Wednesday, December 11, 2013

let it snow

Thanks, Google, for adding the snow to my photo. It actually makes it look kind of magical, which is exactly what I needed today.

Monday, November 18, 2013

book review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

__WARNING: Spoilers below__


All I can say after finishing this book is wow. 

I wasn't sure what to expect, other than that everyone else who'd read it seemed to really love it, and now that I've finished it, I can see why. The book is told totally from Reena's (short for Serena) perspective, but it alternates from "Before," when she was in high school, before Sawyer leaves, and "After," which is after Sawyer returns. 

As first person viewpoints go, Reena is a delight to read. Witty, sarcastic, insecure, and guarded, she reminds me a little of how I used to be at sixteen. The "Before," Reena has been best friends with Allie forever, and you get such a peek into how their relationship works that it feels like you're losing your own best friend as they drift apart. And of course, at the middle of it all is a boy - Sawyer. Allie is dating him, even though Reena has been in love with him for a really long time (not that she'd admit it). 

Allie  dies rather suddenly, and it feels like Sawyer and Reena are kind of thrown together in the aftermath of Allie's passing. As a mother of three girls, I wanted to strangle Sawyer for treating Allie the way he did throughout their "Before" relationship, and I wanted to smack some sense into Allie. She's a very smart girl who makes all A's and even makes it into Northwestern, but her decisions prove that even smart girls can continually screw up and make bad decisions. 

When the "after" started, I wanted to kick Reena. It was totally predictable that she was going to break things off with her boyfriend Aaron, but I still hated her a little bit when the moment happened. Sawyer left her alone for years with no word and not a care in the world as to what had happened to her, and while I know he was struggling with his own drug issues and his demons, I thought that she let him off the hook way too easily. A little bit of (well-deserved) snark aimed in his direction was just not enough.

Of course there were tons of things I didn't like - Sawyer was the main thing. I didn't like him at all, even in the "After" when he was trying to repair things with Reena and become a father to Hannah. Apparently I am as unforgiving as everyone in the story thought Reena should have been. I didn't like that a smart girl like Reena, who could clearly see what was happening with her boyfriend, went against the family she loved and her better judgement, skipped school, etc. and basically screwed up her whole future just to be with some boy that she fancied herself in love with (because we're never told why she loved Sawyer for so long, other than that he was physically attractive. It couldn't be because of his sparkling, effervescent personality). I did like that she seemed to be a good mother when she was with Hannah, but at the same time, she felt really disconnected from her, too. It almost felt like she was more of an aunt, until we read her thoughts while she's pregnant. It's not until then that you feel the love she really has for her baby.

The things I did like: Reena's tough "keep-it-all-inside" personality, a stepmother who isn't a "stepmonster," and Shelby. Most of all, I liked Shelby. There wasn't enough of her in this book, and she's the reason for every laugh I actually had out loud. Every girl should have a friend like Shelby - fiercely loyal and someone who loves you unconditionally.

Overall, I kind of adored this book. It was well written and an easy read, even though I found myself having to stop a few times to wipe the tears away (what can I say? I'm a sap). I would recommend this book to anyone who likes teen romances with a healthy dollop of angst thrown in - and anyone who enjoys the works of Sarah Dessen and Colleen Hoover. This was a great debut from Ms. Cotugno, and it's enough that I know I will definitely pick up her next novel as well.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Musings and revelations

I guess it never really hit me before that the reason I take so many pictures of my children is that I don't have many of myself growing up (they exist, I just don't have them), and I can't really remember much of my childhood, so this is my way of remembering it for my children.

Seriously, huge chunks of my memory are just... not there. There's got to be a reason... not sure what it might be.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Double standards suck.

You know what I love?

People who get mad or upset with me over something, treat me like total crap for a few days while they stew about it, and then confront me in the most passive-aggressive way possible. Then they go back to treating me like everything's okay because they got to say whatever the hell they wanted to say to me... meanwhile, if I ever said a negative thing to them, they'd flip their lid.

Monday, June 3, 2013

maybe it really is true

maybe it really is true, and I can't win no matter what I do.

I'm more than just a little tired of everyone always blaming me for things that go wrong. Maybe this is my sign that I need to just stop. I make a little effort, and it doesn't matter. I make a lot of effort, and it doesn't matter.

If everyone is going to think the worst of me no matter what i do, why bother at all?

Friday, May 31, 2013

that moment when

Bopping along, having a pretty decent day, until

I started playing a new game yesterday, and I thought, "I have to tell ---- about this, she'd love it!" 

And so I pick up the phone, click it on, and start to dial...

...and hang up when I come to my senses all of a sudden.

I realize I can't call ----. 


We no longer speak.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

moments that change your perspective

You know that moment - the one where you think things are already at their lowest and can't get much worse - and then you find out: in fact, they actually can get worse.

Or maybe they were worse than you thought to begin with.

Let's just say that I am quickly approaching the point at which I am finished with the whole thing. As in, done. For good.

For weeks now, I've been having moments of hope. False hope, as it turns out. Just when I think that things might be getting a little bit better, then something bad happens to remind me that that isn't the case, and may never be the case, and it makes everything just a little bit worse.

Just when I think, "Hey, I wasn't mad today," then I find out I have a reason to be mad.

Just when I think, "That must mean that that person cares," I find out that they really don't.

Just when I think, "We've hit the absolute lowest point we're going to hit," I find out things that I didn't know before.

Murphy's Law, right?

Murphy is a bitch.

Monday, May 27, 2013

should've stayed in Iowa

Very few thoughts sting like the one above... "We should've stayed in Iowa." Because Iowa sucked. I mean, it wasn't all bad, and I took some good memories with me - really good memories made with my girls. And it's probably the most traveling I'll ever do, sadly enough. But none of the things that have happened recently would have happened if I'd stayed there.

I wouldn't know that if people talk to you, then they will talk about you, because I would've never given them that chance.

I wouldn't know how duplicitous the people I loved could be.

I would probably still have relationships that I valued in tact.

Okay, so maybe it's not all true. I'm sure that at some point, I would've realized the first point. That doesn't mean that it doesn't still sting. And the second point, I've known all my life - I just never would have expected it (not in a million years) from the source it came from recently. Some people I guess I've had on a pedestal, and even though I sometimes had issues with the way they handled things, I never dreamed they would say the nasty things they've said about me. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts to have admired and loved someone so much and then find out what they really think of you.

And I am still hanging on to it. I don't really want to because it's eating me up, but I can't seem to let go of it. I feel like I'm the only one left who even cares about it, because I was so deeply hurt by it. The other person is happy to go on their merry little way, and I haven't even bothered telling them why I am still grudge-holding. Given what they think of me, I doubt it would mean very much to them, right? I composed an email to that person, but I haven't sent it. For nearly five weeks, it's been sitting in my email drafts folder. I open it and stare at it every day. What good does it do? What good would it do? Apparently they consider the situation over, and have moved on (without me), and I can't seem to. I just sit here, stuck (for lack of a better word), wondering, and being a little gobsmacked that they care so little.

And the other individual... well, I really have no clue. I don't even know if there is anything left to salvage at all. This person seems to get off on helping destroy my relationships with others... they spout lies, and everyone believes everything they ever say. Of course, given what the other parties apparently think of me, I shouldn't be surprised... but I am. Surprised, hurt, angry... wow.

The truth is... the truth is that when I don't think about either of them, I'm happy. My family is happy. The situation causes so freaking much stress for everybody. I don't know how many times I've said that I just want the one person to apologize and admit what they did, and they refuse to. So what does that say about the person wanting to fix our "relationship?" It says a lot to me. The other person has apologized, but when they did it, they tried to shake blame off and said they only said what they had because they were upset for someone else.

The thing is.... how am I ever supposed to look at them, or step a foot inside their home, or talk to them ever again, knowing what they really think of me, and what they've thought of me ever since they've known me? I mean, jeez. I thought this person was the kindest, nicest, most inspirational person I'd ever known. I looked up to them. I thought I wanted to be like them. I had started thinking, when I got upset about things, 'what would so-and-so do?' And then to find out what that person said about me... how do you get over something like that? Seriously? I am angry. Angry, mad, ticked off - all of it. Here I thought this person was above reproach, I guess. I mean, I know that the person gets mad and sometimes says things, because we're all human and we all do that. But to say something that hurtful... and to say it to the person they said it to (which only fueled the fire, and continues to do so because they continue to talk about me)...? I mean, I can forgive. I've already forgiven them for saying it. I really wish things could go back to normal. But I can't bring myself to speak to this person, or to be anywhere near them in person. I can't. I just can't. Because I feel like even though I'm not mad about it anymore, I am still extremely hurt. And they don't seem to care whatsoever. They have no clue how I feel about it, or what I think, or the things I want to say to them... because they don't care. And it's been over a month now since it happened. Would it even do any good to send my drafted email, or would it just stir things up again? I don't know.

And this is having a profound effect on my kids. My kids know what was said. This person (and the other person, for that matter) has said things in front of my kids that has hurt them, and hasn't apologized. My kids are starting to not want to be around this person because of the things they've said about me, and because of the things they believe from the other person that are nowhere near being true. But in true form, I'm the one that's been blamed for "hijacking" those relationships. My kids are smart. They have eyes, they have ears. They see who makes the efforts to come and see them and let them know that they still care... and it's not you! I don't have to say a single thing to them. I don't even talk about you at all anymore. They know who gives a crap, because they know who comes to tell them they care.

I don't know why I'm bothering to write this post. I know the people I'm talking about will never see it. Maybe that's why. I don't know, but I'm tired of holding it all in, and in the past writing has been therapeutic for me. Maybe it's the fact that I really, really miss my mom, and I have for a while now, and it hurts to have had 3 people as mother figures and to have lost all of them. It hurts like hell to know that family can turn on you so easily. It hurts like hell to realize that someone you loved can choose sides, and just because you're the one not blood related, you lose. It hurts to find out that someone you adored has always thought so little of you. And it hurts to know that, given the chance, they immediately believe the worst of you, even when they've only heard one side of the story. It hurts to know that I can't even defend myself, because they probably wouldn't believe me, anyway. They want to believe the lies the other person told, and continues to tell. And I'm at a loss. Things are being done now that can never be taken back, not on my side but on theirs, and if they really care, how can they expect that it will just be okay?

And it upsets me for my kids, who feel deserted by both parties. Both parties are irreparably damaging their relationships with my kids, and they don't even care, because hey, they've got each other. But it's okay, because I'm sure I'll be blamed for that, too - just like I've already been blamed for it. (Yeah, that's anger.) My shoulders are big, but they're not that damned big.

You know what the kicker is about all of this? I've only talked to two people about this situation. TWO. And I haven't even given them all of the details, because I am embarrassed. But other people involved go out and spread lies about what's going on, and tell everyone they know, because they want sympathy. Nevermind that it makes things worse, continually gets back to me and bites them in the butt - they don't care. And the other person involved doesn't, either. So why can't I get it through my head??? I think that must be part of the problem. If I hadn't loved them so much, it wouldn't have hurt so much. But obviously they don't care, because they're happy and such.

... wow.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

no help for that

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled

a space

and even during the
best moments
the greatest

we will know it

we will know it
more than

there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled


we will wait

in that

-excerpt from the Charles Bukowski anthology You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Overly dramatic

Sometimes I feel like I'm going insane. I'm only 36, but my memory seems like that of an elderly person. I can remember basic things, like my name and birthday, etc. - but I can't remember anything from my childhood, middle school years, high school years, college, or even more recent years. Sometimes someone will tell me a story or ask me about a specific event and it might jog my memory a little... but I can't even remember last year. Surely that can't be normal, can it?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly song of the day log

So every day, I choose a song of the day. It could be a song that describes my mood, my frame of mind, or even just one that gets stuck in my head. This is me blogging my weekly list to help me keep track of it.

5/3/13 - "Perfect Day," Lou Reed
5/4/13 - "Why Can't I Be You?" - The Cure
5/5/13 - "How," Lisa Loeb
5/6/13 - "Rainy Days and Mondays," The Carpenters
5/7/13 - "Break It Down," Tears for Fears
5/8/13 - "If She Knew What She Wants," The Bangles
5/9/13 - "Extraordinary," Liz Phair

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

random peek inside my head

Sometimes I pass graffiti and I see that "x loves y, always and forever." Then I wonder how long it has been since that was written, and if "x still loves y" now...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

After Math by Denise Grover Swank

After Math (Off the Subject #1) by Denise Grover Swank

Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him.Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

Link to After Math on

After Math was difficult for me to relate to right away, as the main character is a math major. I despise math. Math and I mix like oil and water. That conflict aside, I could totally relate to almost everything else about Scarlett. I don’t come from a broken home, I don’t suffer from a debilitating anxiety disorder, and I don’t love math, but I found something inherently relatable about her anyway. She is flawed and doesn’t pretend to be something that she’s not, and she accepts that she is who she is. Sure, just like any of us, there are things about herself that she’d like to change, but for the most part, she seems to like herself.

Enter Tucker: male protagonist extraordinaire. I had several issues with Tucker almost immediately. He’s oh my gosh, SO gorgeous!, a slut, and a jerk – yet Scarlett falls for him anyway. She’s a smart girl, and she knows he’s bad for her and not a nice guy, but she ignores all of her friends and winds up falling head over heels for him. This seemed strange to me – but not as strange as how her anxiety disorder, which was really bad at the beginning of the book – somehow becomes a plot device that falls by the wayside.

While I was disappointed at some stereotypical situations and seemingly forgotten issues, I still enjoyed reading about the progression of the relationship between Scarlett and Tucker. It’s easy to like Scarlett, and I found myself rooting for her throughout the entire book. I enjoyed seeing the growing connection between two young adults who are flawed, broken individuals, because I could understand that they used their brokenness to connect.

The only major issue that I really had with the novel was the ending. It really felt to me like the author had poured her heart and soul into the first two-thirds of her writing, but then (rather suddenly) decided that she was tired of writing and was ready for it to be over. Those of you who enjoy angst-ridden stories with happy endings will really enjoy it and probably not have the issue I had with it.

All in all, After Math was a well-written book that was easy to read. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not going to be one of those books that I feel compelled to read over and over again.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

GoodReads link to "Going Vintage"

When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:

1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous

But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far. (GoodReads summary)

I was in the mood for a break from my usual selection of genre (paranormal romance), so I picked up Going Vintage. It was one of the best decisions I've made this week. This book was everything I'd been hoping for: light, funny, and engaging. The best part? The main character isn't the usual protagonist - a girl who's pretty but thinks she's plain, a bookworm who doesn't notice things going on around her, etc. (come on, you all know who I'm talking about, right?). Mallory isn't perfect, and she doesn't claim to be. She's real enough that any teenage girl will be able to relate to her, and anyone past their teen years will be able to look back at their youth and see part of themselves in her.

Mallory's family isn't the perfect family, either, but they have one thing that I rarely stumble across in my reading - real love for each other. Her sister is supportive, and even though her parents fight over money a lot (what married couple with kids doesn't argue over finances from time to time?), they still love their children. 

Even Mallory's reasons for wanting to "go vintage" are believable. When confronted with the ugly truth that her boyfriend has been "cheating" on her with a girl he's only met online, she's hurt. The betrayal that the technology facilitated runs deep, and she escapes by helping her father pack up her Grandma's house. Grandma has decided to move into a retirement community, and she's left the packing of her things to her son (Mallory's dad) and Mallory. 

While packing Grandma's things up, however, Mallory comes across a yearbook from 1962, when Grandma was in the 11th grade (which just happens to be the grade Mallory's in). She decides that everything was better and simpler back in 1962. She begins wearing clothing available then (aided by wearing some of the clothes that Grandma left for her to pack up), and refuses to use any technology that wasn't available before 1962. She finds an old list of goals that her grandma made for her Junior year, and decides that she's going to complete everything on the list. 

Mallory has a realistically difficult time cutting off use of the internet, her cell phone, and other gadgets, but she sees it out. In the process, she learns that sometimes communication is better when done face to face, and gets to know someone that she'd never even considered wanting to know before she and her boyfriend broke up. Leavitt does a fantastic job with the breakup, too - teens frequently post things about the beginning and ending of their relationships on social media websites, making the situation between Mallory and Jeremy that much more realistic and believable. 

I was also happy to reach the end and see that even though the book has a somewhat happy ending, it's not all wrapped up in a nice, neat little package for us (sometimes it's nice to have a fairy tale ending, but let's face it, it's not always what happens in reality). 

Another reason this book appealed to me so much was the off-beat humor. I really loved the way that Mallory and her sister, Ginnie, interacted. I totally "got" Mallory's sense of humor. And the lists... oh, the lists! The very first list in the book had me laughing out loud, which not many books can make me do (I can seriously only think of one other book that's made me laugh out loud). Being a perpetual list-maker myself, I could easily identify with her.

Originally I'd checked this book out of the library, but I enjoyed it so much that I may have to purchase a copy to add to my bookshelf. If your thing is fairy tale endings and perfect princesses and knights on white horses rushing in to save the damsel in distress, you might want to avoid this book. If you enjoy reading about someone who has a little bit of depth and winds up exactly where she wants to be, then this is the book for you.

Seriously - go pick up this book. You can thank me later.