What I've Been Reading Instead of Cleaning My House

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is the Universe Trying to Tell Me?

My new year's resolution for 2011 is to be more mindful and contemplative. I have used this to my advantage when things go wrong and it's interesting what the universe has to say to you when you actually stop to listen.

The other day after work I went out to my car and my tire was completely flat! What? As I was checking the tire for damage, that's when I noticed how bald it was. I had recently replaced the other three tires, but obviously not this one. I limped it home (I know, that's bad for the wheel but you can do a lot when you're in denial) and Nigel pumped it full of air so I could take it to the tire place. That's when I realized it was a holiday weekend and no one would be open for three days! Miraculously, the tire stayed full of air the entire weekend until I could get it replaced on Monday. If it hadn't have gotten flat, I wouldn't have noticed how bald it was and with the wild winter weather this year, that could've been very dangerous.

Another example:

I always keep a set of scriptures in my car so I can read them while I'm waiting to pick up my kids from school. I went to grab them for church and they weren't there. I searched all over the car and my home, no scriptures. I'm pretty sure that someone stole them out of my car. Why? Why would you steal someone's scriptures? Is there a market for hot Bibles? The only thing I can figure is that they were in a nice leather carrying case, so maybe some demented robber thought they were a really fat Kindle or something. The worst part is that I've had these scriptures since I was 14 years old. All my favorite verses were marked and I had notes written all over them. Then it dawned on me that maybe after nearly 30 years, I needed to mark some new verses and come to some other insights as I read my scriptures. Better yet, maybe I need to read them with fresh, new eyes.

It's amazing what the universe will tell you once you take a moment to stop and listen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank you for being a friend...

So recently I unfriended a bunch of people on Facebook.

Bad form?

First of all, I'll admit that I'm not that crazy about "social networking" in the first place. I never did MySpace. I don't do Twitter. I joined Facebook late in the game only because I wanted to keep in touch with some far away relatives that use that as their main form of communication.

At first, I was accepting everyone who asked as a "friend." Then I decided to limit it to people who are truly my friends (in my opinion, if I've been to your home or you've been to mine, you're my friend. If I haven't, then you're an acquaintance).

But then I was being overwhelmed with all these status updates and weeding through all this junk in order to find the few posts from the people I really wanted to hear from. I don't care how you're doing in "Mafia Wars" or if you need to feed your pigs in "Farmville" or that you can't decide between sitting next to Timmy or Bobby in 3rd Period French.

I even had my niece give me a tutorial on Facebook, but I still was overwhelmed.

Then it dawned on me, Facebook is kind of icky. Here I was "friends" with all these teenagers and men (married and single) and that's just wrong. Would I actually call this 13-year-old and tell her about my day? Would I honestly invite this man over to chat about what I saw on TV last night? No. That's creepy.

So I sent out a warning message and then unfriended everyone who wasn't a female friend of my age or a family member. Accuse me of bad Facebook etiquette, but I certainly wouldn't do these things in real life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Better Well Read than Dead

From a friend's Facebook page:

"The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here."

Personally, I don't believe that they really think that we've only read six of the 100 books listed, and why are there so many American titles if it's from the BBC? But it's still a fun list. So here goes:

• Bold those books you've read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'll admit it. I love New Year's. It's my favorite holiday. I don't even do anything for the holiday, I just love having that clean slate (As Anne Shirley would say, "Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it").

So my resolution for 2011 is to be more "in the moment."

I'm trying to avoid multitasking (I deplore multitasking) and to really think about what I'm doing, be more cognizant of my actions, ask myself what are my motivations for doing something before I do it.

This is actually something that I started about six months ago, but I'm still a work in progress.

It started with going to Frances' play. I just decided that I didn't want to worry about taking pictures or filming it. I'm so distracted by the tools in my hands that I end up not even enjoying the play. And let's be honest, it's not like I'm going to watch the video of it later -- but just in case I did want to, I made Nigel film it (and no, I haven't watched the video).

Then when my kids were taking various classes (Alice Grace in gymnastics and Jeffrey in parkour), I decided to purposely not take anything with me. Instead of reading or knitting, I watched them participate. They loved that I was there cheering them on and seeing every move they made.

Now before I buy something or eat something, I ask myself, "Do I really need this? Am I just bored? Is it worth it?"

So if you see me doing something and I don't stop right away to say hi, I'm not being rude, I'm just waiting until I finish so I can give you my full, undivided attention. So that's my goal for 2011.