Friday, February 8, 2013

Being "bored" means you are wasting precious moments of your life...

I acknowledge that we all need down time in our lives.  We need time to relax, refresh, recharge.  But, do we need to be "bored"?  There was a time when I would have said that boredom is valuable.  It teaches us to appreciate the times when we are not bored.  It helps us to self-motivate to undo our boredom. Blah blah blah.

Now, I'm not so sure.  I have spent a lot of time in my life sitting around, bored.  Wasted time.

I saw this on Facebook, and looked it up on the 'net to see if the attribution is correct. It appears to be from comedian Louis C.K.  And, I love it!

So, if you are sitting there, feeling bored, do something about it!  Realize how lucky you are to just be here!  Take a moment to THINK.  WRITE your thoughts.  TELL someone a story.  Take a moment to formulate a plan, then go DO something about it!  Whatever it is you decide to do, LIVE this life that you've been given.  Don't waste it being bored. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

December 2012 and January 2013 Reading...

I love to read.  No, scratch that.  I LOVE TO READ.  The only things I love more than reading are my son, my family, my friends, and my dog...and believe me, the difference between my love of all of them and my love of reading is TINY.  The difference is absolutely TINY.  I love reading that much.  

If I could eat written words for nourishment, I would.  

If reading would re-energize my body the way sleep does, I would read instead of sleeping.  

If I could earn a living from reading (from reading what I want to read...not just whatever lands on my desk), then that is all I would do.

Have I mentioned how much I love to read?  Really, there are no words to explain...

I have talked about my love of reading before.  I've talked about my reading, suggestions for children, poetry, and so on.  Read those posts HERE

Unfortunately, because of my work schedule, since October, I've read almost nothing compared to my normal amount of reading.  Sigh...  It has been depressing.  Really depressing.

Here is an December 2012 and January 2013 reading list, and my plans for February 2013.  Titles with a line through them are books I've managed to finish.  No line? I'm still reading it.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Reread because I just love it.
  • The Appeal by John Grisham - Loved it until the end.  The end just pissed me off!
  • Extreme Measures by Michael Palmer - Eh.  It passed the time.  Not great, not terrible.
  • The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass - Read along with a tutoring student.  Everyone should read this!  I put together a Frederick Douglass study guide.  Check out HERE
  • Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain - I was reading along with a tutoring student; put on hold, but plan to finish eventually
  • Cider House Rules by John Irving - Love!

  • The Innocent by David Baldacci - I normally don't read spy and espionage type stuff, but this was good.  I passed it on to my son.  He's enjoying it.
  • The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinsky - A favorite for when I need to relax.  An easy, humorous read.
  • Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto - I love Banana Yoshimoto.  Her work is somewhat depressing and mellow, but it is also full of an odd fantasy life that is so tied in to reality that I can't call it "fantasy" in terms of genre.  Unique and beautiful.
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright - EVERYONE should read this!  Read Frederick Douglass first, then Black Boy.  They go together so well.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Reading along with a tutoring student
  • In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson - I originally bought this for my son. He loves military history, especially if it is World War II related.  It reads much more like a biography, and I love biography.
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson - I am an avid fan of Larsson's trilogy.  So much so that I am studying Swedish, and hope to eventually read it in Swedish!  I also reread the series anytime I feel stressed, weak, or angry.  Sometimes I just need some "angry chick who overcomes the odds" type of energy.  This series fulfills those needs!
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - continuing
  • In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larson - continuing
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson - continuing
  • Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain - hope to pick it up again and finish it.
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare - Typically I only read Shakespeare with tutoring students, but while doing research on Sylvia Plath's Ariel, I found that "Ariel" is a character in The Tempest.  I think too many people focus on Plath as a depressive woman with a chaotic life who committed suicide.  There is a tendency to lump most of her poetry into her psychiatric problems or her relationship problems.  I think Plath is so much more!  Many people who read, and even study Plath, tend to overlook the fact that she was a true literary scholar. She made it her mission to learn as much as she could from her literary ancestors, including Shakespeare.  I believe that many of the elements in her poetry that are attributed to her personal problems are actually rooted in other literature.  As a result, I'm slowly making my way through much of that same literature.  
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath - See note above.  I plan to go back through her journals, letters, and any other documents I can get my hands on, to tie her work and studies to literature she studied.  The problem, however, is that Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes, are both known to have destroyed some of her personal writings (journals, letters, etc).

Also, if you did not see my previous post, I am fundraising to help one of my English students as well as one of my best friends.  My student is in dire need of help to avoid becoming homeless, and my friend is trying to get through a bitter divorce and custody battle with the minimum of damage to her children's emotional well being.  Read more about it all HERE, or click the Donation button below to help them out.  You can also visit my Etsy shop and make a purchase.  All profits purchases from now through June will go towards my student and my friend.  Click HERE for my Etsy shop.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Make a direct impact in a single mom's life...

A while back I asked for a bit of help, and was overwhelmed by your generosity.  My son and I were having problems with our landlord and needed repairs, including mold abatement, in our apartment.  Our goal was to move as soon as possible.  We weren't able to save nearly enough to move, but between what I could save myself, and your donations, we were able to take legal action to force our landlord to make numerous repairs, and to clean up the mold problems.


Now, I am asking for help for someone else...  I have a lovely student in dire need of assistance.  She is a single mom of two children.  She works as much as she can.  She is one term away from finishing her college degree.  She is also a few months away from the opportunity to do extra training at her job, and to get a promotion.

Since Hurricane Sandy, my student has struggled more than usual.  She has little in the way of a support system, and no safety net should an emergency happen.  She confided in me recently that she is at risk of being homeless if she can't gather enough money to pay some back rent which has accumulated since Hurricane Sandy.

With the generosity of my Facebook friends, I've collected $500 of the $4,000 she needs to keep a roof over her children's heads.  If she loses her home, she loses her ability to finish school, and she loses her ability to possibly keep her job, and she definitely loses her ability to get her promotion.  She is working hard to save money on her own, and has applied twice for emergency assistance. 

You have a chance to have a direct impact in improving this mom's life, and thereby improving the lives of her children.  I am confident that if she can get past this hurdle, she will have a bright future ahead of her.  She reminds me so much of where I was just eleven years ago.  The difference?  I had the support of several friends and my entire family.

If you have it in your heart to help, please consider making a donation for my student.  Click the Paypal button below --

Another option is that all sales in my Etsy shop from now until June will go to support my student as well as my best friend.  My best friend is fighting a custody battle that has turned bitter and is becoming much more expensive than originally anticipated.  Check out my Etsy shop HERE.