Category Archives: Ohio

I’ve Been a Bad Blogger

It’s true. But now I’m back! Allow me to reintroduce myself. Hi. I’m Amanda. This is my blog. I read stuff and write about it, or at least I’m supposed to. Or at least, I’m going to again.

You know what I’ve discovered? Writing a blog is a lot like going to the gym. You know how it is. You sign up for your gym membership with much enthusiasm, and you find a good routine. You may settle into this routine for months, maybe even a year. But then, one day, you make an excuse.

“This sore throat is just really bad, so I think I’ll stay home and get healthy.”

“I know my spinning class is tonight, but that coworker I’ve only talked to four times is having her birthday party at my favorite sushi restaurant, so I’ll just go to the Thursday class instead.”

“I don’t know anyone in the Thursday class, and it feels so awkward.”

“This Wii fitness is totally the same thing, and it’s in my living room where there are no skinny women to make me feel chubby.”

And then- voila!- it’s been four months and when you go back they’ve given your locker to someone else, and you don’t know any of the trainers anymore, and you huff and puff through all ten minutes on the treadmill that you can muster before passing out in the shower with a power bar and a Gatorade, totally exhausted.

Not that I speak from experience or anything.

Blogging is like that. For me, my gateway excuse was these people:

My family! Aren’t they just the cutest? I spent 12 whole days with them in my favorite of all places- Ohio! It was pretty chill and included a lot of time to relax, which had me dreaming of the eight books I was going to read and the multitude of amazing blogs I was going to write…and then, I went comatose. I went into a vacation, my-mom-is-taking-care-of-me-and-I-don’t-have-to-cook-or-clean coma. It was pitiful.

Then I came home. I tried to write a few blogs, but they were, to put it nicely, pure drivel. And then the excuse-a-thon began. I thought about blogging. I’d fall asleep at night composing tomorrows blog that was going to be my great comeback. And then tomorrow would come, and I’d just read instead, because I was tired, or my instant gratification bug would kick in and I’d watch TV instead.

But I’m back on the bandwagon now, and I may be a little flabby and out of practice, but dude, I have missed this blog! And I’ve missed my blog friends! And man-oh-man do I have a ridiculous amount of books to review!

These are the books that I’ve read:

Plus three e-books: Real Marriage by Mark& Grace Driscoll, Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan, and An Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson.

And these are the books that I’ve started, but for various reasons haven’t finished yet:

That top one is The Story of Charlotte's Web, for those of you who aren't magic and can't read pure light. Sorry about that. There's a window right behind my desk.

I’ll start reviewing all the ones I’ve read so far tomorrow. Promise.

For those of you keeping score, I’m a teeny bit behind where I should be. To be honest, I’ve been a little lazy on the reading front the last few weeks, so I’m trying to finish five books this week. And if I don’t stop blogging right now, I probably won’t get today’s books finished and get my dishes done. And if you saw my kitchen after a three-day weekend, you’d know just how dire this situation is. Speaking of which, I will not show you my icky kitchen, but I will show you the book of the day:

But more on that tomorrow.

PS: One last thing. A certain little someone has missed you too, and she wanted me to let you know.

Dear Mai Friens, Ai know you've missed me a whole bunches. Ai missed you too, when Ai wasn't sweeping or eating the tuna fishes. But never fears! Caturday draws nigh! Lub, Cambria

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Filed under Books, Cambria, Cats, Caturday, Odds and Ends, Ohio, writing

Stuff I’m Doing

1: Reading. A lot. I’ve got these little beauties either started or waiting in the wings:

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Plus a few e-books: Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll, Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan, and An Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson. That should hold me over for the next few weeks, and put me at eight total books for the month. I’m hoping to read a total of 10 books in January, but my birthday is today and I want to save room on the list for any birthday books I may receive.

2: Spending far too much time in Starbucks. We haven’t had Internet these last few weeks, so I’ve been writing and blogging from Starbucks. The older gentleman at the counter knows my drink by heart and almost remembers my name. (“Venti passion tea lemonade, sweetened, light ice for…Amber? Camilla? Miranda? No, don’t tell me. I’ll get it!”) I wish I could say I’m one of the cool kids who supports the fair trade, locally owned coffee shop, but it’s far far away, exorbitantly expensive, and crowded with people far more hipster and socially forward that I shall ever be, so I just come here instead.

3: Packing. We go to Ohio tomorrow to visit my family, my dog, and also my favorite used book store! But I’m more excited about the family, of course. Included in this packing process is how to make my Southern California wardrobe stretch and work for the Frozen North. I’m excited about the possibility of snow, and I actually miss the cold of my native Midwest, but I no longer have the wardrobe for it. I think I’m going to have to invest in a lot of warm leggings.

4: Finally taking down our Christmas tree. That poor tree is deader than MySpace and almost as unsightly, and it’s starting to bum me out.

5: Working on this. I love the idea of tiny, month-long resolutions, they seem so much more manageable than the grandiose, idealistic gestures people tend to make every New Years. Plus, I am notoriously bad about my writing schedule. I’ll go strong for three weeks, then do nothing for a month, or get distracted during my writing time and then stay up until all hours if the night scribbling like a mad woman. I may adjust some of the months to fit my own needs, but I think I’m going to do this. In fact, I’ve had two solid hours of uninterrupted writing time for the last three days already, and it feels really good. I also love the idea of reading a book on my craft every month. Any suggestions? I’ve read Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, (which I will probably re-read), and I own but haven’t yet read Stephen King’s On Writing.

6: Watching reruns of 30Rock in anticipation of the new season that premiers today! To summarize how 30Rock makes me feel, I quote the words of the great Liz Lemon: “I’m a star! I’m on top! Somebody bring me some haaaaaaaaaaaaam!” Amen.

7: Getting ridiculously excited over a new mop. I’m aware that I’m starring 25 in the face, and getting excited over a new mop does not bode well for me as I try to hang on to my last remaining scraps of youthfulness, but it’s just so shiny and fancy that I can’t help myself! I’m twenty-five, I’m a housewife, and I like my mop! Get over it, younger version of Amanda!

And I think that’s just about it. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five days. What about you guys? How are you doing with your resolutions and your reading? I’ll be back tomorrow to share reviews of my second and third books for the month, and probably some Cambria pictures, since it’s been awhile and her little diva feelings are getting hurt. And maybe, if I feel all fancy, I’ll blog from the plane on Friday.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Odds and Ends, Ohio, writing

Ohio

Today, I am missing home. Something about fall always makes me lonesome for my roots. I miss feeling the brisk early-autumn wind and knowing that the leaves will start their last dance soon. I miss being a little cold as I step outside in my sweater and boots. I miss actually needing a coat before my birthday. I miss the smell of fall in a place that has an abundance of trees, how it smells like wood smoke and decomposing leaves and cold, with just the teeniest hint of cinnamon. I miss the way autumn sunsets are crisp and clear and always arrayed in fiery oranges to match the leaves. I miss my mama’s pumpkin roll and strolling with my father through the evening mist, my small, cold hand enveloped in his large, always-warm one. I miss Big Ten football. I love my California life, but some days I just miss my home-home. I miss my Ohio.

Autumn in one of my favorite places: The Hocking Hills.

But if I scrunch my eyes closed in just the right way, I can hear the geese as they fly South, I can smell the cold as it creeps under the door frame, I can see my dad mowing the lawn one last time through my bedroom window, and even from three-thousand miles away, I feel the peace of home wash over my bones. I wrote this little something that follows while I was home this summer, when I didn’t have to imagine.

*****

The earth I tread is called “Ohio.”
I don’t know what God calls it, except for maybe “mine.”
I called it home once, and now I
walk here with a happy heart and muddy shoes-
a familiar visitor passing a night in the spare room

of a house I sold to finance my adventures.
I have learned a truth that cannot be told, only
tripped upon and thus found: You cannot know the worth of Ohio until
you have traded her for magic beans and found
them unable to deliver any fancy equal to their price.

The adage is true: home is never the same once your dig
up your roots.  The earth I tread
is called “Ohio.”
I do not know what God calls it,
but I pronounce it blessed.

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Filed under Ohio, Poetry