Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a Wonderful Lasagna

"Eating a warm meal nourishes the body, preparing it nourishes the soul."

I wish I had written that -- but I actually read it in a magazine today. I think it's amazing that not everyone feels this way. Actually, I don't always feel this way. Cooking is one of those things that I find sometimes satisfying and other times overrated.

Recently I was sharing with a friend my plans to make smoky cheese lasagna this weekend.

"It got four forks on! I can't wait to make it -- all the e-mail reviews were awesome," I beamed.

"I have never made lasagna," she said.

"Never?" I asked.

"Never. I have better things to do with my time than make complicated dishes or anything requiring a bunch of ingredients. I just don't cook," she said.

Well. That sent me thinking "wonderful life" style about what my life would have been like without having ever made lasagna. Then I imagined a world without all the meals I had made as a family, with my siblings and friends. All the effort spent on recipes, testing out ingredients, reading gourmet magazines and swapping awesome dishes with friends.

I briefly considered the freedom it would bring not to really stress about dinner, family gatherings and always trying to outdo myself every holiday. Swatting that thought out of the way, I circled back to my original thought. Cooking has been the fabric that has woven many sweet happy memories together. For me, the best of times were the ones wrapped around the kitchen.

No, I can't imagine a world without cooking lasagna. I think it would be a sad world indeed. Yes, it is a lot of work and with little reward. Yet for me there is some sweet touch of satisfaction knowing that I created something wonderful with my own hands for the people I treasure.

Yes, the magazine was mostly right -- preparing the food does nourish the soul. But only if the cooking is done with a loving heart and grateful company.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Holiday Pinata

I like order. I especially like it when it comes to the holidays. Tradition trumps chaos as a theme of comfort to me during this season.

I think that’s why singing the 12 days of Christmas song is so much fun. I know what comes next and I enjoy putting things in their perfect rightful order. Partridges before Turtle Doves and so on.

Yet I hate order. Especially when it comes to my siblings. As the youngest of five, order means I will forever be the baby. Always the one that was last to do anything, always the one who needs constant advice and care from the olders. Or so they think.

Despite the fact that I am 41, a mom, a wife and responsible grown up, the minute I return to my hometown, I somehow morph back to being seen as the baby. For the moment, I’ll call it “birth order disorder” to sound cool.

I love going home – there is a comfort in returning to my youth and remembering all the places and spaces of those days. Yet the recycled youth trips send me returning to my most awkward days.

It’s probably because my siblings are there to remind me of every stupid mistake I ever made, like the time I set the house on fire (not my fault), putting the cat in the dryer (total accident) and driving the car into ditches (bad tires). Despite the fact that I should be able to enjoy the emotional pinata of joking – the truth remains that pinata parties are only fun for the whackers, not the piñata.

So as I return to my current home, relief sets in as I leave all the inadequate days and times behind. I return to the comfort of the life I have now, despite my past. My perfect order – no piñatas allowed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The End of Mid Life Crisis Cooking

Today I gave up cooking like I'm having a mid-life crisis.

It began with the meatloaf. Kindly, my lovely neighbor brought her extras from dinner to spare me the trouble of cooking. I called her blessed as I was relieved of having to come up with a meal for one less day.

As my husband came home from a long day, he casually asked "what's for dinner?"

I replied "meatloaf, courtesy of our awesome neighbor."

Then came the look. Now if ever there were a sweet spot in my husband's heart, it's for meat loaf. And mashed potatoes, and Jell-o salads and pretty much anything that Betty Crocker ever uttered. Yes, my husband is a plain and simple, meat and potatoes love kind of guy.

I am not. I am a spice it until your lips look like you just had Botox sort of cook. I am season it until it wants to get up and do a dance in a red hot dress sort. I love every kind of exotic food, weird spice, unusual and strange fare that sends my husband's Prilosec-loving stomach into flips just thinking about it.

So there was the meatloaf. Love at first site by him, a side of jealousy sauce bubbling in me.

It occurred to me that maybe I was trying too hard and needed to give it a sweet rest. Those were not my words, but words that were inspired in me as my son was reading the 10 Commandments as part of his devotion time.

It went something like this.... "Thou shalt not be jealous of what your neighbors have...or what your neighbors possessions are or your neighbor's meatloaf!" I swear I read meatloaf jealousy right in the Kid's Adventure Bible.

I decided to give it a rest as instructed by the 10 Commandments. I was trying too hard. As I put down my Bon Appetit magazine and picked up Betty's handbook of 1950s perfection, I decided sometimes the simple things truly are the best.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Going Off the Grid

One Mom’s Adventure into the Wilds of Homeschooling

Homeschoolers are weird. They are the people who make meals out of dryer lint, wear clothes from hemp seed and study the sonar tracking of bats. Or so I thought. Until I became one of them.

This week, I read that according to the United States Department of Education, an estimated 1.5 million children in grades K-12 were home educated in 2007. This number grows by almost 10 percent every year. The real kick for me was reading this week’s New York Times Sunday Magazine calling homeschooling “suddenly chic.”

As I read that line, I got a huge smile on my face. I even had to say it out loud -- “I am now chic! The New York Times says so!”

This adventure began when it dawned on me that no one “got” my son. All the things I felt were his assets were considered “problems” at school. We had tried it all -- public school, private school, tutoring, testing, extra work and support at home to constantly help our son succeed. But no amount of shaping tooled his square peg self in the round hole of traditional education.

Day by day, I watched him come home from school and the gregarious, creative, joyous boy slowly began to fade away. As the months wore on, I noticed he began to shuffle like an old man, burdened by school. He had trouble sleeping at nights, having unsettling dreams about school. This began to evolve into uncharacteristic behavior like cheating, hiding his work and sabotaging his efforts by throwing work away before it could ever be graded. He was in a downward spiral and nothing helped right his course. This was no life for an 8 year-old boy – to be this burdened by school at such a young age.

I began to look at other options – there had to be somewhere, some place that my son would thrive. I began to imagine my dream school – I wanted my son to first learn about his faith, I wanted him to love learning and see it as a joy and delight. I wanted dynamic learning for him – not to sit at a desk all day, only to speak when he perfectly raised his hand. I wanted him to learn outside, at a museum, at a garden or a café. I wanted to be able touch, explore, see, and experience life as a learning lab – not as simply a worksheet to fill out, another checklist to complete.

I wanted to take him places, teach him life skills like how to cook, how to be a supportive young man for our family and community. I wanted him to have a service project that was more than about selling something or collecting pop tabs. I wanted him to spend time helping in a real way where he could experience the joy of making a difference. I wanted him to speak the language of my Spanish heritage.

Where could I find such an amazing place? Home.

Homeschooling became an easy choice when I began to look at all the research. Simple things like the fact that most kids only get about three minutes of individual attention for instruction per day. Surely I could do better than three minutes. The fact that pure academics only took up about 2 hours of the day – the rest was busy time, waiting in line, going to the bathroom, playground, library, art, computer – things that I could easily do on my own. I was spending more than that on my commute alone. Not to mention all the extra hours of volunteering, hours of homework after school, hunting down a project doo-bob or a colonial costume. Before there simply wasn’t time to do all that I wanted for him as a family. Now I could design his education to make it our own, based on the priorities we had and what he was passionate about learning.

Will we do this forever? I don’t know. Will I be any good at it? Will it rain a year from today? Who knows. What I know is that this is the right choice for our family right now and I will continue to evaluate my son based on his love of learning, the life and faith skills he is building.

I know homeschooling isn’t for the faint at heart. I like to think of it as “going off the grid.” Saying it that way, it has sort of a cool, James Bond mission style sound to it. It certainly sounds better than we have decided to give up all we know about traditional schooling and do it on our own.

Coming home to school is not for everyone, but for our family it was the only choice. Going off the grid gives us the freedom to encourage our child in a loving, enriching way. In our hearts, there could be no higher calling.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When I hear the word “gap” I think of Leon Spinks and fourth grade.

If you don’t remember Leon – he was the heavyweight champion of the world, amazingly defeating Muhammad Ali in 1978, exactly when I was 9. You probably remember him as the unlikely winner with the huge gap in his front teeth – not a slight gap, more akin to a Grand Canyon-size spacer. In the peak of Spinks fame, timed with the cusp of my awkward pre-teen years, I also had a funny-looking gap.

Thank heavens it was nowhere near Spinks size. But all the same, it might as well have been. It was the most embarrassing thing ever to be compared to a heavyweight boxer. I don’t think I smiled once after Spinks won the title. I never forgot the humiliation of the ugly “gap."

Recently I was reminded of gaps again at a writer’s conference. In a field of 600 other women writers, it was easy to start the comparison game. In my head are all the gaps screaming out at me “her shoes are nicer than yours” or “she looks more professional than you, she probably is a better writer” to the ultimate take down “what are you doing here thinking you can write?”

Even though my teeth have since grown together (thank God), I still am constantly reminded of my gaps. The places in the heart that no matter how hard I try, never get filled in. No amount of compensating, positive thinking or smart wardrobing covers their places.

The very first speaker of the writer's conference must have picked up on the “gap vibe” as she immediately talked about how all of us feel inadequate. She reminded us that everyone has gaps and it is only our Creator that can fill them perfectly. She reminded us how wonderfully made our Maker designed us. Yes, despite our gaps, we are perfect in His eyes. My soul breathed a sigh of relief with a “thank you for reminding me.”

As we prepare for the fall season and school year ahead, it’s a great time to remember we all have gaps. Our kids have gaps, our families have gaps, our friends and teachers have gaps. But divine love fills in perfectly. So next time we start focusing on our spaces, we can breathe a deep sigh of relief. With that breath, we can remember gap-filling grace.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hockey Love

Loving hockey is like loving that misfit family member that demands all of you and smells bad.

This blazing hot Southern week has been spent in the confines of an ice rink. Despite the bad fluorescent lighting and high stink factor of the locker rooms, I have counted myself blessed to freeze my hockey mom buns off. Rather, more blessed to see my son in love with something like hockey.

Now I have had my share of “discussions” with other friends about the violence of hockey, how it teaches kids to fight, how the injuries are beyond belief. But I can see more violence on their video game shelves and the TV shows they watch. I understand that hockey requires a great deal of aggression to be any good. But so does life.

The thing about hockey is it’s really hard. Not only is it physically demanding, but it requires strategy, discipline and serious teamwork. It has become a metaphor for all the tough things in life. For us, the lesson of hockey is that to get really good at something, you have to work. Not only work hard, you have to work your buns off and be good to your team along the way.

Hockey has become the teachable reference for math, for learning something new, for doing the difficult things. It teaches them at an early age that team is everything --- if you’re a jerk to your team, no one’s going to give you the puck. For a kid to know early on what it’s like to work through something hard as a team means they have a true appreciation for when they succeed, win or fail.

Watching my son circle around and around on the frozen rink is really boring, and stinky. But he loves it and he shows up every day with a good attitude, ready to work hard – because hockey is something he loves. I adore that he is gaining a valuable life lesson that he can carry with him the rest of his life. This lesson will go with him to his future job, perhaps his marriage and putting his talents to work. For that great reward, I can handle a little stink along the way.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wild and Precious Life

Since it is now officially summer, it's a great time to ponder a true "Summer Day."

With that said, here's a beautiful poem I found that reflects on this notion of life being like a summer day. Gorgeous and lush in fullness in a moment and gone the next. Take a read and then consider, what will you do with this "one wild and precious life?"

The Summer Day
By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Birds, Bees and Me

Every summer, I take a little time to have "a talk" with my son.

I was inspired by a dear friend who shared how she used to have "grown up time" talks with her son each summer as he grew through the years. She started simple with a very basic "bees" talk, that continued to expand. I loved this idea -- it sounded very warm and encouraging. A special bonding time to be had with mom and son.

Every year since he was 7, we have had our little "talks." Some may think 7 is way too young, but I want my son to hear the words from me, not some trashed up version from friends or the media. I didn't want my son to have it like I did, never from my parents, mostly from slumber party conversations among girlfriends. As a young girl, my wisdom was given in bits and pieces -- found in the library books all the other girls checked out, gossiped about in secret, giggly conversations.

I wanted my son to "know" from a wholesome standpoint that all of this life, sex, puberty stuff was completely normal, natural and the way God has gifted us. But more importantly, to know in a way that honors things, not shames it up or makes it feel weird or guilty.

Recently, I took a trip with my son, now almost 9, to North Carolina's Outer Banks. We were walking along the majestic sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge, one of the largest naturally occurring sand dune along the East Coast. The beauty of the moment must have inspired me as I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for this year's "talk."

So I immediately launched into "important discussion mode" -- reeling off facts, information, details about the human body and things I felt like he needed to know. He listened patiently for awhile, nodding his head like a serious scholar. He didn't say much, but waited until I was done with my monologue. I paused and he took his chance to say, "Okay mom, that's enough. You can stop talking now."

The moment stunned me. Busy with all of my reasons, facts, details, I never stopped to wonder if he really wanted to know. I told him because it's what I wanted as a child, but he did not. Yet. I realized he was okay with not knowing all the grown up stuff. In that precious moment, I was grateful my son wished to remain a little boy for another year.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Waking the Grateful Dead

I've been working on a grateful experiment lately.

Garbage in, garbage out was how it got started. I was stringing together too many days of negative attitude and something was beginning to stink (me). So I decided to start thinking differently. I'm always telling my son "use your mouth to speak blessings" -- it was time to walk my talk.

It started small. Little things that made me thankful, small ways people were a light to me, and kindnesses I could bestow -- anywhere I could find a chance to express gratitude, I did it.

Here's a few examples:
--The school band at the art festival -- I wrote them a note to thank them for their beautiful music and inspiring youth.
--The farmer's market co-op -- acknowledging them for doing such a good job in supporting local farmers and bringing me amazing treasure week by week.
--The friend you can count on -- thanking her for always being there and reminding her of all the radiant qualities that make me glad she is in my corner.
--My husband -- writing a note to express gratitude and adoration for planning a fun date night.
--My son's teachers -- celebrating them for the love they lavish on all the kids, including mine.

The response I got -- in a word: shock.

Most people are knocked over when you take a moment to notice them in their gifts. To stop and truly see how people are making your little world a more wonderful place requires a different way of seeing. My encouragement is to try out the "grateful experiment" for yourself. I did it for selfish reasons, but the reward I received was a surprise. I was done with the garbage. Grateful in, grateful out was a much more fragrant way to operate.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Go On, Smell the Honeysuckle

Have you ever time travelled? I tried it out this week during my morning walk.

Trudging along my typical path, I got this overwhelming hit of honeysuckle, now blooming like crazy in North Carolina. All of the recent rains and quick humid weather have flushed out this tropical gem.

Inhaling deeply I was transported back to the 1980s. There I am, 10 years old and watching my older sister getting ready for prom. She wore a heavy perfume that was all the rage back then, Jungle Gardenia – which happens to smell just like our honeysuckle. I watched her in awe, donning makeup, putting on her amazing dress and wondering if I would ever look that beautiful or go to the prom.

That honeysuckle whiff sent me tumbling back to childhood – I am 12 and stealing mists of my mom’s perfume. Then transported again to visiting family in Puerto Rico -- exotic flower blooms mingled with my aunt’s rice and beans. Next, I’m in high school at my brother’s wedding – listening to my mother’s too loud laugh as she donned a corsage of tropical flowers. So much emotion and wonder and dreams and delight wrapped up in the power of smell.

People always talk of stopping to smell the roses. But if you ever cared for anything beyond a shrub rose, you know it’s complicated. You know about the endless rounds of chemicals and fertilizers and pruning and fuss fuss. On top of all that, most roses don’t really smell all that much.

For me, honeysuckle is the true beauty. It grows naturally on it’s own without much trouble. You come around a bend and it surprises you. Just as summer begins to unfurl in full dramatic stride, honeysuckles demands your notice. With it’s heady lushness, you close your eyes, breathe deep and are transported again.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bad Mommy

I was a bad mommy this week. I actually sent my son to school without lunch, without snack and without his schoolwork. Why? Because it’s his responsibility, not mine.

I know, I know, he’s only a child, he can’t keep up with all these things all the time. But my thought is, why not? I think he should be able to remember without 16 reminders. Furthermore, am I doing him any favors by giving him 16 reminders?

The “mommy to the rescue” approach was not building any worthwhile qualities in myself or my son. After all, the school years are truly about teaching children preparedness for life. Planning ahead, problem solving and the consequences of forgetting your backpack are also part of the learning.

Lately I have been noticing all the little ways I have made myself a slave to my child’s needs. I was doing things for him that he can very well do himself. The greater mommy lesson is I was robbing my child a learning opportunity by doing everything for him. Snowplowing my child’s path wasn’t contributing to his sense of confidence or independence.

As I dropped my son off empty handed and he tried bravely to wipe away his tears, my heart broke for him. To face a full day without his schoolwork, without a snack and lunch might seem pretty scary to him. But I was confident that it would take only take one time of forgetting for this lesson to take hold.

I knew the school wouldn’t let him go hungry. I knew his teachers would help him along. But I wanted him to know certain things are up to him. If it takes the bad mommy to show my son how capable and smart and wise he is, so be it. Because I know he is. And now he does too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Defunkify Thyself

I've been in a funk lately.

I'm not sure why or what it is about. Call it post-break blues or pollen brain. Whatever the name, for some reason I have been struggling with my attitude and spark for life. I can't even blame it on anything good like Seasonal Affective Disorder or the winter blues. I just feel funky.

So in an effort to defunkify, I have decided to make a list of good ideas to improve my cause. In other words, I'm trying to write myself out of my funk. We'll see if it works. Maybe you have some suggestions too -- please pass them along. Hopefully this too shall pass.

My Best Ideas to Get Out of a Funk


Walk, run, bike, anything. Even if it's a walk around the yard, movement is key.

Get the junk out.

Clearing away the outside clutter is a nice way of also clearing away inside clutter. Set a goal to get rid of three things a day for a week.


Literally. Try doing everything different for awhile. Take a new route home, say yes if you always say no, find a new hangout, wear different clothes.

Eat Really Well.

Your mom called, she said to eat your vegetables.

Treat Yourself.

What would be a small thing that would make you smile? For me, it's firecracker pops. You know, those red, white and blue popsicles that everyone eats for the Fourth of July? I just ate one yesterday with the neighborhood kids on the back porch on a sunny day. I felt like I was 12 ready to take a spin on my 10-speed bike.

Hang out with people that love you.

These are the kind of friends that you can say "tell me three things that you like about me right now." Everyone should have at least one person who can give you real encouragement. If you don't have that, imagine your Creator whispering in your ear and reminding you of your gifts and talents.


Go ahead, rent your favorite movies that make you laugh. I love watching When Harry Met Sally or Pretty Woman or even The Sound of Music. Renew your happiness quotient with your favorite funnies.

Be a Slug.

A "do-nothing" day can do wonders for the soul. A day where you get to stay in your jammies, eat pizza or whatever you love. Read the entire paper, get lost in a book, meditate, pray or lay around. The day is your gift. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want, even if it is absolutely nothing.

Do Something You Really Love.

What makes your heart sing? Do that thing. Maybe it's gardening, golf, painting, going to exotic restaurants, having a lovely cup of coffee while staring at art. Whatever your fancy, commit to finding time for that one thing you love every day. Even if it's just scheduling it, thinking about it, reading or learning more about it. Keep your passions alive, they are what define your soul.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Operation Beautiful

On a recent Sunday morning visit to the gym, someone left me a secret message.

I have to say it put a smile on my face and a curiosity in my mind. It left me wondering how many lives could be changed with the power of a little encouragement.

I opened my gym locker to find a note saying "don't ever let anyone tell you that you aren't beautiful. Pass on the message that you are beautiful and keep it going." from

I grinned like a high schooler. I immediately put it in the locker of the girl next to me and witnessed her shine too. It was funny to me how a small anonymous note made my day, perhaps my week.

But isn't that what every girl wants? To feel beautiful and for others to notice it too? I couldn't think of a more perfect place for Operation Beautiful to be in full affect then at the gym. Sometimes women can be our own worst enemies, especially in our heads.

I spent some time checking out the Operation Beautiful website and enjoyed reading all the fun ways other women had come up with passing on the beauty effect. I immediately made a mental note to pick up some fun post-it notes to become an ambassador for the cause.

The world could use more beauty in it, especially beginning in our own hearts.

To learn more, visit

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Casserole Season

It’s been casserole season lately.

Winter’s final exhale has brought a mixture of bittersweet to my circle of friends. There’s been a layoff, a cancer diagnosis, a divorce, a heart scare and a new baby. Along with these changes, comes the ever-present casserole. It is simply the right thing to do. There is something wonderful about a square of comfort delivered by loving hands.

The casserole once was an important reassurance for me. When I was in middle school, my dad was in a life-threatening car accident. My days were filled with school, followed by the long drive to the hospital and back home again. Exhausted, worried and scared, I remember coming home and seeing the casseroles spread out on our kitchen table. Their well wishes brought kind relief and warmth that is hard to explain.

Miraculously, beautifully -- the casseroles kept showing up on our kitchen table. Sweet encouragement from friends, neighbors, church ladies, people I didn’t even know. I have never been more grateful for such kindness.

When you are beat up by life, a casserole might be the best thing you can imagine. It is a glimmer of hope when none can be found. More than food, casseroles say “hang in there, you’re gonna be okay, kid.” It is a high honor to give someone that kind of hope, even if it’s only a casserole.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

13 Reason Why Women Should Take Up Boxing

I'm a lover not a fighter.

But watching my friend Lisa box makes me wonder if she is onto something by taking up the sport this year. Watching her go from already pretty fit to now superwoman level has been stunning to watch.

Let me be clear -- I'm not talking about taking a class on boxing (although that could be good too). I am talking about getting into a real ring and fighting Rocky style with the headgear and bells, the whole bit. The little bit of boxing I have done with a trainer has definitely given me a sense of pure grit that is simply not available on a treadmill. The unnatural but thrilling moment comes as I wrap my hands up in protective gear and then slide on those big bad gloves. Next with every hook, jab, cross -- all I can think of is pure power.

My friend Lisa now carries a certain air with her walk. I have quietly noticed life doesn't intimidate her as much, she knows what to do under pressure, she handles things with agility -- just like she is in a virtual boxing ring. Dare I say this -- she is one bad mamma jamma.

But don't take it from me -- you can hear it from her direct. She is giving a talk about "13 Reasons Why Women Should Take Up Boxing" on Wednesday, March 3 at Ignite Raleigh at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC at 7 p.m. (for more info, visit

I may not be a boxer, but I'm fascinated by the life lesson that my friend Lisa gives. The idea that when you are willing to do something totally out of your comfort zone, it changes everything. Even for the people who watch.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Birthday Love

I'm feeling very loved.

After a small avalanche of birthday wishes on Facebook, topped off by a cozy family evening of fondue and red velvet cupcakes, my love tank is full. It doesn't take much to make me happy these days.

After all the sadnesses of Haiti, a friend's husband struggling with brain cancer and another gal pal who is beginning radiation and chemotherapy, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I have my health, a great husband, a lovely son and a stunning collection of friends who are good with computers.

The beauty of social media is it's snappy ability to remind everyone that it's your birthday. As always we still get to enjoy birthday cards, birthday lunches and of course, presents from our close family and friends.

This year brought birthday wishes on steroids -- as I got celebratory wishes from my chiropractor, grocery stores, retail stores, the vet and yes even my dentist. Some may think that this is really cheesy, as they don't really care about your birthday, they just want your business.

True, but I'm still going to bask in my birthday love wishes, even if they are from my mechanic.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What to Do with a Bad Book?

After treasuring the book Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, I was looking forward to picking up her next book, Cleaving.

The Julia book was a blast for me -- My mom practically had a personal gourmet shrine to Julia Child growing up. It was a treat to read along as Julie plowed through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking series. The "Cleaving" book was supposed to be what happened next to Julie Powell...I couldn't wait to see.

In one word: disaster. Quick summary: naughty cheating on husband story, going to work at a butcher shoppe in detail and all the horrible self-destruction style behavior to go along with it. Lovely. Just the sort of pick-me-up you need for 2010.

Not only had I bought the book, but also had taken the extra step of downloading it to my electronic reader. Truly, I felt invested. I had paid good money, now what to do with a horrible, drag you down electronic book? I felt sort of like watching the Tiger Woods debacle -- horribly disgusted, but for some reason unable to look away.

What to do with a bad book?

1. Stop reading -- Trash the book.
2. Plow through and hope it gets better.

Maybe I had high expectations, maybe I'm not cut out for the dirty little secret experience. I have learned this about my reading style -- life is pretty rough, so know what you are getting into before you go and spend good money on a book. Especially an electronic book that you can't even re-gift or take to charity or get your money back.

Perhaps I'm in the wrong state of mind for this sort of book right now. Maybe I will save it for another day and see if it strikes me differently. Perhaps never would be about the right time.