Thursday, July 18, 2013

Five Things + Six Photos

I've been tagged by the dear-hearted Alita Jewel.  So.  Let's do this!

5 Things I have a passion for...

1. Reading.  Although I'm not sure it's a passion so much as it is an addiction.  You know all those pithy comments about folks being unable to cope without coffee?  That's me, but I mainline stories instead of caffeine.  I neeeeed to read.  I neeeeed it.  Reading is good for your soul. 

2. Natural Childbirth.  I think if I had more time, I'd study to become a doula, because I'm so in awe of women's bodies and all that they can accomplish with a bit of encouragement and education. We think we aren't strong enough to bear children without chemicals and micro-management and disastrous imaginations. But we are! You are! We've lost the community of women who used to surround us during childbirth when we gave control to the doctors and hospitals, thinking it was better this way. Sometimes, it is. But MOST of the time, we're better off not being fiddled with. Believe it.

3. Breastfeeding. If you know me at all, you know this. I will talk your ear off about the perfection of breasts and all they can do. I will accidentally invade your personal space if you come to me with questions or needing help. I will try really hard not to judge your decision not to breastfeed, but I might cry about it later. I will cheer you on. I will physically adjust your latch. Maybe I will be a lactation consultant when I grow up...

4. Peace. It's a hard-line of idealism running through me. It's a current under my skin when I'm about to lose my stuff with my kids. It's a hope. It's kind of a desperation within me. I crave peace.

5. Rose-colored glasses. I am one-hundred percent committed to the idea that if I try very hard to see the best at all times, the best will come through. Life is kind of ugly sometimes, you know? But with these handy, rosy tints clouding my judgment, I can pick out the beauty and focus on it until the rest fades into obscurity. 

5 Things I would like to do before I die...

1. Travel to every country in Europe. Really, most of this list could be filled with travel dreams, but Europe especially holds my fancy. And Asia. Oh, and South America. 

2. And I would like to do all of that while flying first class. Please. Even just once would be nice. 

3. Write a novel, and have it published. 

4. I would like to find a way to kick my self-centeredness to the curb.  I want to give of myself and my time and my money, without worry about my own comfort.

5.  This particular list is really hard for me to nail down.  I don't have exciting, adventurous aspirations.  I don't want to skydive or climb a gnarly mountain or go white water rafting.  I don't want to accomplish big, noteworthy things or become an expert or a success.  I mostly just want to be content where I am.  (Except for in business class.  You CAN'T be content there.  You just can't.)

5 Things I say a lot...

1. "This is not a disaster."  I say it to myself, and I say it to my girls.  This is not a disaster.

2. "Shhh...I'm crushing candy..."  I say it to my husband when he wants my attention after the kids are finally down for the night.  I'm ashamed that I enjoy this game so much. 

3. "Is that how YOU would want to be treated?"

4. "You are in control of your own actions."

5. "I love you."  This spills out at the oddest times.  Like when Justin sneaks a pouch of applesauce from the kids' snack stash.  Or when Lauren burps on me.  Or when Mia is scowling over an unsatisfactory meal.  Or when Landon pees on me.  I do love it.  All of it.  (And when I need a minute away from all of it, I go crush some candy.)

5 (good) Books I have read lately...

1. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. Whew -- my rose-colored glasses could not stand up to the conditions in this world. What a terrifying place Cambodia was during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Frightening. Such a captivating, gorgeous novel, though. 

2. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. This was one of my impulse Kindle purchases because it cost only two dollars or something. I buy cheap. And this book was worth ten times it's price. It absolutely gave me chills and I wept and fell in love and was inflamed with the passion of regret and fear and hope and love. I have a soft spot for Greek and Roman mythology, and this book is packed with some really amazing characters from those myths. If you don't care to read about a loving relationship between two men, you might steer clear, but if it makes you feel better their relationship is not graphic. This is a beautiful story. 

3. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I've been recommended this old 'classic' several times, and I wasn't disappointed. Maybe a little depressed by some (okay, a TON of) sadness in the story, but the writing was so compelling and lovely that I couldn't put it down. 

4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Wow. This book In my old age, I'm starting to realize how much I actually enjoy fantasy and even a little bit of science fiction. I read this one several weeks ago and I still think about it often. 

5. Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve. I've adored Shreve's writing for over a decade now, but I have to take her books slowly and with large breaks in between novels. Her words and characters burrow so deeply that I become overwhelmed with emotion. So I go read some nonsense for a month or a season or three years. And then I can come back to her fresh and ready to be flayed open again. 

5 Favorite Movies...

1. Persuasion. It is the BBC version, with Rupert Penry-Jones, and it is exquisite.

2. Dirty Dancing. For-evah.

3. Clueless. It makes me feel nostalgic and content.

4. Shawshank Redemption. Because I feel a little bit idiotic with so few really good movies on this list, and I love Morgan Freeman even if it's a cliché to say so.

5. Gone With the Wind. Although the book is much better. 

5 Places I would like to travel to...
Whoops.  I already talked about this.  Whatever :)

1. Ireland. Because I feel drawn there.  Pulled by the weight of my freckles, perhaps.

2. Brazil

3. China.  Chinese culture feels so ancient and mysterious to me.  Shrouded in mist and nestled in mountains.  Spread across deserts and plains and swamps.  There's just so much and I want to see some of it.

4. Northwestern and Northeastern North America.  I've never seen northern beaches, and I'm drawn to the idea of Maine, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia.

5. The great cities of Europe: Rome, Paris, London, Prague, Munich...where else?  Where have you been that you would recommend to a would-be traveler?


  1. Anita Shreve actually came to my high school my senior year, I think... it was around the time The Weight of Water came out, and I asked her a question about it, and she told me it was a good question and I nearly died :)
    Love your lists! Europe has been calling me recently, really, really badly. Mostly England. And then there's Iceland that sends me strange messages in small ways that tell me I need to get there one day, too.

    1. I am incredibly jealous. First, that you met her in person, and second, that you had the guts to speak! Maybe teenage invincibility would have helped me be as brave. Wonderful!

      Iceland? I'm intrigued! Maybe your novel needs to have some research done on a big, frozen island... :)

  2. Invade my space! PLEASE!! I have already long been introduced to literature that talks about the benefits of natural childbirth, and the potential drawbacks of interventions like epidurals and such, so I am in sort of a phase of stalwartly hoping I shall be brave and strong enough to do this thing naturally. Then, just last night, I got to the section on painkillers in What To Expect When You're Expecting, and the whole thing presented these interventions as perfectly reasonable interventions without any potential drawbacks, and I was shocked. For a book so widely read, that seems, at the very least, irresponsible to me. I'm no expert (and I'm not judging anyone who takes the epidural or goes for a C-section), but if there is indeed plenty of scientific evidence to suggest interventions don't have possibly negative side effects, then it's really irresponsible of WTEWYE to not acknowledge those potential side effects.

    In any case...I'm still approaching childbirth with a high degree of trepidation, even though I KNOW the best thing I can do is to try not to be afraid and remain calm and go with the flow. So, to that end, any all and encouragement and reassurances that I will, in fact, NOT die would be highly appreciated. :)

    I'm missing Europe too these days. Probably because Europe is just fabulous in summer. Paris, to me, is over-rated. I love Berlin, and Amsterdam, and Krakow. Rome and London are awesome too. Outside of the EU, I had the best time in Costa Rica (tropical, relatively cheap, and still just a short jaunt from the US)...and, of course, Thailand. :)

    1. Jade, I have so much I want to tell you! I don't know about birthing practices in Thailand, but I don't think preparing for natural would be a bad thing in any country. And I hate What to Expect for just this reason: it presents our westernized version of childbirth so sweetly that it seems perfect. It's not. You should read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. I've also heard good things about Birthing from Within by England and Horowitz.

      And if you're feeling especially hippie-mama, you MUST read Ina May Gaskin. She is so educated and encouraging and down to earth. In any case, you are strong enough :)

    2. I second her recommendations ~ read Gaskin to learn about birth & community and Birthin from Within to explore any fears or questions you have about birth your baby

  3. Nobody puts Baby in the corner. Love it! And The Pilot's Wife nearly did me in.

    1. You just put the pickle on the plate, college boy, and leave the hard stuff to me...

      Ah, Johnny Castle. :)

  4. There are so many s'wonderful things about this list! First being "this is not a disaster." you sound like me. I'm always reminding my children to slow down and chill out. God blessed me with patience. Which is good because my hubby was hiding behind a cloud when the Lord was giving out patience. Ha ha...

    I love Love LOVE dirty dancing and it should have made my list, but I'm a sucker for redemption stories so Man on Fire bumped baby. Opps! And I'm surprised Chuck Norris didn't make either of our lists. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

  5. Natural childbirth, my sistah! I could talk about that all. day. long.

  6. This is a fun read. I love the pig-nose-on-glass photo. :)

  7. LOVE!

    I'm of course very biased but Brussels and Bruge needs to be on your list when you go to Europe!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?