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. 

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.

--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.

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.

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!!!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Merry Christmas...

Last year at this time, I was recovering from surgery and was housebound in my apartment. This year, I'm singing Christmas carols badly and loving it.
The view from the dock at Lake Gaston!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’m not being sarcastic. I am actually looking forward to Christmas this year. My son is spending the last week of the year with me. He will come to work with me. I am excited about this.

This has been a most interesting year. It started with me recovering from surgery, dealing with weird work situation, working hard to get my smile back and a hurricane that crushed my car. 

Honestly, it has been one of the best years of my life. I have learned so much about myself. I know 2017 is going to be awesome. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!!!

1. The next steps in Operation Get My Smile back are having the molds made for my upper denture and lower partial!!!!!
2. Having chili for lunch on a cold, rainy day!
3. My son is going to spend a week with me!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hurricane Matthew comes for a visit

The last week and two days have been some of the most interesting and stressful time in my life. I don’t childbirth was as stressful.
Beatrice before tree

Beatrice after tree
On Oct. 8, Hurricane Matthew hit Eastern North Carolina with a vengeance. In the end, four trees came down on the property where I live. Tree one landed on the carport where my beloved Beatrice was located. Her back window was blown out along with the trunk being smashed. I am awaiting to what the insurance company’s says about her fate. This same tree also took out power pole number one. Thankfully, the electricity had already went down.
This left me shaken because tree one was beside the house. If it hadn’t landed on the car, it would have landed on the house in the living room where I was on the couch. Actually, right before the tree feel, I feel like something was pulling me to get off the couch. I was headed to my bedroom when the tree fell. God and my guardian angel Nelson were looking out for me.
Tree two fell across the road, which trapped me at my house.
Tree across road
Tree guy at work
Tree three took out my neighbor’s barn. And lovely tree four landed on my neighbor’s car port and house. And as it fell, it took out the second power line and ripped the power meter off of my  house.
I left home on Oct. 9 thanks to some really awesome coming by to check up on me. I have been staying at their home with all of the amenities. The tree is now longer around and my car is waiting for the insurance company. 

Beatrice rescued
My new view minus carport
An electrician must come and put the meter back on and make sure the wiring is okay for the house. So I wait. I am grateful for everyone’s hospitality and I love my 2016 Nissan Altima rental car. But I am ready to go home to mi casa so I can get back to my routine.
I feel blessed because things could have been worst. There could have flooding, which could have led to me fleeing by boat or a fire, which would have me fleeing by foot.

1. Having wonderful friends!
2. Grape Sunkist!
3. A Guardian Angel

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 smil...