Test of Time

There is nothing like the naming of something to test my creativity.

Today’s assignment is to consider my blog title and tagline. My first reaction to this assignment was a swift oh heck no.

Do you know how much time and how many iterations it took to arrive where I am? This blog has been in existence for years and I still remember how much time and effort it took for me to come up with a name and tagline that I liked. And you know what? I still second guess it occasionally.

This assignment is permission to second guess it.

On reflection, I really do like the name and tagline I have worked so hard to create. I like things with layers of meaning, which is what makes it so difficult for me to arrive at a name in the first place.

As my About page says, vivace con brio is Italian, typically used as a tempo guideline for musicians. As a musician, that appeals to me. It is a pace that is lively and spirited, which is how I would like to live my life. It’s not flashy or obvious; it requires thought and research to understand. Neither am I a flashy person. I like things to be understated and elegant. Plus the name is not limited to one point in time in my life to be outgrown when that phase passes. Life is always moving forward.

Perhaps the tagline could be improved, but I’m not inclined to change it. Life goes by at a fast pace and this blog is catching moments of them. I do not write about everything, but about select moments: humorous anecdotes, lessons learned, books read. They are moments in time, pieces of a life, but not all of it.

hello world, it’s been a while

WordPress does an excellent job of teaching the art of blogging. Emails regarding Blogging 101 keep appearing in my inbox and fascinating me and I’ve finally decided to do it.

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted anything not for lack of desire, but for lack of creative topics and/or confidence in what I’m writing. Something structured like Blogging 101 is just the ticket to get the creativity flowing again!

Today’s assignment is to write a post about who I am and why I blog. While this program is meant for new bloggers, I think there is plenty here for everyone. Writing in general has appealed to me for years and this is a small, bite-sized version of something that seems impossible (although, since I’ve completed NaNoWriMo a novel isn’t so formidable).

I blog about a wide variety of subjects because my interests are varied. Also, I don’t feel I am enough of an expert in any one thing to put myself forward as a subject-matter expert. So I blog about my life: the things I like, the things I don’t, what I am learning, and I hope that someone else can find encouragement or inspiration in the lessons, struggles, and joys of my life.

One of the prompts for today’s assignment is “if you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?” For me, it is that someone would have found encouragement or hope through what I have to say.

It’s good to be back.

Who Wants to Outsource Cooking?

This girl!

Today’s prompt was: Would you ever want a personal chef, or do you enjoy cooking your own meals?

Would I ever want a personal chef? Emphatically YES!

I have never enjoyed cooking. Sure, there have been times when I had fun cooking with someone else, but usually only when it was planned in advance and we had lots of time, trying something new and slightly adventurous. Making lobster for the first time comes to mind…

Usually, I hate cooking. I’m too rushed, I don’t have time to look for new, interesting recipes, and I’m not good at just throwing things together. Me? I’m a baker*. I follow a recipe. I rarely just fly by the seat of my pants.

A cook would be so very appreciated around here. Someone else to plan the menu – ideally a healthy one – and do all the shopping and prep work? Amazing.

Still, I imagine an elusive someday when I have the time to plan menus and cook. It’s probably one of those somedays that will never happen but hey, I can dream!

*this is one of those conundrums: why is it that people are usually either a baker or a cook? Why not both?

Book Review – The Selection

Since I now have the opportunity to read a lot more while working at the library, it’s becoming harder to find books that interest me. Listening to books is different from reading them. When listening you can’t go back to repeat things or make notes in margins, all of which I like to do when reading nonfiction. This limits my selection but it’s also forced me to select books that I wouldn’t have heard of or tried.

One of those books is The Selection by Kiera Cass. It’s a book meant for teen readers and it’s a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. In The Selection, girls across the kingdom may apply to be part of the selection, a televised competition to become the prince’s wife. Selection comes with class and financial benefits for the families of those chosen. The story follows America, who was born into class Five, which is made up of artists. Food and money are scare for her family of musicians but not as bad as it is for Aspen, the boy she loves. When Aspen spurns her advances on the basis of her well-being, she applies to be part of the selection and is chosen. Her motivation is to get over Aspen and to benefit her family which allows her to be genuine with Prince Maxon. The Prince finds her honesty refreshing and keeps her at the palace in spite of her ignorance of politics and etiquette.

The Selection is the first of a trilogy; the second book, The Elite, continues the story. The One, the final book in the trilogy, is scheduled to be released this week. For people like me who enjoy continuing our favorite stories through fan fiction, there are several add-on novellas to enjoy.

There were moments in this story where I was annoyed by the drama. Reading books geared toward teenagers bears this danger and I realize that. In general, I enjoyed the story and the situations the characters find themselves facing. It’s an easy read. For someone who tends to get overly involved in fictional characters and feels their pain, this story was ideal. I’m looking forward to the release of The One, although I will probably have to go back and re-read the first two. Good thing I have a vacation coming up!

These comments are my opinion only.

How do you eat?

Prompt: Tell us how you eat: do you sit down to three meals, eat several small meals, or grab a granola bar on the run?

This was one of the prompts that caught my attention when I swiftly reviewed the list of daily prompts for May’s NaBloPoMo theme, mostly because it’s something I want to improve in my life.

Looking at my own eating habits, I have to cringe. I eat most of my meals in my car on the way to a job. When I’m sitting down to eat, odds are it’s at my desk and I’m working on the computer while I’m doing it. Even when I’m home to eat (maybe once or twice a week), I’m reading a book or email. The meal doesn’t always include vegetables, unless I’ve done a good job of planning ahead and cut them up the Sunday before or make a smoothie the night before. Sometimes, all it is a fruit and nut bar. Frequently, it’s take-out.

I’ve seen the positive results of actually sitting down for meals without the distractions of electronics. Last Christmas, I visited my parents and expected to gain weight over the week I was there. After all, I didn’t work out at all and I was drinking more than I usually do. But, to my surprise, that wasn’t the case. After looking back on my time there, I had to attribute this to the fact that we sat down to eat and talked to each other instead of watching TV or playing on a phone. It surprised me that such a small thing could make such a big difference. Other than not eating out, the meals weren’t that much different than what I would make for myself were I to make the effort.

Because my eating habits are mostly determined by my schedule, this isn’t something that’s easy to adjust. But it has made me more aware of what I do while I’m eating. It’s such a temptation to turn to a book or my phone because I nearly always eat alone, but I’m making an effort to put these things aside and just pay attention to what I’m eating. I read French Women Don’t Get Fat recently, and the author’s comments about paying attention to what you’re eating tied this all together for me.

This month, I’m not only looking forward to a vacation and seeing my family, but I’m looking forward to meals spent in the company of others, and not electronic gadgets. Hopefully this will help me to develop new habits of enjoying the food I eat and not just inhaling it on the way to the next activity.

What about you? Do you find yourself distracted during meal times?

Friday Favorites

There are many things on the way to Friday that are worth celebrating – some big, some little – and they deserve their own time. I’m taking some time again this week to highlight some of my favorite things and to be thankful for more than just the fact that it’s Friday.

This week, some of my favorite things were:

  • The way God sometimes hits me upside the head with answers. You asked for guidance and BAM! there it is, so big there is no way you can miss it.
  • The rain, washing away the dirt and salt of winter and making everything lush and green. The fact that rain means it’s too warm to snow is an added bonus. So is the free car wash.
  • Wonderful coworkers who commiserate during hard times and who are excited to share their experience and insight when they hear you’re looking into a new frontier (the transition from a PC to a Mac is a big deal, folks, and it requires a lot of research. At least for this girl).
  • The anticipation of seeing my entire family in one place for the first time in 18 months! Plus the opportunity to spend some quality time with a grandfather I haven’t seen in 2+ years. The next time I post this update, I will be with them in sunny CA!
  • My incredibly giving, unselfish roommate who brought home chocolate and flowers completely out of the blue, just because I had a hard week. Aren’t the beautiful?

Flowers

That Squeaky Wheel

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…just about four months. The desire has been there, rattling around periodically in the back of my mind, demanding attention, but work has been more demanding and you know what they say about the squeaky wheel.

May seems like a great time to get back into things. It’s warmer (sort of), the days are longer, and I will be on vacation for about half of the month, which means I’ll have more time to write! Interestingly enough, the last “real” post on this blog was before I came back from vacation. That might require some more thought… but another reason to start up again was the theme of May’s NaBloPoMo over at BlogHer. I’ve been thinking alot lately about what I eat and how I nourish my spirit and creativity and just have fun. So I’m going to challenge myself this month to work on the creative part of my life by blogging again. Here it goes!