Blog Archives

I’m here! I’m here! (and it’s time to read!)

Read-a-Thon bannerOf course, I’m late getting started on the Read-a-Thon today, but that’s par for the course. I expected as much when I was still trying to sleep at 4:35 this morning, so I’ve decided to just go with it. There’s plenty of daylight left here in Texas and miles to go before I sleep again! I’m all set up and ready to get started.

Reading spots are prepared…

reading spot #1
reading spot #2

The writing station is at the ready…

writing spot 

Snacks are lined up…

read-a-thon snacks

And my books are stacked at arm’s length…

read-a-thon books

First on the agenda (and judging by previous years, likely to be my only completed titles today) is concluding Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy. I begin with the second book, Catching Fire, at Chapter 19, the start of “Part III: The Enemy” and I will likely rush right into the concluding book of Mockingjay as soon as I read the final word of Fire. There’s a reason these books are so well-loved; they are truly compelling!

If I’m still going after completing these books, you’ll notice a few titles have returned from previous read-a-thons. I’ve not yet completed (or even begun!) these books, despite great desires to do it. Simply put, I’ve kept reading on the back burner in recent years and even when I get in the mood to read, I tend to be drawn to something different than what’s on my shelves. But I’m always hoping to get back to these titles, so here’s to a great reading effort for the remainder of this day.

I’ll post here a few more times throughout the day/night with updates on my reading progress, but please do follow me at Twitter or Facebook today. I’ll post much more frequent snippets there as I encounter interesting passages and mark time during this read-a-thon journey. And I’d love to hear from you! It’s a beautiful day to read!

while you were sleeping

sleepyI realize I’ve been away from this blog far too long, and there is a list of posts I still intend to make – including a recap of my busier-than-usual summer, tales of unemployment woe and doing my work at night because I’m still not sleeping properly, as well as the myriad of photos from everyday life with my family and a check-in on my One Little Word – but today is not that day. Instead, I’m simply dropping by to verify my continued existence and to blow off the dust of this place in preparation for the series of posts that will be published tomorrow during the Fall 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. During those hours I’ll be online from time to time, as usual, but the bulk of my day will be spent catching up on my reading. And I’m okay with that! I look forward to the read-a-thon each fall and spring, and this time I’ll even be starting three-quarters of the way through a book I’ve already begun! (Yes, I do still read on occasion, though much less than in my previous life.) As always, I hope the read-a-thon kickstarts even further reading, and I’m also hoping it lights a fire in my writing. It’s been far too long since I gave that piece of my life proper attention, and I’m finally ready to dive in again. I hope you’ll continue to hang in with me while I fumble toward a better state of life. And I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for 24 hours of reading… and writing about reading. It really has been far too long.
image from FotoSearch

Twenty years ago today… (well, twenty-five, actually)

My beloved niece Kiwi begins her senior year of high school today. In the midst of all the talk of it and her excitement of it finally arriving, I realized that this marks the 25th anniversary of my own senior year. Twenty-five years! It had never occurred to me before! But my own experiences of high school are very different from Kiwi’s life.

You may recall my mentioning that the teen years were less than pleasant for me, having moved away from my childhood home between freshman and sophomore years of high school. I was already an awkward and introverted fifteen-year-old by that time, uncomfortable with my physicality and even more uncomfortable with social interactions, so dropping me into a town I’d never before heard of with people who had essentially grown up together since birth was nothing short of devastating. I’d lived in my previous town since second grade, had finally reached a level of acceptance and comfort with a small group of friends whom I adored and who loved me back, and during freshman year I finally began to feel like I belonged and that my high school years were going to be epic. I was crushed, then — shattered, even — when my parents announced my dad’s promotion and subsequent need to move to a town located more than an hour north of Dallas and within only a few miles of the Oklahoma border. Oklahoma! It was the end of civilization for me! And I wanted no part of it.

I’d love to say I adjusted to the change over the course of the next few years, but I never did. I spent my entire adolescence feeling sorry for myself and angry at the state of my life, and by senior year I was thinking only of how I could get out of that town — it never did feel like “home” to me — and how life would certainly be so much better when I was “on my own.” Looking back I can only shake my head and laugh at that miserable young girl. But I also can’t say I’d do anything different. I’m still no better at entering new situations than I was at fifteen, though at least I know how to pretend a bit now. But not in 1986. Back then I was hopeless.

In ’86, as my first day of senior year arrived, I still had no close friends and no big dreams for the future. My niece, on the other hand, is filled with hope and joy. She’s had the benefit, so to speak, of living her entire life in one small country town and going to school with many of the same people every year of her life. She has some of the same friends now that she’s had since elementary school. People have watched her grow up since birth. And in Kiwi’s mind, senior year has always been one of the greatest times of life. She’s wise enough to know that it’s not the ultimate phase of life, of course, but she also knows it could become the stuff of legend. She’s grown up hearing stories of “the glory days” from her own father and friends, who all spent their high school years in the same town she lives in now. Kiwi has never expected her senior year to be anything less than glorious, and to finally arrive is one of her first dream-come-true moments. It’s hard not to get caught up with her in such excitement! Today she will experience a senior caravan to the campus, a senior breakfast before classes, a decorated locker by senior parents (her own mom / my sister), and a class schedule that reflects a bit of ease in academics. During the next few months she will experience the football season as a drill team officer and leader among her peers, and in the spring she will begin to have a series of “lasts” that will be both fun and bittersweet. I felt very few of these things twenty-five years ago. I’m thrilled that Kiwi’s experiences are so much greater and more special than anything I ever even dreamed of having, and I can’t wait to watch her walk through these days. I hope I can help her document them, as well, so her memories are established for years to come.

Congratulations, sweet girl! You are truly awesome and these are most certainly great days!

senior years - Kiwi and AJ