’t big movie people now that we have Rylan either. Surprisingly I can handle the cartoons she likes! Well most of them anyway. I like Zootopia and the Ice Ages ones. Masha The Bear makes me want to scream! No wonder Masha lives with a bear I’m sure her parents put a lot of thought into a “camping trip”.

Between life and Rylans shows that leaves little time for Pat and I to have our own tv quality time. We start a series but if we miss too many and the DVR starts to build up I get stressed out and give up. I delete it and months later when Pat asks what happened to that one show we liked I explain every time that we were never going to catch up and to let it go.  So we really only have time for our own separate shows that you can watch whenever you have time and are alone.

I love the house wives. Not all of them because I don’t have that kind of time and to be honest some of them are too much even for me. That’s saying something. I like Beverly Hills and Orange County… I’ll catch up on Dallas when I have nothing else in the world going on.

But my new favorite show is on Amazon Prime. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s the best thing to happen to TV since Friends or How I Met Your mother. Both of which I could watch on repeat 24/7 and never get bored. Thats how highly I’m praising this show just 7 episodes in.

I’m not sure if it’s because I love the time period or the clothes or the fact that she is just down right hilarious but its a must watch for sure! She’s a strong independent woman and that’s how I justify having it on while Rylans awake running through the house. Good role model right? No Rylan doesn’t get to watch it. But I’m obsessed.

She totally makes me want to rock red lipstick but I know I couldn’t pull it off like that. All the same I try from time to time and feel like an actress in her time period. I need the clothes to match. Hats! Oh she rocks the crap out of some hats! Seriously it’s so funny and I think its my new favorite thing. Three days and we’ve gone through 7 episodes! Yup staying up late to make time for it!

So right now that’s the obsession! If anyone has any books that resemble this that you think I’d like I would LOVE to read them.

I need another book club book and am in a super big funk. Signed up for Kindle Unlimited and nothing sounds good. Its like being hungry but nothing sounds good so you just sit there hungry than crabby. That’s where I’m at right now. Any help is appreciated.