Tag Archives: Spin Cycle

How I Conquered The Goldfinch {Spin Cycle}

A few months ago, it seemed like everyone was talking about The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. The description of the book sounded intriguing, so I put the e-book on hold at my library. The wait was long, and I finally got the book. However, I didn’t realize that it’s 771 pages long. I had two weeks to read it. Could I really finish it in only fourteen days?

I’m a fast reader and I don’t mind reading long books. Last summer, I reread The Lord of the Rings, which is well over a thousand pages, just for fun. However, reading a book that is familiar is easier than reading new material. Plus, I tend to read for enjoyment and am more of a literal reader. I don’t look for deeper meanings as I read. You might say I’m shallow.

I had one thing in my favor. It was the beginning of summer, and so I had more time to read than usual. I had a disadvantage, though…the book wasn’t catching my attention. I thought it would be more about the art world that it was. It was more about a 13 year old boy learning how to do drugs and build a lifetime of dependency on lying. I kept thinking as I read, “If only his mother were still alive!”

And perhaps that was the point of the whole book. I honestly don’t remember the flurry of words that happened at the end. But I do know that I was disappointed in the book as a whole. What kept me going was a determination to finish it before the library took it back. When an e-book is due, it disappears from my e-reader, and if I lost The Goldfinch, I was not going to check it out again. I was still desperately trying to finish the book on the day it was due. Somehow, I made it to page 771 and breathed a sigh of relief.

After finishing conquering The Goldfinch, I needed some light reading. My next book was Avenging Angel, by Nevada Barr. This book was familiar territory for me. I hadn’t read it before, but I’m a big Nevada Barr fan and have read most of her books.

There wasn’t much need to “conquer” Avenging Angel. I read it in two days! Good guys get the bad guys. Now that’s my kind of book.

Just this week, I was rewarded for my diligence. On the TV show The Good Wife, Alicia’s mother mentions The Goldfinch when she tries to change the conversation! I was like, “Hey! I read that!” as I watched the show.

What have you conquered lately? Spin it up and link up here!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)



Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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My Happy Place {Spin Cycle}

When I was going through cancer treatments, I tried to visualize a happy place to get me through the procedures. I started off by thinking about a grassy green meadow, with a blue sky above, and maybe some yellow flowers dotted throughout the grass. That happy place usually lasted only about five seconds, and then I would be distracted. I didn’t mind watching the phlebotomist draw my blood or the nurse pumping chemotherapy into my vein. It was actually a fascinating process, once I got over the fact that I had cancer.

My cancer treatments were completed long before I had Lily and Emmy. When Lily was little, she spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than many people have, and it had nothing to do with me. Before she was two, my brother was in a motorcycle accident and was in the hospital and rehabilitation for six months. Ed’s mom was in and out of the hospital due to rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Then after twenty-five years, my own mother’s cancer was back with a vengeance.

It was a rough few years. I cried a lot. Lily and Emmy saw me cry a lot, and since they were so little, a toddler and a preschooler, they asked me why I was crying.

How do you explain the ache that you feel when your own mother dies? It was an ache I couldn’t bear to talk about. When the tears came, Ed would tell the girls, “Go make your mother feel better.” And they would come over to me, hug me and give me sweet baby kisses.

They are my happy place. Forget the green meadow with the yellow flowers and the blue sky. If I am with my daughters, I am happy.

Alaska cabin window

There are times, however, when I need to get away from my children. It is nice to go to a conference or have a night away. Ever since we spent the night in this cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska, I’ve longed to go on a writing retreat. Wouldn’t this little cabin be the perfect happy place?

Whenever I do travel with Lily and Emmy, I always miss my babies. And I always know that as much as I enjoy being away, my happy place is waiting for me at home.

Where is your happy place and what does it look like? Thank you for inspiring the prompt this week, Tamara (Tamara Like Camera)!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)




Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 13 – Conquer}
{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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The Big Picture {Spin Cycle}

When I think about the “Big Picture,” I usually imagine a large picture window, clean, clear, and offering a wide, unobstructed view of the outdoors.

I’m a very visual person. When I was learning how to knit, written instructions were useless to me, and even the pictures that accompanied the directions left me frustrated. It wasn’t until I watched a video on the knitting and purling process that I finally understood where the yarn was supposed to go in relation to the knitting needles. I finally got the big picture of how to knit, you might say.

When I was frustrated with potty training my children (one of my least favorite things to do!) one of my friends reminded me that my kids would get it, eventually. “They won’t be wearing diapers to college!” she said. And of course she was right. They were both out of diapers by the time they went to preschool.

Sometimes it’s so hard to look at that big picture. Those little details sure do block the view.

The other day I told Ed that I just don’t feel like I’m doing anything with my life. That feeling isn’t new. I don’t really know how I have time to feel this way. I’m very busy mothering, volunteering and teaching. I even joined a gym and have actually been “working out.”

When my daughters are in college, will I wonder if I did anything with my life? I’ll look back, and I’ll remember all the homework I helped Lily with and the piano lessons I drove Emmy to; I’ll remember the concerts I attended and the way I tried to hide the joyful tears after my child’s performance. I’ll laugh over the agony of potty training and have difficulty cutting those apron strings.

The big picture window will be clear, and hopefully I’ll see that I did okay. And I’ll still be looking out that picture window to catch a glimpse of that even bigger picture….

What does your big picture look like? Link it up here, and be sure to visit our other Spinners!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)



Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 6 – Your Happy Place, inspired by Tamara Like Camera}
{week of Oct. 13 – Conquer}
{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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Fall {Spin Cycle}

It’s still dark outside. For a few weeks now, it’s been harder and harder for me to get out of bed. I’ve grown used to the sun shining into my bedroom windows, early in morning, and hearing the bird chirping outside and godforsaken hours of the day. My friend and I used to joke about the darkness. It happens every year; why does it surprise us?

In the evenings, if we don’t go outside right after dinner, it’s too dark to ride bikes or play at the park. The girls and I got home around 7:00 last night, and they begged me to ride their bikes in the dimness of the evening. It will be even worse when we change back to standard time from daylight savings time. We’ll barely be home from school when the darkness falls around 4:30!

Even though the nights have been cold and the furnace has gone off to heat the house, the days have been sunny and gorgeous. This September has been a blessing to us after an unusual chilly and rainy summer. If it wasn’t cold, it was hot, muggy and stormy. Summer seemed to go by way to fast, but when Ed and I were thinking about all the things we did, we packed a lot into those three short months!

Yesterday, Lily and Emmy didn’t have school. I thought we should soak up fall and go apple picking! I still had to teach preschool in the morning, so the girls and I grabbed a quick lunch in the car and headed up to Woodstock, Illinois, to All Seasons Orchard. When we arrived, we saw several school families that had had the same idea, only they were leaving as we were arriving! During the week, not as many activities are open (no pony rides) but that meant tickets were a little cheaper and there weren’t as many people around. Oh, yes, apple picking is more than just picking apples. It’s getting lost in a corn maze, jumping on a huge outside pillow, and going down the tallest slide in the world. Well, maybe it wasn’t the tallest slide in the world, but it was definitely fun!

We did also pick apples and eat apple cider donuts. I took loads of pictures that are still on my camera. We drove home at rush hour, but fortunately we were going the right direction (east) and the Chicago rush hour traffic was going west. Ed was at a meeting last night, so I treated the girls to dinner out (I didn’t feel like cooking anyway!), we went home, rode bikes, took showers and went to bed. At least the girls did. When Ed got home from his meeting I rushed off to book club.

So. There are no pictures to go with this post. I will share them with you soon!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)

Did you write a Spin about Fall? Link it up here!



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What If I Had Never Moved? {Spin Cycle}

When I was twelve years old, my parents announced that we were moving. Dad had a new job, and so we were packing up and moving to the ‘burbs. Just as you would expect a moody sixth grader to react, I instantly resented my father for taking a new job. He was ruining my life!

It took a long time to adjust our new town. Junior high school was horrible, and I cried at my eighth grade graduation because I felt like I had no friends. High school was a little better, but not much. Going off to college, however, was great. I loved being a college student!

As the years go by, however, I realize how much I gained from this move from a small town to the city. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have attended high school with such a great academic reputation. Maybe I wouldn’t have been accepted into the university I wanted to attend, the university I ended up loving. Without such a good education, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to get my Master’s degree at another university while I was working full time.

When I was in high school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unlucky, huh? But now we lived in the city where my mom could see the best doctors and get the best care. So when I was diagnosed with cancer 13 years later, I was referred to amazing doctors who gave me the best care as well.

Back when I was twelve, there was a boy who was much older than I was. He was sixteen. When I went to high school, he went to college. I knew of him, but I didn’t know him. He knew of me, but he didn’t know me. Both of us went to the same church on and off through the years. Finally, when we were both in our 30’s and still unmarried, we went out for breakfast after church.

Now we’ve been married for twelve years and have two children. What if we hadn’t moved when I was twelve years old? Would Ed and I have met?

It turns out my Dad didn’t ruin my life after all.


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)



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