I’ve been trying to spend less time on Facebook, but it’s not because I’m working or too busy. The truth of the matter is that to get to my Facebook page I have to go through my personal page, and I’ve basically come to hate most of the people with whom I’m “friends.”
Seriously. So annoying. Part of the problem is that I found most of these people back when my best friend and I were in charge of the high school reunion. Before then, I was never on Facebook. Now it’s like I’ve been sucked into a whirlpool of malcontent.
By all means, call me an idiot for having a different opinion. Nothing could make me happier! Unless, of course, you attach a meme with bad words and a picture of a cat releasing it’s bowels all over a keyboard to hammer home the point that you think what I believe is crap. I won’t even judge you for using such literal imagery. (Hahaha, yes I will.)
If I ever post about something that happened 6 months ago, by God someone better chime in and remind me that it was actually 3 months, 12 days, and 4 hours ago or I’m going to be very disappointed in the Facebook police.
Always, always, always tell me how I could be a better mother. I really need your help on this because I think as a woman who has never met my children, you might be able to provide a “fresh set of eyes.”
I don’t care what you think about the other candidate.
Two weeks ago I almost deleted my Facebook account. Some friends convinced me to keep it because if I delete my personal account, I lose my blog page. “I remember to read your blog when a post of yours shows up in my feed.” I get that, but if she only reads my blog when I remind her, maybe I’m keeping her from doing something more important. I don’t need to be reminded to read the blogs that really speak to me and my life at the moment. I don’t want to add unnecessary noise to anyone’s life.
For these reasons and more, I’ve been slowly moving away from Facebook and going back to Twitter. It’s easier for me to reply to people when I’m on break at school and I don’t have to deal with people I want to throttle or run the risk of getting roped into another War of the Words.
After only a few days back on Twitter, I’ve been directed to some great links!
Rebecca sent me this one on the “All About that Bass” video. Go ahead and have a little clicky-poo, all you visiting readers from the Collective Haters of the Internet, LLC. And while you’re at it, go reread the post you hated so much. I put it back up and added a few comments.
I found out a lot of people like and use doTERRA essential oils. I swear by quite a few of the oils and I was able to search and find a few other users. Facebook is actually a better place for reading doTERRA stuff but, again, trying to avoid Facebook.
Twitter isn’t perfect, of course. People can turn on you quickly. My brother says Twitter can be a medieval stockade but with blue birds instead of rotten vegetables. He has a point, but that can be said of all social media.
I wonder what would happen if I stopped all social media? Instagram would be TOUGH to let go.
Published by Random House Children's Books on 2014
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, General, Social Issues, Young Adult
For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.
Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.
Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.
Praise for Nest:
"A poignant, insightful story of family crisis and the healing power of friendship."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"A stunning debut, with lyrical prose and superbly developed characters. . . . [Readers] will savor Nest and reflect on it long after its conclusion."--School Library Journal, Starred
"Ehrlich’s novel beautifully captures the fragile bond shared by Chirp and Joey and their growing trust for each other in a world filled with disappointments and misunderstandings."--Publishers Weekly, Starred
"Chirp’s first-person voice is believable; her poignant earnestness is truly heartrending. Ehrlich writes beautifully, constructing scenes with grace and layers of telling detail and insight."--The Horn Book
What authors are saying about Nest:
“Nest sings with heart and emotion. Simply gorgeous.”--Jennifer L. Holm, New York Times bestselling author of Turtle in Paradise
"Nest speaks to the heart. I wanted to put my arms around Chirp and never let go."--Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s and I'll Be There
"I loved the book! It's so tender and touching and real. Chirp is a marvelous character, and Joey's just plain lovable. I worry about him. Congratulations. The book is absolutely splendid and I hope everyone in the world notices."--Karen Cushman, author of the Newbery Medal, The Midwife's Apprentice and the Newbery Honor, Catherine, Called Birdy
“A remarkable work. Esther Ehrlich’s characters stand out so real and true: Chirp’s friendship with Joey is tender and moving, and truly unforgettable. One can see Cape Cod and feel Chirp’s love for the birds wheeling overhead. I wanted this story to go on and on. What a brilliant future this author has. I can’t wait to read her next book.”--Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery Honor–winning author
There isn’t much I can add to my review that hasn’t already been said about Esther Ehrlich’s debut, Nest. I predict it will be on the short-list for the Newbery Medal this year. Finally, a middle school book that disregards trendy voice and plot and instead focuses on character development, realistic dialogue, and a nicely paced, coherent plot. Even the gorgeous book design by Stephanie Moss is a refreshing change. I should have made this a book club pick, but it didn’t come out until September. I received the advanced copy from NetGalley, a great site for those who would like to review books. (You don’t get paid, but you do have access to wonderful books-most of the time.)
Because of the subject matter of this book, I’m going to include a multitude of spoilers. Since it’s a middle school book, I assume that’s okay since your child, or one you know, is more likely to read it than you.
I should have taken the shortcut home from my bird-watching spot at the salt marsh, because then I wouldn’t have to walk past Joey Morell, whipping rocks against the telephone pole in front of his house as the sun goes down. I try to sneak around him, pushing so hard against the scrub oaks on our side of the road that the branches scratch my bare legs, but he sees me.
“Hey,” he says, holding a rock and taking a step toward me. He doesn’t have a shirt on; it’s been broiling all week.
“Hey,” I say, real friendly, like I’m not thinking about the fact that I’m a girl and he’s a boy who might pop me with a rock, since he comes from a family that Dad says has significant issues.
The first concern, and the reason I can’t have it in the library (such a shame!), is the language. There is only one instance of very mild cursing, but it’s enough that I know the Diocese won’t approve of it as a middle school book. (The publisher lists the book as 10 and up.)
Chirp warmed up to Joey and believes he won’t to do her bodily harm. They start throwing rocks against the telephone pole together.
“Not bad,” Joey says. He comes and stands next to me. He smells like the lime Dad cuts up for his gin and tonic before dinner.
Joey’s turn. Bam.
My turn. Bam.
His turn. Bam.
My turn. Bam.
“Crap,” he says.
“Crap,” I say.
“Triple crap.” Dad says swearing is inappropriate and not what he expects to hear from either of his daughters. I don’t know if crap is officially a swear, but I do know there are lots of more polite words in the English language.
Joey picks up a whole handful of rocks. He throws them into the air, and they smash down on the road.
“Is your mom’s leg okay?” he asks.
“Yeah, it sucks.” My heart is pounding.
“I love chocolate pudding,” Joey says.
Because Joey has his own secrets–he is obsessive when it comes to germs/health and his father is abusive–he recognizes when a subject is not to be broached. In this case, Chirp wants to avoid any mention of what she didn’t realize was obvious to everyone else. Something is wrong with her mom, but they don’t know what.
We eventually learn with the rest of the family that Chirp’s mom has multiple sclerosis. Chirp’s mom, a dancer, takes the diagnosis poorly and within a couple of weeks admits herself into a facility for extended psychiatric care. There are hints in the book that she has battled depression before. The family focuses on keeping it together while she is away. Chirp and her older sister debate the future.
When Rachel and I are upstairs in the bathroom brushing our teeth, she says, “You know, Mom will die is she has to give up dancing.”
“No she won’t!” I say. “Take it back.”
“It’s just an expression, Don’t you know that?”
“Take it back anyway.”
“No, she says. “Don’t be stupid.”
There is a scene where they visit her in the hospital that is just painful. Chirp’s mom eventually does come back, though her recovery seems tenuous. Chirp learns how fragile her mom is in the middle of an oral book report.
Dad grabs my hand and pulls me through the hall. He’s walking so fast I have to run to keep up with him. As soon as we’re outside, he kneels right down on the pavement and looks into my face.
“It’s Mom,” he says. “I have terrible news.”
“You took her back to the hospital.”
“Oh God,” Dad says. He rubs his face with his hands.
“I want to finish my dance,” I say. “I was just about to take off from the water.”
“Listen, honey. Mom isn’t in the hospital. She died. Mommy died.”
“No, she didn’t,” I say. “She’s just really sad. There’s a chance she’ll have to go to the hospital again.”
Dad holds my shoulders. He puts his face so close to me that his words make wind in my eyes and he says that Mom died, she really did die, this morning after we left for school, and he knows this because Clara went to the house and Mom wasn’t there, but there was a note on the table that said she was very sorry but she just wasn’t able to go on this way and she loves us very much and she didn’t want to make this harder on us, so she wanted us to know that she went to Hutchins Pond.”
The rest of the story is about Chirp moving forward following her mother’s suicide.
It’s interesting to me that my book-review plugin automatically categorized this as Young Adult, whereas the publisher has it listed as a middle school book. I remember reading books in middle school where parents died for reasons like cancer, accidents, or old age. I don’t recall a death by suicide scenario, though that may reflect where I went to school. Is this a book you would allow your child to read? And if so, at what age?
As a young adult book, I think Nest is great. I’m disappointed it’s categorized as a middle school book because there will be teens who won’t read something so “baby.” If you follow me on Facebook, you know I’m discouraged with young adult literature. The quality, at least what I have seen, is poor. The most popular books among teens are sensational, dramatic, and, frankly, dull. I’m tired of series. I’m tired of reading the same plots rehashed into something slightly different. I’m tired of the fractured fairytales, the dystopian scenarios, and most of all, the assumption that kids don’t deserve to read something great.
I understand the publishing industry has to turn a profit, but surely there is an imprint somewhere that focuses on young adult literature. I can’t think of a single young adult book in the last few years that will last generations the way The Giver or A Wrinkle in Time has.
(Please don’t say The Fault in Our Stars. I refuse to believe the popularity of that book will last.)
Perhaps, as I mentioned on Facebook, this isn’t as much about young adult literature as it is about my disappointment in myself. I can’t seem to get through to the junior high kids this year. They don’t have time for reading (they have time for video games and iphones, oddly enough) or they want books that are incredibly inappropriate for them to read. I’m not sure what I have to do to challenge them or move beyond a genre. Even John Green, bane of my existence, doesn’t read John Green. That’s a strong list of books, and many of them are classics. I’m going to print out the list and bring it to school for the kids to review. Fingers crossed!
Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Leave Out, Get Wrong, or Just Plain Fail to Understand about WeightBody Respect by Linda BaconLucy Aphramor
Published by BenBella Books on 2014-09-02
Genres: Diet & Nutrition, Disease & Health Issues, Health & Fitness, Healthy Living, Medical, Public Health, SOCIAL SCIENCE, Weight Loss
Amazon • Barnes & Noble •
Body insecurity is rampant, and it doesn’t have to be. Think for a moment about your attitudes toward weight: Do you believe that people who are thinner are more healthy and attractive? Do you think dieting is an effective health strategy? Do you judge yourself or others because of weight? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone. It’s much more common for people to feel bad about their bodies than to appreciate them—and to judge others by those standards as well. But people don’t have to be packaged in a small size to be valuable and attractive—or healthy for that matter. Saying that they do causes more harm than good, and judgments based on size tell us more about our own prejudice than someone else’s health or value. It’s time to show every body respect. With the latest findings from the Health at Every Size© (HAES) movement, Body Respect debunks obesity myths, demonstrates the damage of focusing on weight, and explores how social factors impact health: the world is not a level playing field, and that affects one’s opportunities as well as one’s size, health and sense of self. Using peer-reviewed evidence and common sense, scientists and nutritionists Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor explain the fall-out of a health agenda based on the concept that thinness is the goal and that one’s weight is simply a matter of personal choices. They explore why diets don’t work and provide alternative paths to better health and well-being for people of all shapes. Body Respect is indispensable reading for anyone concerned about widespread body insecurity and size stigma and their many implications.
The most controversial post I have ever published on this blog was about the song All About that Bass. I can’t link to the post because I made it private. I grew tired of the daily onslaught of aggressive, intolerant comments. The comments from those who are here regularly were fine. Even those who disagreed did so thoughtfully and respectfully, as always. The ones from strangers were what moved me to delete comments, something I had never before done in almost 7 years of blogging. Had they been from regular readers, I would have kept them and rolled my eyes at the delivery. But when a stranger looking for a fight Googles the song and then stumbles upon this blog, I won’t keep comments that say I should be ashamed of myself for being fat or that skinny “bitches” have no right to complain about their bodies.
Thank you for your opinions, Collective Haters of the Internet, LLC. Excuse me while I search for a filament of interest to devote to your ramblings. Look at that! I’ve got nothing.
Of the people who comment here regularly, two really stuck out. Naomi’s was one of them.
The second every single woman stops saying sh!#*y things about other women to their friends, their husbands, and their children THEN there will be no more of this. As a happy fat person (yep, HAPPY FAT PERSON), I am sick to death of hearing about women feeling berated, put down, and crucified because of a number on a clothing label.
We are all beautiful. We have come through our journeys and our heartaches and our achievements with dignity and grace. We have men and women that love us for who we truly are. We have children who think we hung the moon. If it’s hard to love yourself right now, I understand. Begin loving yourself by embracing all of the women you see around you. Lift them up, and you’ll lift yourself up, too.
Tell me how you got to be a happy fat person. I’m fat, but I can’t say I’m happy about it.
Naomi emailed me back with some resources for body acceptance, one of them being the work of Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphromor. I had heard of Health At Every Size (HAES) via The Fat Nutritionist. The idea that one can be healthy at any size goes against everything I grew up believing, and probably still believe subconsciously. My library doesn’t carry Healthy at Every Size, but on a hunch I went to NetGalley to see if they had the new book, Body Respect, available for review. They did, which I took as a nudge from God.
I read the book and found myself highlighting every other page. I enjoyed it so much that I’m buying myself a copy to keep on my nightstand. I should buy several copies for work, home, traveling, and meeting new people so that I can place them in my environment strategically, like emergency exits and fire extinguishers.
HAES does not claim that everyone is at a healthy weight. What it does do is ask for respect and help people shift their focus away from changing their size to enhancing their self-care behaviors–so they let weight fall where it may naturally. It also keeps the role of lifestyle as a risk factor for disease in perspective.
The Health at Every Size Manifesto
Refuse to fight in an unjust war. Join the new peace movement:
“Health at Every Size” (HAES). HAES acknowledges that well-being and healthy habits are more important than any number on the scale. Participating is simple:
1. Accept your size.
Love and appreciate the body you have. Self-acceptance empowers you to move on and make positive changes.
2. Trust yourself.
We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy—and at a healthy weight. Support your body in naturally finding its appropriate weight by honoring its signals of hunger, fullness, and appetite.
3. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits.
Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional, and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.
- Find the joy in moving your body and becoming more physically vital in your everyday life.
- Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and seek out pleasurable and satisfying foods.
- Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods, staying mindful that there is plenty of room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and
4. Embrace size diversity.
Humans come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Open to the beauty found across the spectrum and support others in recognizing their unique attractiveness.
It’s what I’ve been working at for years, but I still can’t seem to get it together. It amazes me that I can achieve so much in so many areas of my life but still completely and utter fail when it comes to my weight and my body.
We cannot emphasize enough the value in lightening up around the judgment you may feel about your body and your weight. The judgment evokes despair as you believe there is something wrong with you, meaning you are not entitled to the food that you want, and you need to deprive yourself as punishment or remedy for your “overweight.”
I have gained 10 pounds since I stopped dieting. It feels like a million. I’m short, so I’m convinced it looks like a million, too. I sometimes feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, ugly and undesirable. I hate taking pictures of myself or meeting people on a good day. Now, the idea makes me short of breath. We take school pictures on the 14th of October (see how I have the date memorized?) and I can’t stop thinking about how I will look in the picture.
Letting go of dieting often feels like the worst mistake I ever made until I read books like this one and am offered hope and validation. It’s enough to keep trying, even when I’d rather give up, and to remind me that I am more than the size of my clothing.
It can be hard to accept your body and build a coherent sense of identity when you are bombarded with messages that you need to change, so remember to show yourself compassion. The more you differ–and permit yourself to differ–from the social ideal, the more alone you may feel, at least at first. Conforming to media-imposed beauty standards and socially imposed gender norms is a path of least resistance and may seem easier than challenging them. But is it really easier? In the long run, you will more likely find peace in your body and contentment by throwing over those outwardly determined values and setting up your own yardsticks for attractiveness and value.
The boys were supposed to begin swim practice three weeks ago. The first week we didn’t go because it was the first week of school. I thought it would be too chaotic. The second week we didn’t go because I was so sick. There was no way I was getting out of bed for beginning/intermediate swim practice. This week, the third week, we had choir practice on the first day of practice and a parent-teacher open house on the second day of practice. On both days we got home after our usual dinner time and by consequence went to bed late. In my case, very late. On Wednesday we could have gone to practice. It was the first day in several weeks where we didn’t have another obligation to meet and the boys had light homework. If ever there was a day to spend two hours at a pool, this was it.
We didn’t go, obviously. I pulled away from the school parking lot and decided we would have a late afternoon/evening of just nothing instead of going home, changing, and then eating a quick snack on the way to practice. Mikey was excited about the idea. Nico, wasn’t as excited. He likes swim practice, but he’s in the beginner’s group. They aren’t exactly on an Olympian training schedule.
For months I’ve been debating what to do about the boys and their activities. Choir is nonnegotiable. We feel strongly that they should be involved in at least one church ministry. Mikey wants to continue with clarinet lessons. He loves it, and his teacher thinks that by 7th grade he could audition for a youth symphony in our area. Nico wants to do an instrument, too, but he doesn’t seem in love with piano. He keeps talking about trumpet/clarinet/drums/violin. So, anything but piano.
If we did choir, music, and swimming, there would be an after school activity Monday-Friday. It’s too much. I can’t do it and we can’t afford it. I guess if we tightened up our belts (more) we could, but the reasons why I should do that elude me.
Our pediatrician repeats at every annual checkup that physical activity is key to healthy childhood, which is why the boys have always been in sports. But the other day I realized they don’t need to be on a formal team to get physical activity. I know that sounds obvious, but I can’t be the only one who has forgotten that you can get physical activity just by playing outside! Riding bikes, playing kickball in the street, shooting hoops, etc. are all ways to exercise. This realization reminded me of a passage from Simplicity Parenting, my favorite book on parenting.
Three out of four kids quit youth sports by the age of thirteen. Too many of the 40 million kids who play organized youth sports get seriously injured, emotionally scarred or simply learn the wrong lessons about teamwork, social cooperation and leadership. It’s downright tragic that at precisely the age when kids are physically, emotionally, socially and neurologically primed to benefit most from team sport participation, they opt out in droves.
This is another interesting excerpt from an article on the decline of risky play in children thanks to our concern they will hurt themselves. (Guilty.)
An ironic fact is that children are far more likely to injure themselves in adult-directed sports than in their own freely chosen, self-directed play. That’s because the adult encouragement and competitive nature of the sports lead children to take risks–both of hurting themselves and of hurting others—that they would not choose to take in free play. It is also because they are encouraged, in such sports, to specialize, and therefore overuse specific muscles and joints. According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.5 million children per year under the age of 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries. That’s about 1 out of every 7 children engaged in youth sports. Sports medicine for children has become a big business, thanks to adults who encourage young pitchers to throw so hard and so often they throw out their elbows, encourage young football linemen to hit so hard they get concussions, encourage young swimmers to practice so often and hard they damage their shoulders to the point of needing surgery. Children playing for fun rarely specialize (they enjoy variety in play), and they stop when it hurts, or they change the way they are playing. Also, because it’s all for fun, they take care not to hurt their playmates. Adults, who get all wrapped up in winning and may hope for eventual scholarships, work against nature’s means of preventing damage.
Staying home was incredible. I cleaned out Nico’s folder and finished all outstanding paperwork. The boys had their homework finished before dinner, which we ate early. I had time to read with Nico, who really needs my attention in this department. He’s an incredible but extremely insecure reader. Mikey had time to study for an English test until he felt confident with the material. Later, I went through the chapter with him and quizzed him on some concepts. Subject! Predicates! Conjunction Junction, what’s your function? While the boys took their evening showers, I made our lunches for tomorrow. Now I’m writing a post and getting ready to go to bed. If this is life without sports, I might take it.
p.s. I walked into Nico’s classroom at parent/teacher night and knew which desk was his without having to read the name tags on the desks. SIGH. The second picture is an Origami Diplodocus from Mikey.
I have a long list of posts I will never write. I actually sat down last week and wrote out a plan because there are so many projects and thoughts from the summer that I never shared, and then God looked over my shoulder as I ended my list with a flourish and said to Himself, “LOL, how adorable. I’ll give her the worst head cold ever.”
The cold was worth it, though, because on the day I felt my very worst, I came back to bed after doing homework with Nico and found this Origami Yoda note from Mikey on my pillow. So, so awesome. It’s one of those things I will never throw away.
Not so subtle mom-brag moment over. Let’s move on to some other super-exciting stuff you can’t live without knowing!
Last week was bad. I had to pay for the boys to have hot lunch and breakfast at school, there was nothing to eat for dinner, and I was all-around miserable. I vowed to myself that I would take better care of myself and our home. No more sleeping less than I should, skipping meals, and working until I’m sick or exhausted. So far, so good. I’ve gone to bed early, had breakfast every day, and have been working on saying NO. I was feeling so good about my progress that on Sunday I made their lunches for Monday and Tuesday and later that night I made a week’s work of waffles. Breakfast for the week, done!
I was smugger than a mom with an instagram account and a bento box. In fact, I did instagram my brilliance! Too bad I didn’t have time to instagram breakfast the following morning. I don’t use the microwave preset keys that often–too high tech for me–but on that morning we were running behind so I grabbed a four frozen waffles and chucked them into the microwave like a discus wielding Olympian. Then I pressed some buttons, not really sure which, and returned to headless chicken flapping. I decided to cut the microwave short a couple of minutes later; the boys would have to deal with slightly cold waffles. Imagine my surprise when I opened the microwave and found the waffles expanded to 32 times their normal size. Then they collapsed in a rubbery, steaming display of defeat similar to the fall of the Hindenburg.
They were obviously overcooked, so I did what came naturally. I pulled them out of the microwave and yelled, “Boys, your waffles are ready!”
To their credit, the boys tried valiantly to eat the waffles, abandoning forks and knives midway through breakfast so they could tear at them with their hands and teeth. I don’t mean to brag, but I think I invented Wheat Jerky.
Nico wears glasses now. I think he looks like Clark Kent and is super, super adorable.
The other day at school someone made a comment about my blue shoes. The next day I wore red shoes and at that moment realized I only own one pair each of brown and black shoes. The rest are blue, orange, red (two), pink, black and white striped, yellow, and gold. This must be my subconscious trying to justify why I wear the same pair of Target skinny jeans every day.
Last little something! Last night Mikey came in from getting seed for Buttercup and said, “Mom, you have to go outside and take a picture of the sunset. Seriously, right now.” So I did.