Monday, September 8, 2014

The Ten Book Challenge...

Have you ever gone months without posting anything on your blog and then wake up one morning and just feel like picking it up again as though nothing happened?

I have...

I was recently nomination for the Ten Book Challenge by my sister on Facebook. I guess I'm supposed to choose ten books that have stayed with me over the years and somehow shaped who I am in some manner. 

My first thought about that is how on earth can someone only choose ten books? Then, as I read the titles of her list, I wanted to know why and how those books shaped her. That's not something a person can really discuss on a Facebook status, is it? Not that she needs to; I'm sure it can be an incredibly personal experience and not all of us are over sharers like myself. So if I happen to nominate you for this Ten Book Challenge, feel free to do as you will with it. This is just how I choose to share.

But before I wow you with my existential depth and make you totally wish you were my best friend because my list is truly incredible, allow me to nominate the following persons to also come up with a list to share with us little folk (you know who you are): DB, Sunshine, Tess, Jenn, Kate, Bridgete, Debbie, Becky, Kim and Lindsey.

The following may be numbered, but are really in no particular order as to their importance to me:

1) 1984: I don't know if I need to explain to anyone why this book means anything to me. If you don't it. Phrases like Big Brother, New Speak, Thought Police and Double Think and other Orwellian spookiness exist today because of George Orwell and this book. This book is at least partially responsible for the way many folks these days feel it's so important to question our American government so thoroughly. Read it and wonder how prophetic it just might be...

2) The Grapes of Wrath: I never had a very good history teacher (Sorry, Sammy). I didn't learn a lot about the depression, the dust bowl or the great migration west in search of jobs and food. Life was just fucking tragic back then and books like this just remind us all how good we really have it these days. Oh, and Steinbeck is a master at stringing sentences together in a way that makes your brain see them in color.

3) David Copperfield: My favorite book EVER. That is all.

4) Lamb. The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal: Go ahead, call it sacrilege if you must, but it's a good book. It's hilarious, in fact. Some of us non-religious types really want to know what happened to all of those unaccounted for years in the life of Jesus...and well, Christopher Moore has made a very good attempt at filling in those blanks. Yes, we all know it's fiction and not real, but do you?...don't be mad. Just read it and laugh.

5) The Bell Jar: Would you like a glimpse into the mind of a depressed individual trying to live a normal life? Much of life, for many people, is nothing but pretend. The fake it till you make it approach, if you will. And then sometimes a soul decides they can't fake it anymore. Believe it or not, this book actually helped me through a very tough time. Considering I spent the first half of my life surviving various shades of depression; I'm very grateful for Sylvia Plath's bravery.

6) The Clan of the Cave Bear (the full Earth's Children series): Despite Jean Auel's attempts to make new readers who may have picked up the series in the middle more comfortable by rambling and over describing things...a lot, this is still one of my favorite series to read. I read the whole thing about once a year. Ayla is my fucking hero and I love her. If I had a daughter I would've named her Ayla. She's a strong woman who survives in a world where she probably shouldn't simply because no one has ever told her that she can't. We can all take a lesson from that. 

7) Autobiography of a Yogi: Yes. Because I'm a dirty, free loving, tree hugging hippie. But seriously, this book changed my life when I read it. I don't recommend it to everyone because of the spiritual aspect, but if you should find a copy in your hands then you might want to take that as a sign. We all start where we are, right?

8) A Study in Scarlet: I bought a very old copy in a used book store when I was about ten years old and I've been Sherlocked ever since.

9) Illusions. The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah: Ahhh....more new agey goodness from my youth. Richard Bach, ladies and gentlemen. Let's give him a round of applause for being there when I needed that spiritual feeling without the glass ceiling that comes with organized religion.

10) The Fault in Out Stars: Have you ever read this blog post? No? Well, give it a perusal right now and then go read this shit if you haven't already. Seriously. Bring tissues and a fluffy pillow and make sure your best friend is available when you need to call them and cry at the end.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hey strangers...

Hi, dear readers. Did you miss me? I haven't blogged in a few months...almost four big, long months. It's not that I've been particularly busy or that my life hasn't been exciting or anything (because it totally has), I just haven't felt the need to express myself with the written word for some reason.

I mean really, what do I have to say that is so important that I have to express it in print for anyone with internet access to see...ever? Or maybe what any of us has to say doesn't necessarily have to be deemed important to anyone except ourselves. Maybe all we need is to be able to write what we feel behind the anonymity of the internet what we can't say out loud to any other human being in person. Maybe the world of computers, smart phones, email and texting has finally stunted humanity's communication skills. I blog because it's cathartic. I get to write amateur prose, share recipes I've created and ramble on about things that will never make the evening news and I don't have to worry what anyone else will think of me for it because I have the power to ignore comments from internet trolls and go on with my other life (the one that doesn't occur in The Cloud) as though this one is utterly and completely private...even though it's not. Not even close. Nothing on the internet is private, kids.

But enough of that malarkey. Here's what's up, amigos: I am moving this coming Saturday. We are buying a lovely Victorian style townhouse about two miles from where we currently live. The property managers were going to raise our rent, once again, and unless they planned on doing some major upgrades to our appliances, the building and the property, that was completely unacceptable for this 700 square foot ground level apartment. We could either keep paying the man or we could start paying a mortgage and invest in ourselves.

The new place is almost twice the square footage, has two large bedrooms with their own bathrooms, plus a half bath downstairs. It also has a small back patio with room for a garden and a recently remodeled kitchen about four times larger than our current galley style kitchen. Plus, we won't have to share three washers and dryers with about fifty strangers. Oh, happy fucking day!

The last three weeks have been spent window shopping for washers, dryers and couches, and prepping and packing for our move next week. Lord help me; five more days until we move and start the unpacking. It's amazing how much crap a person can accumulate in six years. Live minimally, people. You will be happier when you have to move and you'll save a lot of money on all of that shit you don't really need and will never use anyway.

All of that said, I promise I will make an effort to blog more often. Really. I'll try.

Until then,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I came across this little gem on Facebook yesterday when a friend of mine posted it on her wall with a call for volunteers to participate with her. I'm a sucker for shit like that so I took a running leap onto that train and registered pretty much right away.

I'm on day 2 and more than a couple of people have already asked me how I can expect to be happy for 100 days in a row....well, I can't, but that's okay because I don't really have to. I just have to notice things that make me happy. Even when I'm being a ginormous, grumpy bitch...and that's a lot lately because I have first world problems and stuff.

When I notice these happy things I should take a picture of them or something that represents them and then publicly post them on my chosen social media platform (Facebook for me, but there are other options) with my designated hashtags, #100happydays and #gingercooke. I do this once a day for 100 days in a row and voila! Coolness.

Why would anyone do this? Let me count the ways: 1) I like fru-fru shit like this, 2) I like taking and posting pictures of stuff anyway, 3) Noticing things that make me happy is not a bad thing, 4) It's positive and sometimes the world needs a bit of that.

Want to see my pictures? If you go to Facebook and search for #gingercooke you will find them. Searching for #100happydays will show you other people's pictures with that tag as well. I also tag with the day if you want to get super specific though: e.g. #Day1 or #Day75.

So first, visit and sign up if you are so inclined. Then come visit me and we will have so much fun together. Yay!