Saturday, January 24, 2015

Looking at Normal

I've been thinking about normal lately. I remember the standout kids when I was little, the ones who didn't give a care. I also remember looking at a sea of brown skin and dark eyes and wishing away my Irish/German/English mash-up heritage. I came home one day in Kindergarten/first grade/somewhere in there with a forced accent lacing every word. My mom put a stop to it. Adults cherish the unique and cringe at the thought of normal. Kids at some point strive for it. They fall in line with the group. They look down at themselves and back up with a plan to change. At some point the tide changes. Mine changed in third grade. I'd fallen in line (the back of the line) with a group of girls. I'm not sure I liked a single one of them, but 3rd grade was hell, so I figured the kids were supposed to be too. Then I had my accident. That was it. Not even the back of the line was open to me. I didn't have a single conversation at school with another kid with the exception of answering the "what happened to your face" question for the rest of third grade and fourth grade. Normal lost all my respect.

Now I live in the world of special needs kids and professionals in the field make it their benchmark. They throw the word around expecting smiles and nods, maybe cheers. Let's make these kids not stand apart, not stand out, not stand alone. When my oldest was in third grade, the occupational therapist told me I had to fix the way he held his pencil. This was truly dire. She'd pulled me aside in the hallway and told me his entire future would be affected by his finger grip. He'll look odd. He won't write fast. Kids will make fun of him. He won't fit in. That was the last time I spoke to her. 

Normal. I hate the word, but if my son could wish for things like that, if he could pinpoint exactly why he felt so out of place, would that be his wish? I should ask him what he wishes for and see what he has to say. Until then, I'll keep guard of his spirit and try my best not to tamp it down. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#LGBT Reading Challenge sign up post! Plus a music video.

I'm doing it. Committing to a reading challenge. Yep. Last year I participated in LGBT month and as a result discovered so many wonderful books I just had to read. I added them to my TBR list and they have remained there patiently sitting through one reading bender after another. My most recent has been Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles. So good, but not LGBT at all unless things switch up pretty drastically. There's still a chance Cinder hooks up with Scarlet, but I doubt it. If you're interested in signing up, click on the pretty purple graphic to learn more about it. I plan to hit the Genre Hopper category of reading 3-10 LGBT books from any genre. 

Oh, and just because here's a Shane Mack song from the movie Shelter. Good stuff. Happy reading, people!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Author talks, they really do reach new readers. Honest.

Take a break to talk 9.11.11
I love author talks, can't get enough of them (not that I have a fangirling problem or anything). It all started with Debbie Macomber sharing her story at my library. I had seen her books at the grocery store, but never snatched one off the shelf to read the blurb. When she walked up to the podium and smiled, I instantly thought of my Aunt Sherry and became a fan. She said something along the lines of 'If you write a book, others should read it.' So far I've read Starry Night and Mrs. Miracle. Loved them!

Then I went to a couple writers' conferences. Ann Aguirre and Victoria Dahl are so cool. That's what I thought when I listened to them. Aguirre made me laugh and dream. She also wore a plush unicorn hat on her head during her speech. Dahl made me laugh and cry. She told us she belonged to a secret writers' group, but if she revealed any of the members she'd have to wear a penis hat for an entire day. Ann Aguirre nodded enthusiastically to this (I'm thinking she's one of the secret members). Their books rock the planet. Total fan here. 

A couple months ago I went to listen to mystery writer J.A. Jance talk. I hadn't even heard of her. She has this laugh, this crazy laugh that bursts out of her. I jumped in my seat the first time I heard it. Her author talk made me laugh (because of her laugh) and cry. What is up with these authors cracking my super tough exterior? A coworker of mine loaned me one of her books. Loved it! I told my mom and we just did a buddy read of Edge of Evil. I confess I read it in a couple days. I tried to pace myself, but Jance has an easy writing style and a great main character in Ali Lawson.

Do you have a list of authors you would love hear talk? Here are few on my list. Craig Johnson, Katie McGarry, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Kristen Ashley, Richelle Mead, Nalini Singh....

How about all you authors and future authors out there, can you see yourself giving an author talk? I can totally see myself standing up at a podium cursing at the microphone/sound system and having a great time.

"By Victorvoice (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

When life's kicking your butt, how about a theme song? [13] Rocking it out!

Hello 2015, you're going to be an awesome year filled with new adventures, family and friends, and many laughs. Just in case a jump start is needed, January is all about rocking out! 

Maybe you're jazzed about the resolutions you've come up with or maybe you're pumped that 2014 is finally over. No matter, let's get to the music because with music everything is just right. Oh, and I haven't settled on any resolutions yet. If you want to share yours, that's cool. 

My pick is Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N' Roses. Early in the football season the Seahawks still hadn't found their groove and then the opposing team's stadium had this song blasting. I bounced on my balance board and cheered. If any team is going to rally to a good and gritty rock song, it's the Seattle Seahawks, Everything clicked and all to the best soundtrack. 

My sister's pick is Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar. Remember the movie Legend of Billy Jean? 
Holy cow!

My mom's pick is Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. I can't help but think of some 80's sports movie, you know the athlete isn't supposed to amount to anything, but he's training harder than everyone else. And you know he's going to win the Gold. That or my mind goes to a Cheech and Chong movie. Either way, it's Springsteen. It's all good.

If you have a song to share, please do stop by! I'd love to add it to the playlist. Here's the youtube page with last year's playlist. Happy New Year! Let's make it a good one.