What I’m Into: May 2014

Linking up today with Leigh Kramer’s  “What I’m Into” series.

Oh May, you are ending in a funky place.

I am living in the inhale right now, waiting for a day soon to let out a glorious exhale. This feels like the period of waiting I have been conditioning for my whole life. It’s a wall-sit in PE class, and I am waiting for the wind-suited gym teacher to blow the whistle releasing my quaking thighs.

I am between homes, between marital statuses, between careers, mid-physical healing, awaiting my mom’s mammogram results–just in general flux. In the meanwhile, I am living with dear friends in a room best described as Harry Potter’s room with his Aunt and Uncle if it were big enough to be charming and they loved him and made him coffee every morning.

Besides my cozy hovel, here are some other things I’m digging in May….

Read and Reading

photo-54I finish few books; I read a lot of introduction’s, author notes, and beginnings this year—lets just say, the karma’s not looking good for this wannabe writer.

This month, I’m focusing in on two titles, one fiction and one non-fiction, determined to add some entries to “Ms. Bazzoli’s Reading Log.” I posted the chart in my classroom to inspire my special education students to read more, but it ended up just shaming me and making them overly confident in the number of books they finished this year.

Daring Greatly

After the universe pelting me with recommendations to read or listen to Brene Brown, including my shrink practically prescribing her books to me, I finally cracked open my copy of Daring Greatly over spring break. This woman is a literal expert on most of my mental issues, so things looked promising from the introduction.

And they’re not just my personal mental issues, they’re just general human issues. I’m so thankful for the words this researcher has to offer. This book accompanies transition well; it helped me jump-start a lot of conversations with myself and with god that I had been avoiding for fear-based reasons. So many new lists and dreams scribbled in my writer’s notebook as a result of this book.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Long before meeting my fiancé Drew, I imagined the romance of re-reading this classic with a boyfriend someday.

When I read it my freshman year of high school, I dog-eared the text as something I thought I might deeply understand or appreciate better at a time in life without pop quizzes after nightly chapter assignments.

Drew and I chip away at the text across the months of our relationship and honestly, unlike most romantic fantasies, this one has not disappointed.

We’ve hit a bit of a stalemate as this book reads best with a summer breeze, but I have high hopes to finish as the air warm ups and the mosquitos start nipping.

The writing of the charactphoto-55ers in this book…gah! It makes me want to name my kids, or at least my dogs, after the whole Finch family. Drew makes fun of my writer’s exaltations at the end of each chapter, because Harper Lee has truly mastered the chapter ending. Each reads as a lullaby, gently lowering you out of the world of the chapter, inviting you to sit and savor the world of Maycomb County.

Also Atticus Finch, who I will forever picture as Gregory Peck, steals my heart. That man….

The Book On Deck…

Consider the Lobster

 As I begin to blog, I have been recalling many David Foster Wallace essays assigned in college, so this book is on deck after I, god willing, complete any books in 2014. I am eager to learn about my craft from reading this one and probably laughing a lot.

Television

Call The Midwife

I’m a far better evangelist for this show than I ever have been for my faith. Since Memorial Day Weekend, I have spread the good news to anyone who will listen.

This show prompts so many questions in my head and provides layers of things for me to think about, which I love.

Call The Midwife As a teacher in Chicago Public Schools, I enjoy exploring how poverty fleshed out in a different time and a different country. In the era portrayed in the show, the generation that grew up in workhouses is aging and dying. This dynamic and social phenomena particularly grips me. While for Jenny Lee, the protagonist, the workhouses are part of a Dickinsonian past, the horrific experiences continue to haunt many of the elderly poor in her community.

The show causes me to think about the interplay of faith, compassion and serving others despite disagreement with life choices. I am pleased with the portrayal of the church; the sisters who run the maternity clinic accept a world with many grey areas, and I like navigating that world along with the characters.

Also important to note, I love the outfits and the character Chummy, because both are wonderful.

Movies

Nebraska

I watched this movie on bed rest. Twice.

In fact when tnebraska_movie-450x671he on-demand rental ran out in the last 30 seconds, I rented it again just to make sure my mom saw that last little bit, because I liked it so much, especially the last scene.

Aging parents, dignity, hometowns, the mundane, sassy old ladies, heritage, baggage

The plot moves slow, but for those who enjoy a character-driven piece, I say go for it.

 

Music

I tend to fixate on songs.

I get stuck on one track and play it on repeat over and over till one day, when I’m ready, I finally hit the next button.

I take songs captive and apply them to my current season, and when I find one that provides the perfect soundtrack to the melancholy ride to work or that pins down my wriggling doubts with a fitting lyric, I am hooked. Here are a few that I’ve been wearing grooves in this May:

Christa Wells

“Keep Your Eyes Open”

ChristaWellsI met Christa Wells last summer teaching at Masterpiece arts camp. I first heard her music on the ride down to Kentucky, where the camp is located. Christa has the unique ability to punch me in the gut with her lyrics and particularly encourage me through hard times.

 

It happened in the car last summer, and it happened again last week when I heard her play at a house show: gut punching, tear inducing. You know, that moment when you’re like, “HAVE YOU BEEN READING MY DIARY!?!”

Christa is a songwriter with a capital WRITER. Her lyrics read like stories and poems, uniquely interacting with human experience while still having lovely melodies.

Christa thinks a lot about her craft and dialogues about what it means to be an artist. Because of this, I find that her songs particularly strike the heart of fellow artists.

Drew and I claimed this song for our current season of life, which echoes with slammed doors and bruises from running into dead ends. This song encourages the glass-half empty thinker not to retreat from life’s disappointment, but to keep your eyes open for the inevitable hope that promises to come eventually.

If we walk away with head hung low, we miss the light.

Nickel Creek

“Where is Love Now?”

No band has followed me through quite as many eras as Nickel Creek. When they announced their reunion tour and new album, I was all in. I had the privilege of fawning over them earlier this month at their sold-out show in Chicago.

I cannot stop listening to this song. Musically, lyrically–I’m all in. As I listen, I imagine pulling a string whose end I can’t see, and pulling and pulling to try to find it.

Things I Love

Estate Sales

photo-56

As we look toward the lease starting in our little home in August, I have returned to scouting out estate sales for treasures to put on feature walls and bookshelves.

At garage sales people sell what they want to get rid of, whereas estate sales offer what people held onto ’til the very end of their life.

I thrill at finding amazing vintage tables and chairs, framed floral prints, and hand-embroidered pillow cases, but I love the stories most of all. The best one is written all over the house; the carefully set up garage workshop re-using Skippy peanut butter jars to organize different sized nails and screws, the kitchen ceiling wall-papered in yellow gingham, the handwritten narrative of raising a child with special needs in the 1950’s, the saved programs from visits to the famous Chicago ballrooms during the big-band era .

Once I get hooked on the story of the family, I start picking up things I cannot bear ending up in a dump, sheet music with romantic annotations, hand-knit baby sweaters, and just so many handmade aprons. I am excited for more estate sale adventures this summer, since I’m on a mailing list. We may end up running out of space for all the clocks with numbers in cool fonts and one-of-a-kind kerosene lanterns, but for now estate sales remain a Saturday morning well spent.

In the Blogosphere

I’m just wetting my toes at the edge of the blogosphere, and boy do I feel like a greenhorn. I feel I have entered a discussion at the dinner table mid-sentence, and I only wish I had heard the beginning, but developing my blog-roll has exposed me to so many stories and so many voices doing brave and important work on their blogs. Here are a few posts that have stuck with me.

Cookies For Jesus: A Club For The Very Worst Christians

by Lily Dunn

 Scarcity Hunter

by Abby Norman

The House We’ve Built: A Marriage That Lasts

by Briana Mead

Holly Laurent On Passion, Persistence, and Finding Your Own Path

by Holly Laurent (on People and Chairs)

On the Blog

Well, I feel the blog has been “Very Revealing” as promised.

I just passed my blogs one-month birthday, and I need to remember to be proud of this.
Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 8.47.37 AM I am writing. Regularly.

So regardless of my temptation to measure success by a thousand other units, I am choosing to realize how much of a victory this one month of writing has been.

And the best part: I am eager to write more, and find myself wanting to slip away throughout the day to pen down ideas and swap around paragraphs.

Some topics I covered this month: my mustache, how I don’t get happy when other people get blessed, my ex-boyfriend and under the bed storage, my secret life in khakis, the taco bell breakfast menu, my craft beer enlightenment, my habit of fast-forwarding to the end of movies, learning how to run (for the third time), being naïve before my wedding day, and a few other odds and ends.

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 8.41.44 PM

Thanks for popping by, I am so enjoying this venture, and your presence here on my little space of the internet truly makes me grateful!

  • Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! And congratulations on your month-aversary! 🙂 I enjoyed your list today. And I especially love your description of the difference between estate sales and yard/garage sales. I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on why I like estate sales better, but you nailed it. Check out what I’ve been into at: http://www.alivelyhope.com/2014/05/what-im-into-may-2014.html.

    • Thanks for dropping by Heidi! I am excited to head over to your blog…. right now!

  • I’m loving all the great reads on Leigh’s linkup! It’s so great to connect with bloggers–new faces and veterans. 🙂 I’ve only been officially blogging for a few months, and I love what you said about being proud of consistently writing, despite the temptation to measure with a thousand other measuring sticks. I decided I wanted my blog to be “a space where I’m challenged to create.” So I want to work at it, to be challenged to push myself, but I also want to remember that it’s about creating something to share.
    Also–I loved hearing Brene Brown speak, and I’m eager to read her book as well. And Nickel Creek! Oh, I loved them in college. I’ve been seeing them around again but haven’t taken time to listen. You’ve inspired me to check out their music again!

    • You must check out their new stuff Naomi! Also, I am so refreshed to hear your challenge to yourself to create! I will be thinking of you as I challenge myself to do the same! Hope we cross paths again on the world wide web : )

  • I finally read Daring Greatly a couple of months ago and loved it. I saw Brown speak a couple of years ago and it changed me life. I don’t know why I waited so long to read one of her books! I’m jealous you got to see Nickel Creek. Both shows at the Ryman sold out in seconds, which broke my heart. Glad you’re finding good treasures at estate sales!

    Thanks for linking up with What I’m Into!

    • Thanks for dropping by Leigh! I am so excited to have joined the “What I’m Into” community. Thanks for encouraging writers to dialogue and collaborate! Love it to the moon and back!

  • Welcome to blogging! It is a really great hobby and the community is always changing and growing

  • Pingback: What I'm Into: Blue Chairs, Giant Art, and Old Men In Nebraska - Briana Meade()

  • I love your intro video! What an awesome idea!!! I feel like I’ve met a kindred spirit – To Kill a Mockingbird is my very favorite book and movie of all time! Daring Greatly changed my life – and I feel like I need to re-read it again soon. Congratulations on one month of blogging! I’m getting close to reaching my first year – and it has been a wonderfully creative and growing journey!