Thursday, August 10, 2017

Life on the Internet is Not Always as it Seems

It’s barely 7 AM and after having a cup of coffee and sending my husband off to work with a kiss, I sat down to write a quick “to-do” list for the day—a list that has little to do with being a super-organized person and more to do with being overwhelmed by a billion little things that I keep forgetting to do.

My list for the day looks like this:

-         1 hour of beach
-          Buy chalk paint
-          Chalk paint rocking chair and hall table
-          Write, write, write!!!
-          Farmer’s market

If I were to place my list, written on a pretty pink notepad, down on my desk next to my cup of coffee and take a picture of it and post it to Instagram, it would leave some jealous of my day as they head out for their long, hot commute, and leave others feeling like this is the idyllic life they too should be in pursuit of.

#livingthedream #beachlife #crafting

The thing is: Life on the internet isn’t always as it appears.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am fully aware of how lucky I am to be able to work from home and write for a living. I am also incredibly grateful to have a husband that was willing to go on this amazing adventure of moving from the city to a beach town, especially since he works an hour away and doesn’t get to pop down to the beach for a quick dip before starting his workday. There is no question that I have it pretty good. So what’s the problem? Let me break down the reality of my list for you to show you how things aren’t always as they appear:

1 hour of beach – I’m forcing myself to get out of the house to try to unwind after a very stressful few months that included the loss of my mother and the loss of my brother’s foot after a motorcycle accident. These past few months also included shingles brought on by stress that have left me with permanent nerve damage to my face, and a virus and severe pain that landed me in the hospital a few days ago feeling like I was going to die. On top of that, I’ve been struggling with our choice to live here in this beautiful, quaint little town because I feel lonely and isolated since losing my mother and am painfully aware of the fact that most of those closest to me can’t be bothered to make the 45 minute to 1 hour drive to visit because they’re “crazy busy”. I’m (desperately) hoping that making the effort to spend a little more time at our beach and getting out and about in town will help me fall back in love with this place and our life here. I need this to feel like home again because since my mother died I don't feel like I have a real home anymore... if that makes any sense.

Buy chalk paint – I could probably go without the chalk paint but it gives me an excuse to drive to the store and get my grandmother out of the house. At almost 101 and feeling even more displaced than me after losing my mom (her daughter) and the only home she’s known since we brought her to Canada after my grandfather died; I feel a responsibility to try to make her happy and keep her as engaged as possible. She drives me insane most of the time, but unlike a lot of others who can’t see past her complaining, I completely understand how she can have it good, her great health, a safe home, and people who love her, but still feel lost and even hopeless at times.

Chalk paint rocking chair and hall table – I enjoy painting furniture and lately find it to be like cheap therapy with benefits. Its helps me clear my mind and get lost in the paint strokes, on occasion even allowing me to come up with the odd idea for my novel-in-progress. Reading about my day of chalk painting likely conjures up images of me in a cute, perfectly paint-splattered outfit, breathing new life into pieces that I picked up at the side of the road and brought home in my little hatchback or found at some sweet little antique shop off a lush country road while on a romantic day-tripping adventure. The truth is that these are pieces that belonged to my mom—just two of hundreds of things still crammed into a storage locker and hanging over my head. They’re not new or in pristine shape like all of the other things she worked so hard for only to have them sold to strangers or donated to a charity. They’re older and a little worse for wear, but things that I can’t bear to just throw away, so, instead I’m going to fix them and paint them in some cheery color to help them find a good home. Not to go all Freud or anything, but I couldn’t fix my mom or give her a good home in her final months because she was too ill to be cared for by me alone, so in an attempt to silence the guilt that screams at me at all hours of the day and especially at night, I’ll throw myself into loving and fixing these pieces of hers and make sure they end up with someone who will treat them right so they don’t go to waste.

Write, write, write – Along with the pressure to find work as a freelancer and build my client base back up after having to put work on the backburner often over the four years that my mom was living with terminal cancer, I also struggle to get into the right mind frame to write a witty rom-com whilst still dealing with the duties that come with handling her estate and fighting the flashbacks of her final days and the daily reminders of her absence that still knock the wind out of me like a surprise dropkick to the throat. I love what I do, but it’s far from easy on the best of days without having to deal with trips to banks, arguments with insurance companies, and a mountain of boxes and furniture packed in an expensive storage locker—a waste of her money that probably has my frugal mother rolling in her modest grave.

Farmer’s market – Well, a girl’s gotta eat and as the chef in the house, I need to feed my man. Besides, they have a food truck that sells fried chicken on a waffle. I think I’ve earned a little gourmet comfort fare, no?

When you’re scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook feed, remember that things aren’t always as they seem no matter how pretty the picture, how stylish the stationary, or how big the smile.

#BeKindForEveryoneYouMeetIsFightingABattle #TheGrassIsntAlwaysGreener #LoveYOURLife

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hello and My Summer Reading List

What better way to start fresh on my blog than with my summer reading list. A kitchen reno, a lot of turmoil for my family, and anything-but-beachy weather has made it hard to find the time to relax with a book, but the Amazon order has been placed and the books are coming, ready or not. My summer time reading preferences are always light and I could certainly use a break from the heavy and dramatic given the past few months around here. Most of what I’ve chosen is dreamy, funny, and perfect for the beach, if I can find enough time and sun. They’re not all new, but they’re new to me ;)

My Not So Perfect Life: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella - I mean, come on! It’s Sophie Kinsella. ‘Nuff said.

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme  - What can I say – I’ve watched Julie and Julia too many times when unable to sleep these past few weeks so I’ve got Julia Child on the mind. With my WIP being set in France, I consider this research which means I must read it.

Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage by Heidi Swain – As a writer and one who has been struggling to finish my first full-length novel, I can’t help but be in awe of and want to support a writer who has been so forthcoming and candid with her experience to a published author in the same genre and one who has been soooooo supportive of other authors and authors-in-the-making.  Did I mention her talent? Readers and writers should mosey on over to her blog.

Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing by Jennifer Weiner – Warning: More nauseating fangirling coming at you. It’s about Jennifer Weiner and written by Jennifer Weiner. It’s 
Jennifer-freaking-Weiner! How could I not read about the woman who had me at “Good in Bed”. I love her *said sappily as I dab the corners of my big, weepy, shit-brown, puppy dog eyes*

My Summer of Magic Moments by Caroline Roberts – Looks like a dreamy summer read that’s perfect for a gal whose desperate to get away and unwind but just can’t. I will live vicariously through Claire, the main character, at least for the days it takes me to read the book.

Will post a review of each of these as I get through them, which will hopefully be from a beach whilst sipping a glamorous cocktail and by glamorous cocktail I really mean beer cleverly disguised as coffee so as to not get arrested. Also, you can check out pics of my beaching, books, and other happenings in my life on my Instagram or Twitter accounts... if anyone is still actually visiting this horrendously neglected blog of mine.