Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year! I will admit that 2017 wasn't the worst year of my life but it wasn't the best. I feel like I spent the entire time trying to go uphill. And when I was close to the top, I would get knocked back down. Some high points were my son turned 12 and I got a cat.
Agent Kitty loves his basket!

Anyway, it is a new year and it is full of possibilities. I can feel in my gut that things are going to be better this year. I have set some public goals and one very private goal.

My first goal is to stop taking things so seriously. I want to enjoy life more.
This leads to my second goal, which is not to work so hard. I feel like I base my life around work. In 2017, I started saying no more and focusing on me. In 2018, I want to have  more of a work/life balance.
My third goal is to volunteer more. I don't just want to write about volunteering but to actually do it.
I will always continue to try reading more.
I want to be a better mom for my son and a better friend and family member to others.
I want to put myself out there more and meet new people.
My final goal is private. I don't want to jinks things but I hope by December 2018 that things will 360 degrees different in my life.

1. So thankful to live to see another year!
2. Sunkist Strawberry Soda!
3. Family and friends!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Adventures at Librari-Con with Samurai Batman

Playing video games

Recently, JJ and I made our second journey to the 11th annual Librari-Con at the Cumberland County Public Library in Fayetteville.  This is an annual anime/graphic novel/sci-fi mini convention that featured anime viewing, panels forums, Artist Alley, Cosplay Runway and more.
What made this event super awesome was the fact that the library was opened at the same time of the event.
For a year, JJ had talked about having a costume after not being able to wear one last year. He was a Samurai Batman.
Apparently, JJ had a growth spurt in the last few weeks so there was struggle getting him into his costume, but a little pulling, binder clips and prayer got the costume on him.

I decided to go as my favorite thing – a mother/photographer/bodyguard/book nerd wearing a Wonder Woman shirt.
JJ decided to add his own special touch to it with a trident and a Flash mask for me. I’m not sure what I was supposed to have been but I played along until lunchtime.
For the first hour, he played free video games in the Gaming Lounge while I read magazines and people watched.There were almost 2,000 people at the daylong event. Some in costume, some people watching and some just there for the library services.
I am not sure who this was.
Wonder Woman left him speechless.
He had his photo taken with a computer virus.

We met everyone from Bobba Fett and Darth Vader to Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn.
And for the second year, JJ persuaded me to buy him another giant silver sword made out of cardboard and duct tape.
There was some serious geeking out done by him when he met Darth Vader and Wonder Woman.
Meeting Bobba Fett

Since my Jeep is named Bobba Fett, JJ felt it was appropriate to get a photo with his Star Wars namesake.
Battling before lunch!

Lunch was at the R Burger food truck where he had a cheeseburger and I had a hot dog with Freedom League fries.
We sat outside in the nice weather watching people as we ate lunch.
I am still not good with large crowds of people but I made it work because this event made my son happy and Cumberland County Library is one of my favorite libraries.
Once we were done, I had to rip JJ out of his costume. And so begins the quest for a costume for the 12th annual Librari-Con in 2018.
And I have been challenged to come up with a costume. I have no clue what to be or to make. I have a few months.
As JJ gets older, I know outings like this will be few and far between so I take advantage of anything I can.

1. Spending time with my son!

2. Spending time in the library!
3. Having one last summer adventure.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A whole new world

Well, it is official. I am the mom of a sixth grader. I can't believe JJ has grown up so fast.
It seemed like yesterday that he was headed to kindergarten with an Avengers back pack.

And now, he is 11, same height as me, a deeper voice and in middle school. He is weari

I am proud and scared at the same time. He is a good kid. I worry about the others he will encounter.

Right now, I feel a change is coming. Whatever it is. I am ready for it.

1. My son!
2. Sunkist Grape Soda
3. Sitting in my home library

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stopping ED from gaining

One of the hardest things I had to ever do was to explain my ED to my 11-year-old son. His father had talked to him about it, which I have an issue with  because it is my story and not his. But I have tried to move beyond that.

Anyway, a few weeks I talked to him about it and explained it as best I could. I told him how he is my inspiration to stay in recovery. I know he needs his mom to be healthy to help handle growing up.

One thing I told him was that my relationship with food is not like his relationship. And there will always be a struggle for me. I take it one meal at a time.

I kept all of this in mind when I went to the doctor yesterday to ask for help. In the past three months, my appetite has disappeared. I eat because I don’t want to pass out or to be hospitalized. It hasn’t been easy. I could have let ED win when I realized what was happening. I have only lost 11 pounds. To some this is not much weight but to me it is.

The old me would have been happy about it. The recovering me knew it needed to stop. So I made an appointment because the signs were there that things were not going to improve. I have had a headache for two weeks because I am not eating enough food. I feel lightheaded most of the time.

I had to do something. I talked honestly with my doctor. She prescribed megace for me. I have read up on it in the last 24  hours. I know it is an appetite stimulant for cancer patients losing weight along with being used in the treatment of breast and endometrial cancer. 

It was not cheap. It cost more than $67 with insurance. Overall, I think it will be worth it. I can’t continue to live like this. I have a job that I love and I don’t need the stress of my ED. My baby starts the sixth grade in a few weeks. He is going to need all the love and support he can get from me. Plus, he doesn’t need to worry about me.

I took the first dose last night. And for the first time in weeks, I didn’t wake up worrying about what I could force myself to eat. Today, there was less pressure. 

As I write this, I am eating a granola bar. The whole bar. Not half, not a little but the entire bar. It feels good. I can't remember what it is like to be eat like other people. I think the last time I knew was probably when I was a teenager. 

My goal is to get things in check and then go out to eat at the Chef and the Farmer in Kinston. I think it is a nice reward. 

1. Knowing when you need help
2. Strawberry soda
3. A Game of Thrones marathon

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vacation 2017 with JJ

I am finally getting back into the swing of things after having my son stay with me for two weeks at the end of June. And getting used to the silence again. I miss having him around.

It was an interesting time period because JJ is now 11, one week was vacation with the other week of me working and JJ was attending various day camps.

For the first time, I got to be mom full-time. It was hard but nice. 
Britt's Donuts at Carolina Beach

With JJ at 11, not as many photos are being taken because he doesn’t want to. And now he is taking the photos with his super cool camera phone.

I have officially arrived in the pre-teen/teenager land. It is a crazy place.

Pretending to surf at Carolina Beach

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.
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. 

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! 

Happy New Year!!!!

Happy New Year! I will admit that 2017 wasn't the worst year of my life but it wasn't the best. I feel like I spent the entire time ...