Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spending time with my son

Memorial Day is always special for me as a reporter and a person. It is a chance to recognize who gave their life so I and others can have the freedom we have. 
Normally, I work and get to take Memorial Day holiday on another day. This year, I got a double bonus. 




I got to spend the long weekend with my son. Things some how worked that my son’s aunt met me halfway and JJ was able to spend three days in Pickle Land with me. He had a chance to see me working and spend quality time together.
 
Eating a blooming onion at Outback!
Playing videogames!
JJ is now 11. He is squarely in the pre-teen world. His voice is changing along with other things. My baby is growing up and it scares me. He got to see my new teeth and loved them. He said it was nice to see me so happy. 

We had a chance to talk and just spend some time together. And in two weeks, he returns for a two week involving my week long vacation and a bunch of day camps. It has been a good few days.

The other part is my Memorial Day weekend is this weekend. I'm going to the Lake to hang with the bestie.
DAILY DOSE
1. Spending time with my son!
2.        Having a healthy child!
3.        Summer vacation is coming!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My home library is complete!!!!!

  I write a book column for Duplin Times in Kenansville, N.C. called the Book Nerd. This is my May column, which is about me finally completing my home library.

“When all else fails give up and go to the library.”
-Stephen King


I have always loved this quote, because I have done as he advises hundreds of times.
After having a very bad day, I would head to my nearest library for some calming support.
But now, all I have to do is go home, and go into my own personal library.

This is just a portion of the 2,220 books I own.

Ever since I was a young girl, I have dreamed of having my own library. I learned to read at an early age and always had a book with me. Growing up, I always had a small shelf with books on it in my room. In college, I started to collect books. As I got older and moved to various places, there were always bookshelves.
When I moved into my current home on May 21, 2016, there were three-bedrooms with a pantry and two living rooms. Yes, two living rooms.
I decided before moving that the original living room with its mantle would become my library.
So for almost a year, I have unpacked books, shelved books and purchased books and shelves.
The original goal was to have a ribbon cutting (my take on a housewarming party) for Oct. 22 last year. Invitations had been sent and ribbons selected.
Well, two weeks before this, a little hurricane named “Matthew” showed up. It resulted in a tree pulverizing up my car and no power for almost a month. I had to cancel the ribbon cutting. 
Since then, I have worked on my library from time to time. 



During a recent visit, my son, James Edward, wondered if the library would ever be completed or would it just always be a work in progress. So I doubled down to make it look more presentable. I found a site called Libib.com, which is a home library management web app. 
The Nelson Bland Memorial Library is ready for its debut. This was his home and I feel it is a good way to remember him. But this library is not a public facility. I emphasized this to my son and others.
In addition to being a home for my 1,220 books, it is also a spot for my recently adopted cat, Gizmo, from Duplin Animal Services.
All of these books didn’t appear overnight or without help. Through the years, I have purchased books from various library systems in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia at book sales. And I thank many people for donations to my library.
The hunt for books has been fun. When I first moved back to Mount Olive, I probably had about 600 books. I decided I wanted to own 1,000 books. I felt it was good number for a library. I started searching at various area thrift stores and yard sales. 


My son loves to read and I feel my enthusiasm for reading is the reason why. Of the 1,220 books, I have probably read a good 350 of them. There are some I owned because they were so good I wanted to be able to share them with my son.
Now while there are eight bookcases in the library, there are others scattered throughout the house in the kitchen, in the living room and my son’s room.
Recently, a friend was thinking of starting her own library and asked me for the best way to get books. Library sales are the best way. You can get some great gently used books for a cheap price. Thrift stores are also a great source for books.
I am running out of shelf space. Eventually, I will have to do some weeding of my collection. I probably will not end up like President Thomas Jefferson, who had three separate home libraries during his life.


During the War of 1812, the British burned the nation’s Capitol and the Library of Congress. At the time, Jefferson had the largest personal collection of books in the country at 6,487. He sold his collection to Congress to help replaced what was lost. But this didn’t stop Jefferson from collecting more, by his death, he had more than 2,000 books in his library.
My goal is to stay in the house as long as possible because moving with this many books will be insane.
We all know that public libraries are calming and quiet. There are times I need this calming effect after a meeting has ended at 9 p.m..
So why do I have a library? I love to read and this was a major item on my bucket list. I didn’t want to just have shelves but a room dedicated solely to books.
Some people want to climb Mount Everest. I want its equivalent in books. This represents so much more than I can ever put into words.
Until next month, visit a library and keep reading!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My new smile

I have great news. Last Monday (April 10), I got my new teeth. 

They have definitely been a game changer. It is weird being able to smile at people. There have been some adjustments with talking and eating. I am so thankfully and blessed that I was able to afford to this. 

DAILY DOSE
1. I got my new teeth!!!!
2. So thankful to my dentist Dr. Wynne and Faison Dental.
3. I can smile after not smiling for almost 20 years!
  

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Finding a good reading challenge is challenging

  I write a book column for Duplin Times in Kenansville, N.C. called the Book Nerd. This is my January column, which is about finding a reading challenge.

In 2016, I had every intention of doing a reading challenge but life managed to get in the way.
So for the last three weeks, I have looked at various reading challenges. But this year, instead of choosing and forgetting about it, I will proudly post it near my computer so I will see, remember and do it.
In 2016, I read about 25 books. I think it was a good number considering how busy my life is along with the sheer number of magazines I receive at home and from other people.
There are tons of reading challenges out there. I wanted a challenge but didn’t want to be frustrated at the end of the year.
This is the closest thing I can do to participating in a book club. This will help me make time to curl up on the couch or in my favorite coffee shop with a book.
After looking at various challenges, I narrowed it down to five. The “52 Weeks, 52 books” looked interesting with 52 different challenges. I can’t handle reading one book each week.
“The 2017 New Release Challenge Read” focused on books released in 2017. There are some good books coming out but I also want to focus on other years.
“The Foodies Read” would involve books about food and spanned across various genres. The challenges range from short-order cook (one to books) to cordon-bleu cook (more than 19). Again, I wanted to focus on various genres.
“The 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge” really piqued my interest. This had a choose-your-own-adventure reading challenge. I could chose between different checklists: Reading for Growth and Reading for Fun.
“Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge 2017” meant I could basically create my own challenge by deciding what genres I wanted to read.
Ultimately, I went for the 2017 “Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.”  I chose the Reading for Fun checklist. I love reading for fun. Those other challenges looked like a lot of work. I want to read for the sheer joy of reading.
• a book you chose for the cover: “The Outliers” by Kimberly McCreight
I checked this book out from the library without actually finding out what it was about because the cover was very interesting. Hopefully, I will be able to check this off the list in a few days.
• a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
I have heard so much about how this book will suck the reader into it.
• a book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit: “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins
This is set somewhere in England.
•    a book you’ve already read: “The Help” by Kathryn Stacks
 This is one of my favorite books.
• a juicy memoir: “The Rules Do Not Apply” by Ariel Levy
The description of this book had me hooked: When 38-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.
• a book about reading: “Scratch: Writers, Money and the Art of Making a Living” by Manjula Martin
This is a collection of essays from some of the top writers such as Jonathan Franzen, Cheryl Strayed and Jennifer Weiner, who talk about the reality of making a living as a writer.
• a book in a genre you usually avoid (self help): “Wherever You Go, There They Are” Annabelle Gurwitch
This is book is about family, biological or those who become your family.
• a book you don’t want to admit you’re dying to read: “Rushing Waters” by Danielle Steele
Yes, I read Danielle Steele novels. Don’t judge me.
• a book in the backlist of a new favorite author: “Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight
I discovered McCreight because of her chilling second book. This is her first book.
• a book recommended by someone with great taste: “Hunger” by Roxane Gay
My friend strongly suggested this or me. This memoir focuses on food, self-image and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.
• a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet: “Dreams of Gods and Monsters” by Laini Taylor
This is the final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I have read and own the first two in the series. I finally bought the third one and can’t wait to read it.
• a book about a topic or subject you already love: “Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger and More Graceful You” by Misty Copeland
 I have always loved ballet. For a brief time, I wanted to be a ballerina, but being height-challenged and having a lack of coordination kind of ended that dream.
The decision has been made and I think I have made 11 good choices.
Until next month, stay warm and keep reading!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The art of decluttering

It is 24 days into the new year. It’s hard to believe that it’s been four weeks since my son’s week long visit.
Since it is a new year, I am working hard to declutter. It’s not easy because I have so much stuff. There are boxes in the pantry that I haven’t even opened yet.
I have never been a neat freak. Even my son knows this.
Plus, I am determined to have the ribbon cutting for my library on April 15. My son is on spring break at that time so he will be in Pickleland.
How do you declutter when you are kind of a hoarder in training?
I started small so I wouldn’t get overwhelm. I got rid of several magazines and cleaned out the jeep.
I discover something called the Pomodoro Technique, which is suppose to be for work but I kind of modified for decluttering.
The method involves working for 25 minutes without interruption, taking a five minute break, repeating this four times and then taking a 15 to 30-minute break.
I modified it so it would three 25 minute segments and a 30-minute break. I have found this method works better at home than work. There are so many distractions in a newsroom especially with the phone ringing and people walking in.

UPCOMING DECLUTTER PROJECTS
--organize my closet by being truthful about what I will and will not wear.
--go through all of my purses and handbags. Decide which will stay and which ones will be given away to friends.
--Clean out the kitchen cabinets
--Download the tons of photos of my son from my phone.
--Start going through the boxes one at a time.
--Finish organizing my home library.

I got some projects to do and I am excited about it. It has been an interesting year so far. I must admit that last two weeks have been very bruising both professionally and personally. I don't know if I can take much more.

DAILY DOSE
1. I have been hitting the strawberry soda hard. So thankful for Strawberry Sunkist.
2. Kmart is closing, which means things are on discount. Found a very cool notebook!
3. Friends are important in sad times.

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Goals

 
My not-so-mini me at work!


Happy New Year!! I hope you had a great one because so I have. I got to spend the last week of 2016 and the first day of this year with my son. And now on the second day of the year, I am slightly sad. I miss my boy. I decided to figure out my goals for 2017.  
1. To get my smile back. Iamthisclose to having it. I make the down payment for my new teeth this week.
2. I will be more sociable. The goal is to get out of the house more. I will accomplish by trying one new thing each month.
4. Learn how to swim. 
5. I will continue to work on my relationship with God by finding a church to attend.
6. Clear some of the clutter in my house.
7. I will journal more.
8. I will continue to work toward an ED-free life. The last few weeks have been rough.
9. Try out one new recipe each week.
10. Be a better morning person.

If I can do most of these, 2017 will be a great year. I am excited.
My son snapped a picture of me while we were having an adventure.

DAILY DOSE
1.  Enjoying a slow day at work!
2. No meetings to cover tonight so I get to veg on the couch.
3. Trying to be at peace! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Enjoying the last week of the year

My post-Christmas has been awesome. It has been spent with my son. During this week, he has come to work with me. The morning routine has definitely been interested. Like me, he is not a morning person.








Friday (Dec. 30) is a holiday so I think we are going on an adventure. On New Year's Eve, we will attend the Pickle Drop so we can rang in 2017 at 7 p.m. Then on New Year's Day, I will have to take him back to South Carolina. Time goes by fast when you are having a good time. Hope you have a Happy New Year!!!

Daily Dose
1. Be able to attend the Pickle Drop with my son!
2. So thankful for this time with him!
3. Strawberry Sunkist soda!!!

Spending time with my son

Memorial Day is always special for me as a reporter and a person. It is a chance to recognize who gave their life so I and others can have t...