November Reads and Listens

By the start of November, I had already to reached my Goodreads Book Challenge goal of 57 this year and I was starting to feel a little burned out. My hardcopy books were becoming harder for me to get in reading, We had friends come visit for an overnight– we haven’t had people come visit in I-don’t-remember-how-long, then there was Thanksgiving and my birthday. So I was tired at night, more so than usual and I wasn’t able to read as much or for as long. This was one of my initial problems when it came to reading actual physical books.

I decided to listen to a short story by Alice Hoffman. I have enjoyed other books by her so I decided to give this one a listen. The title intrigued me and I have been thinking about my mother who died in February this year.

Everything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is a great example of how big messages can come in small packages. Everything My Mother Taught Me is a powerful quick listen – under an hour, packing a punch. A story about a young girl who learns the toughest lessons early on.

Mark, my other half and I have been meditating daily for the past 254 consecutive days. This year, we have set an intentional routine for ourselves which includes: morning coffee while listening to short lectures by meditation teachers on an app called Insight Timer which I highly recommend. I started using this app about 5 years ago when a very traumatic event occurred in my life. Since then I have mediated on and off a total 485 days, the last 254 consecutively for an overall total of 13.7k minutes. The lectures have covered topics such as learning about the the basics of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, learning about the sacred power of Shakti, the power of Tao and simply given more tools to mindfully managing stress and anxiety.

After our lecture, coffee and moving meal we will gather our Zafu Zabuton Set, light some candles and settle down with the dogs around us for a mediation session which will last on average 30 minutes, 20 minutes of which will be in silent mediation. This has helped both of us tremendously in calming our minds and nerves during these very unsettling times.

A number of times different philosophers were quoted or discussed a little and this is what brought me around to listening to Sophie’s World. I have the paperback version of this book but the text is small and I decided to listen to it instead, fearing that I would be battling the act of actually reading the text rather than absorbing what was being said. The book had been recommended to me almost ten years ago and now after having finished it, I wish I had read it sooner.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great book – which I know I will come back to again – it’s the type of book I just feel I will read/listen to more than one time. Jostein Gaarder does a magnificent job sending us down the rabbit-hole where through the adventures of Sophie and her philosophy teacher, Alberto where we are given a nice light brief history of philosophy without going so deep that you drown in all that you could with each of the philosophers and philosophies that you cold possibly get lost in.

This book sets it up so that if there is something that you would like to explore further, you can made note and further delve into that in other books. Sophie’s World is written for middle school aged children, so that it would spark their curiosity and possibly open the door to further explorations into our existence.

The book is a lengthy 16 hours and 53 minutes but the narrator, Simon Vance does a fantastic job.
Highly recommend!

With the Christmas season upon us, I know I am slowing down a bit as we head into the end of this year. I have been hard at work on my illustrations which you can see on my art Instagram @segalascreatives. I am also in the editing stages of a book that I have been working on which once it has been tighten up I will hopefully preview with you, as I am working on getting it published. The book is about my dogs – I don’t have a title yet, I just keep referring to it as the dog book.

Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, despite the fact that the oil is still in the deep fryer in the garage and the turkey soup is frozen on the screened in porch. Christmas decorations are already up, gifts are almost all purchased and yesterday I remembered to order a few Christmas desserts and cookies so the meal will be complete. The rest of the month I will continue to work on my illustrations, book and end the year by reading and listening to some good books.

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Trick or Treat!

Halloween is tomorrow night and for the 12+ crowd the curtain is closing on the normal trick or treat walk around the neighborhood. Gone are the simple days of when I would pick a Tigger and Spiderman costumes for them or the excitement of going to Party City to pick out an outfit themselves. Now they simply create something from the trunks of all the old stuff and anything else they can get their hands on, if they so choose to be creative. It’s is also Friday night and Halloween hasn’t been on a weekend in a long time. That changes the entire dynamics of the holiday, especially for this crowd. Halloween parties actually on Halloween night is way cooler than trick or treating or inviting a friend over for trick or treating and sleep over – always big with the girls in the bunch.
Growing up in the city – Halloween was much different than being out in the suburbs. In the city you went up and down in the elevator, floor by floor. Some kids did multiple buildings, my parents saw absolutely no need in that considering we lived in an apartment building with 17 floors with 5 apartments per floor. That’s 95 apartments! It would take hours to hit 95 houses out in the suburbs – but aggressively doable I suppose. Our block alone which is a dead end stretching about 1/2 mile long has no more than 20 houses on it – the road behind us which many of these house butts up to has more and is a little longer. The haul traditionally brought in is about a full pillow sack of pure sugar – with the exception of the one house that gives out tennis balls. Something I never was given as child while trick or treating but the kids love to play with the balls as they load up on their night’s bounty.
In college Halloween was definately a party – Scary Party to be exact and I have a number of stories I could tell, but not today. Although in the spirit of the holiday when the kids were still too young to fully enjoy it – as a young married couple, I always enjoyed throwing an adult Halloween Party and requesting that my guests join inthe spirit of things and dress up too. This way I also was not competing with the later Holiday parties in December too. I always found it curiously funny that usually the ones who complained the most initially were the ones who came in the most creative costumes, like a jelly fish maed out of the drycleaner plastic and wire hangers or wine and cheese made of a card board shell shaped like cheese with crakcers stuck to it and his partner had a sweater on with purple balloons stuck to it! Classic!
One of my all-time favorite costumes which I made was the Bride of Frankenstein – I wore an old wedding dress from a previous engagement of mine that got as far as the dress but not the alter – another long story for another time. My hair streaked with grey and my husband at the time of course was The Monster.
Good times! Good Times!
Here’s to having more good times this Halloween and those to come.
Happy Halloween!