Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo Recap

And here it is, the last day of #NaBloPoMo! We made it, my blogging friends.

I think this is the first year where I’ve blogged every single day of November. There were certainly quite a few days when I didn’t feel like writing (I was dealing with a bad cold for more than two weeks) or was drawing a blank about what to write about. In those cases, I dusted off a post that had been lingering in Drafts. At first I felt guilty about doing so, but I usually did some editing or updating to it, so it definitely counts.

There were some positive aspects as well as some challenges with NaBloPoMo 2017.

The Challenges

One of my goals for NaBloPoMo was to reduce the number of posts in Drafts. Alas, that didn’t happen as much as I’d hoped because I currently have 235 such posts. That’s exactly one less than I started with on November 1.

Before NaBloPoMo, I had been doing well with my self-imposed rule of logging off the computer by 9 p.m. and getting to bed at a reasonable hour. That went out the window this month in exchange for staying up late and working on a post. I miss reading in bed before going to sleep; it’s such a nice little ritual (even if I only read one paragraph before falling asleep!).

And speaking of reading, all this blogging made me a bit of a slacker on that front. I only read two books in November so I need to get caught up on quite a few review and library books, especially if I’m going to make my Goodreads goal of 50 books for the year (I’m currently at 44.)

I don’t think I reduced my Facebook time by much. Maybe I’m beyond hope in that regard.

The Positives 

NaBloPoMo helped with my perfectionistic writing tendencies. There were several posts that I thought could have been better but I hit publish anyway. The Blessings of a Blue Thanksgiving was one of them, yet you seemed to like it — apparently, it resonated with so many of you.

I discovered new-to-me blogs through NaBloPoMo and re-discovered some others.

I found myself able to generate content ideas again. I found myself consciously thinking of what I should/could/wanted to blog about and kept a running list of ideas in my planner.

What’s Ahead in December? 

I won’t lie; I’m looking forward to not having to blog every day! Yet I still want to keep my posting momentum going, even with the busy-ness of the season. #AMonthofFaves will help with that — this fun way of recapping the year is back for its 4th year and is hosted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in December by GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge .

 

 

 

 

 

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wordless wednesday

waiting for us at the end of a long drive tonight.

spending the evening laughing and looking at old photos with the girl.

#nablopomo resumes tomorrow.

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Nonfiction November – Nov 20-24: Nonfiction Favorites

This week (Nov. 20 to 24), Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey with the topic of Nonfiction Favorites: We’ve talked about how you pick nonfiction books in previous years, but this week I’m excited to talk about what makes a book you’ve read one of your favorites. Is the topic pretty much all that matters? Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love? Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

Is the topic pretty much all that matters?

Definitely not. While there are certain topics that I tend to gravitate towards (basically the subjects I write about here on this blog), I’d like to think that I have a broad range of interests when it comes to nonfiction reading.

Are there particular ways a story can be told or particular writing styles that you love?

I think that, with any story, it needs to engage the reader. That’s the most important thing, really. I’m merciless when it comes to DNF books; if I’m not hooked within the first 50 pages (sometimes less) then I have no qualms about abandoning the book. That goes for fiction, nonfiction, whatever.

When I think about preferred writing styles, I’m drawn most to creative nonfiction. I love Creative Nonfiction, the literary journal. Among my writerly bucket list items is to be published in CNF one day.

Do you look for a light, humorous approach or do you prefer a more serious tone? Let us know what qualities make you add a nonfiction book to your list of favorites.

So many factors go into whether a particular nonfiction book will be one that catches my eye. It can be anything from the subject matter to the author to the setting. It really varies. You can find some of my nonfiction favorites on my Book Reviews – Nonfiction page.

 

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this is a week for the birds

Milburn Orchards, Elkton, MD. August 2010. Photo by Melissa Firman.

So, here’s what I’m staring down during the week ahead.

You ready?

The Boy and The Girl’s 16th birthdays.

(I have no gifts purchased and zero ideas, especially for The Boy, and no money for an “experience” gift, like a weekend in New York or something like that.)

A major holiday involving a 6 hour drive (each way) across T**mpsylvania.

(That would be Thanksgiving, complete with multiple helpings of stress and several people who aren’t talking to us.)  

The two-year anniversary of The Husband’s seizure during Thanksgiving Dinner 2015 and me reviving him on the bathroom floor.

(Of which we’re still dealing with lingering physical, cognitive and emotional effects. Us, not the bathroom floor.) 

And just for good measure, my 30 year high school reunion!

(My high school years were … well, you can read about them in my post “25 Year Later. It Gets Better.” It says something that this is the event I’m most looking forward to this week.) 

On top of which (yeah, there’s more) the weather is total crap (raining, cold, windy, snow) and I’ve had a cold since Wednesday. I’m at that stage where I’m convinced I’ll be sick forever. This has turned into a sinus headache from hell.

The only thing to do is all that I can do in these scenarios:

Breathe.

Do what I/we can, in whatever way works for me/us.

Don’t obsess over what we can’t control.

Focus on the positive aspects. (Neither kid wants a car for their 16th birthday nor has any interest in driving yet! Now that’s something I’m thankful for.)

Breathe.

Abandon expectations and all notions of “the way it was/should be/could have been.”

Reduce social media time.

Make sure to get enough sleep.

Breathe.

Again.   

And again. 

 

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Nonfiction November – Nov 13-17: Become the Expert

This week for Nonfiction November, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness  (who happens to be one of my very favorite book blogging friends) invites us to either Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert by either sharing three or more books on a single topic that we have read and can recommend (be the expert), put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that we’ve have been dying to read (ask the expert), or create our own list of books on a topic that we would like to read (become the expert).

As I tend to do, I’ve been way overthinking this.

(Overthinking, now’s that’s something I’m an expert in.)

While I wouldn’t call myself an expert, there are certain subjects I tend to gravitate towards in my nonfiction choices.

Autism.

Politics and current events.

Death.

Feminism.

Mindfulness and spirituality.

Food.

LGBTQ issues.

I could easily and happily recommend three books to you on any of the above topics. (Feel free to ask me in the comments if you need a suggestion.)

But an expert?

Nah.

Since I believe there’s always more to learn about a subject, I’ll go with Door #3.

Become the Expert.

Recently, I’ve been seeking out books about the workings of the brain. I don’t mean a neuroscience textbook; rather, I’m very curious to learn more about memory and how trauma affects our memories. In addition to autism, our family has been impacted by dementia, depression and anxiety, migraines, and PTSD. I’m interested in reading more about all of these. A lot of lifestyle issues — sleep, exercise, food, stress, connection with others — are crucial to our brain health and our overall well-being.

A few books on this topic that I’m interested in reading include:

The Inheritance: A Family on the Front Lines of the Battle Against Alzheimer’s Disease 
by Niki Kapsambelis

Earlier this summer our library hosted Niki for a talk and book-signing. The Inheritance focuses on the DeMoe family. Of the six DeMoe children, five have inherited the genetic mutation that causes early onset Alzheimer’s; the sixth, Karla, has inherited the responsibility for all of them. But rather than give up in the face of such news, the DeMoes have agreed to spend their precious, abbreviated years as part of a worldwide study that could utterly change the landscape of Alzheimer’s research and offers the brightest hope for future treatments—and possibly a cure. Much of this research is happening right here in Pittsburgh.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
by Matthew Walker, PhD.

In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s
by Joseph Jebelli

Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remember What Matters Most
by Daniel G. Amen

How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain
by Lisa Barrett Feldman

Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia 
by Gerda Saunders

 

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Nope

Art project, by The Girl.

Shared here on the blog with her permission.

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Book Review (by The Husband): Grant, by Ron Chernow

The Husband made his debut in Shelf Awareness yesterday as a published book reviewer. He took on the mammoth tome (more than 1,100 pages!) that is Ron Chernow’s Grant.

You can find his review here.

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