Burning down the House (Daily Prompt)

WordPress Daily prompt: Burning Down the House – Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

At first, I thought this prompt would be easy.  People and animals are safe, so I only have to worry about things.  Thoughts quickly raced through my head – my laptop (has all of my writing and pictures), phone (has all of my music and contacts), typewriter (because I love my Remy), writing desk (because it’s a fabulous wooden desk with claw feet!  claw feet!), and hmmm I’d have to decide what book…

But then I thought about it more (I am an over-thinker) and really, what is worth risking the flames to save?  What things do I have that are truly irreplaceable?

Passports, licenses, and credit cards are replaceable.  And while you might want to take them to save you from all that paperwork, I’m going to replace them in a few weeks when I change back to my maiden name.  My diploma could burn – the university could ship me another copy and I can buy another frame.  Besides, I carry my education with me where ever I go.

So fire, these can serve as your breakfast.

With iClouds and backups, most of my writing and pictures would be safe.  The same could be said of all of my music, contacts, and many of my books.

Fire, you can eat my electronics for lunch.

And jewelry?  When I was married, I’d say my wedding and engagement rings.  But now that I’m getting a divorce, I’d gladly leave those behind.  I’ve been meaning to get rid of them anyway…

So by all means fire, have these for your dinner.

As someone who had her life go up in smoke last year, I can tell you this – you’d be surprised what you can live without and what is truly irreplaceable…and more, you’d be surprised what better things you’ll find after the flames have feasted on what you thought was important.

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Coffee Confessional

Office Worker Confessions #2 – Coffee

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I don’t know how to make coffee……on purpose.

Why?  Well, first of all – I don’t drink it, so why would I learn how to make it?  I’m weird and grew up in New England, so I only drink tea (mmmmmm chai lattes are awesome).

But also in honor of all of the women in the workforce who have fetched or made coffee in the last, oh 100 years or so.  Also known as….

…feminist bad-assery. 😉  Happy Monday, office workers!

Banned Review “The Things They Carried”

Book Review:  “They Things They Carried”

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You can probably tell from my blog, but I don’t usually read the more serious books.  The type of books I usually read – romance, mysteries, thrillers – are like cotton candy for my brain.  They may not be nutritious, but I can’t stop myself from gobbling them up.

It is for this very reason that I decided to go outside the norm for my second book in the Banned Books Challenge and read “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien.  I wanted something raw and real, something to make me think, and I found it in the short stories of war within “The Things They Carried.”

I’d imagine that “The Things They Carried” was probably banned for language or descriptions of death and war.  I’d imagine that it may have offended some people – the grit, the terror, the truth in the fictionalized accounts of Tim O’Brien’s own Vietnam experiences.  But books like this should never be banned – even if you’re offended by these stories or if you’re a person who doesn’t understand why stories like these should be read.  Books should never be banned because the subject matter makes you feel uncomfortable.  Voices should never be silenced.  Books like “The Things They Carried” are more than educational for those of us who never see war…for those who have, they can be a form of therapy and a way to no longer feel alone or forgotten.

Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a life-time ago, and yet the remembering makes it now. And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for.  Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” – “The Things They Carried,” by Tim O’Brien

If you haven’t read “The Things They Carried,” I strongly recommend it.  Five out of five stars.

And make sure you check out the banned books challenge for 2015, because books should never be banned.

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Review – American Horror Story (Season 2)

TV Review – American Horror Story (Season 2, Asylum)

518sndmfCEL._AA160_American Horror Story Season 2, Asylum, was…interesting.  In its first season, American Horror Story had a fairly simple premise – a haunted house.  The second season takes place in an asylum with A LOT going on.  We have an aspiring journalist, troubled Nun, serial killer, a copycat serial killer, wrongfully accused man, demonic possession, angel of death, weird scientific experiments/zombie people, a Nazi, and aliens/alien abduction/alien pregnancy.  I shit you not, I got to episode two or three and was wondering if bigfoot was going to make a cameo.

But I stuck with it and the episodes got better.  I was fairly pleased with the way everything ended, though not clear on why the alien story arc was necessary.  Maybe the writers included the aliens as a bit of a benevolent force to balance out the devil and serial killer story arcs?  I’m still not sure.

American Horror Story Season 2 gets 3.5 out of 5 stars, not terrible but certainly not as good as Season 1.  I’ve heard that all of the seasons are supposed to be linked, so maybe that was why there was so much going on in Season 2.  I’m still excited for  Season 3, the Coven…especially since the first episode is called bitchcraft.  lol.

Banned Review “A light in the attic”

Banned Book Review:  “A Light in the Attic,” by Shel Silverstein a-light-in-the-attic

In honor of the many children’s books that have made ALA’s most challenged books list, I decided to start my banned books challenge with one of my favorite authors growing up – Shel Silverstein and his “A Light in the Attic.” When I was a kid, Shel Silverstein introduced me to poetry through “A light in the Attic” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”  I can remember giggling over the rhyming lines and funny sketches in books borrowed from my local library.  I would even come up with rhymes of my own, entertaining myself (and most likely annoying my older sister and parents) with my early endeavors as a writer.  :p

According to Wikipedia, the motives for banning this book range from promoting disobedience among children to describing death.  To this I say, some people need to lighten up. I give this book five out of five stars – strongly recommended for children and those of us who enjoy nostalgic reading that pulls our heart-strings with the serious poems that Silverstein weaves in with the silly.

I especially enjoyed the poem he ends this book with:

This Bridge

This bridge will only take you halfway there To those mysterious lands you long to see: Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fairs And moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share The twisting trails and wondrous worlds I’ve known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there – The last few steps you’ll have to take alone.

-Shel Silverstein

If you haven’t already, check out the banned books challenge for 2015, because books should never be banned.

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Life and the power of words

IMG_1896I guess I’ve always loved a good story – hearing them, laughing with the storyteller, and telling them (especially the funny ones).  I’ve gone through long stretches of my life when I didn’t write much of anything – when I would struggle to finish a scene and like many writers, I have several abandoned projects.

I’ve aways viewed writing as more than just putting words on a page.  It’s been my outlet, my way to connect with people, and a way to think through my problems.  I’ve scribbled in journals throughout the hard times in my life – when I was in middle school and dealing with the suicide of a friend, when my grandmother died, and when my heart was broken (many times).  And writing was there in the good times too –  when I wanted to be silly and write jokes, babblings, pithy dialogue, or a steamy sex scene.

And now – I turn back to my old friend, the blank page.  I put a pen in my hand and let it all come out.  Strange thing is, this time around, I’m a little unsure of what to write….

What should I dwell on?  What should I write?

                   of disappointment?

                                    lies?

                                               heartbreak?

or something more hopeful?

                         new dreams

                                       new hopes

                                                     a new life.

Maybe a little of both will help the healing process, since we can’t ignore the past….but should always look to the future.

How about you? Do you keep a journal?  Do you use writing as therapy?

Banned Books Challenge

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This year, I’ll be participating in the Banned Books Challenge.  Why?  Because books should never be banned!

“No harm ever came from reading a book….”

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heeheehee  (side note: that has to be one of my favorite lines from The Mummy.)  Now don’t be silly, that was just a movie.  Besides, that was more about reading books out-loud, which let’s face it, is super annoying. :p

But seriously, books should never be banned.  Books have a beautiful power – to inform you, educate you, entertain you, open your mind/eyes/heart, transport you to new worlds, and show you what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.  No one, other than you, should be allowed to tell you what you can or cannot read.  And it is for this reason, that I’ll be participating in the 2015 Banned Books Challenge.

So, what do you say, do you want to read some banned books with me?  You can sign up for the banned books challenge or check out the ALA’s site on frequently challenged books, but only if you’re brave enough. 😉

Why do we educate our daughters?

Conversations in Transit Series – Post #2

I travel a lot and I’ve found that the conversations you have (or remember) in the air and on the road are sometimes the deepest and the most entertaining… Many of these stories have some basis in reality, but they are definitely fiction, as creative license has been liberally applied.  If you like this one, check out my first conversation in transit post, “To Dallas I Go.”

Why do we educate our daughters?

I shift in my seat and turn on the car, her words from years ago become a roaring echo in my mind.

      *                         *                            *                            *

“Why do we educate our daughters?”

I was at the kitchen table and labored with math problems that I believed, hated me as much as I hated them.  My answer to her question was a growl of frustration.

She slammed a hand decorated in soap bubbles against the sink and whirled around.  The noise brought my eyes up to hers.

“Why do we educate our daughters?” She pointed her soapy finger at me.

My mouth hung open, still wired for the braces that wouldn’t be removed until the end of high school, “ummmm so they can go to college?”

      *                         *                            *                            *

My hands tighten on the steering wheel of the car, loaded with only the things I could pack in the quick minutes after my life changed forever.

“Why do we educate our daughters?” I say the words and my dog lifts her head to look at me through the plastic bars of her crate.

“Why do we educate our daughters?” I repeat the words as she once did and for the first time in my life, I can appreciate a damn good reason.

Locke & Key – Volume 2 Review

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Graphic Novel Review: Locke & Key, Volume 2, Head Games:  By Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (And yes, that’s “head games” like the Foreigner song of the same name, so cue the music..)

Ty, Kinsey, and Bode continue to settle into their new lives in Lovecraft, Massachusetts.  And they are beginning to realize that the Keyhouse, the old house where their father and uncle grew up, is a place with hidden secrets and magic keys.

In Head Games, Bode finds the head key, which opens your mind (literally) and allows you to put in or take out whatever you want.  Ty uses the head key for studying (this would have been so convenient in college).  Kinsey uses it to get rid of her fear monster and the part of her that cries.  Side note: this part of the graphic novel really stuck with me – especially when Kinsey’s fear monster starts talking and a lot of what it says sounds like the normal and terrible fears of a teenage girl.  Of course, taking out the part of your brain that’s responsible for fear would be intensely freeing – Kinsey is euphoric and empowered afterwards… But we also know that it will be a recipe for disaster…

5 out of 5 stars for Volume 2.  Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, you guys are officially deepening my level of nerd to graphic novel reader….and I love it.  😉

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the review for Locke & Key Volume 1.

Review – American Horror Story (Season 1)

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Television Series Review – American Horror Story (Season 1)

Don’t you just love the ability to binge watch a series?  Oh Netflix, how I love thee, I shall compose a sonnet in your honor.

Anyway, I have recently rediscovered my love of the horror genre.  Only issue?  Well….sometimes horror tends to be campy and overly gory.  I’m sure even die-hard fans would agree, a certain amount is expected, but unless you’re planning on mystery science theater-ing, over-the-top gore and campiness is an eye-rolling offense.

It was with this in mind that I embarked on my foray back into the horror genre.  First up was Season One of American Horror Story.  I’d heard that the series was good, but sometimes out of stubborn-ness, I can be one of the last to show up at the pop culture party.

So, I finally arrived at this pop culture party in December 2014 and..wow, the series over-delivered on my expectations.  I watched the season over the course of 4 days (don’t judge, two of those days were the weekend), with breaking only to walk the dog (at night, this routine became rife with creepy shadows and sounds), sleep (where I’d try to work through the show’s mysteries), and work (boo, work! Why must you thwart me from living in the land of books, movies, and tv shows?).  Instead of suffering the flaws of the horror genre (of too much gore and camp), this series weaves in mystery with its horrific acts.  I love chewing on a good mystery, and Season One of American Horror Story gave me a lot to work out…and as some bits were revealed, more questions sprang up, keeping my interest piqued throughout the season.  There are some aspects of the story that I still think about, even weeks after finishing the season (mostly about how one seemingly redeeming character completely surprised me with the level of their treachery).  It was amazing: 5 out of 5 stars.

Season Summary:

The Harmon family moves across the country to LA after infidelity and a miscarriage rock their foundations. They buy a beautiful Victorian home for a song, but what they don’t know is that it is the notorious murder house, with many of its inhabitants still lurking in the shadows… (cue the creepy ghost noises)