Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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And That Makes 101

birthday, harry potter birthday, twins, one year blog I’ll say it again: The most interesting fact about myself, Melinda aka Lou, is that I share a birthday not only with my twin sister Meredith, but Harry Potter as well.

Because of this, July 31st just might be the coolest birthday ever. Just saying…. (cause what is cooler than HP?)

Also, being a twin is the coolest thing ever.

twin, birthday, harry potter, marriage, year, changes

 

Just like these pictures, I think the world looks better when Meredith and I are together. The first picture is great, but doesn’t the second one have just a touch more personality? (or a lot?) I have loved sharing every birthday with my best friend. I feel blessed beyond belief that I have had someone by my side for every day of my life… experiencing a lot of the same things… being my number one no matter what. It really hit me, just how much I depend on Meredith, when I was at my own bridal shower and basically felt like I was having a panic attack. The reason? It was the first time I had ever opened presents by myself. DO YOU REALIZE HOW SCARY THAT IS? When you’ve only ever had someone, usually opening a slightly matching gift, right beside you? Everyone’s eyes were on me, not us. It was weird.

But you know what? I’d rather have her beside me. It’s just a cherry on top of a great huge gluten free cake that my husband, Greg, and Meredith get along so well. I get to hang out with my two favorite people almost every day.

So, Happy Birthday to us. Happy Birthday Harry Potter. Love you all!

Today also marks one year for Hey Lou Writes. On my 23rd birthday I wanted to start something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I wanted to write about writing, reading, and maybe share some tid bits about my life. (My VERY first post.)

One year flew by. Now I’m 24 and I’m a completely different person. I’d say that never before has one year changed me so much. Not even when I graduated from high school. Not even when I got married. Not even when I started writing. No, this year surpassed all of that as far as changes and growth. I feel as though the core of who I am was altered by people I met and things I experienced. I wasn’t expecting my 23rd year to be so …. important. But it was.

I…

lost more than I ever thought possible. 

gained more than I ever thought possible. 

made the biggest mistakes of my life.

was humbled. 

forgave and let myself be forgiven.

crossed something off my bucket list and became a chicken mama. 

had my marriage grow stronger… I thought I knew what love was… but now I know for sure.  (aka, I have the best husband in the world)

lost friends.

met new people who will be in my life forever. 

sang in front of people for the first time. 

got my biggest rejection letter EVER.

cut off my hair.

planted a garden, both vegetable and flower, and they are both providing us with beauty and nourishment. 

watched more sunsets and sunrises than ever before. 

cried.

laughed.

prayed.

spent time with my sisters.

watched my mom beat breast cancer.

realized that to live a life filled with true love, one ought not to be so selfish.

wrote 101 blogs. oh yeah, baby. 

There you have it. It was quite a  year and honestly, I’m not sorry to be moving forward. I think 24 will be a better year. Maybe not quite so eventful, but filled with growth all the same.

birthday, harry potter, twinsLove, Lou

 

 

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The Deluge

albuquerque storm, weather, flooding, lightning

Photograph courtesy of Brandon Wells, Albuquerque!

Two nights ago Greg and I, along with many other cars, stopped on a major street simply to watch this storm take place on the mountains. It was beautiful. It was a little freaky… and it captivated us all. Lightning this intense lasted for more than an hour.

I’m from a place where when it rains, it pours. Typically, this downpour will last five minutes. Once in a blue moon (seriously, not even once a year) that rain will last for more than an hour and reach hurricane-ish levels. It can be scary.

That was last night.  (News on the South Valley flooding… watch the 3rd or 4th video… yikes)

And scared was how I felt when I stood in the bathroom shower (to get a good view of the backyard through the window) and watched as chairs blew across the backyard, a pool cover from two houses down whipped across the sky and landed on our minivan, all the while our lights were flickering on and off, and the band Wildewood was waiting to load their equipment into a truck. (They had a show!) Because, you see, we usually take the minivan. But this was what our driveway leading back to the (pool cover ravished) minivan looked like:

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the tree

This photo was taken hours after it actually fell. When we had to load the truck out front for their show, it was still pouring buckets and wind was still whipping cows across the sky. At least our chicken coop was heavy enough to stay grounded.

At one point, Greg and I volunteered to get something from my sister’s car, which was out back with the minivan. I thought, “Hey, I’ve got this short hair. I can change my wet clothes… I might as well take one for the team!”

WELP, Greg and I got through the back yard, opened the gate to the (further back) backyard, and I told Greg, “OMG, I think I’m going to cry. I need to go back inside.”

This might sound a little exaggerated, but it was what I actually said. I got very overwhelmed, being out there. It made me realize that not only are we completely desensitized to the news and clips on TV of hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis, but we are also unaware of what people have had to deal with. I have watched a flooded street on the news and hardly thought anything of it. Sure, I’ll say, “Wow, how sad.” But seeing my own backyard get ripped apart… sunflowers ruined… my body bombarded with rain and wind… well, it scared me. And I am aware that what happened last night was NOTHING compared to what millions of people have experienced all around the world. We had a hiccup of a storm compared to some places, yet I found myself overwhelmed enough to run back inside the shelter of my home.

Talk about learning a lesson. Talk about feeling blessed beyond belief that we live in a place that hasn’t had many natural disasters.

That being said, I’ll now tell you how last night went after the storm. Wildewood still had a show at the bar Low Spirits, after all. They were troopers. Greg and Alex of Wildewood did most of the loading up, and in two different cars we made our way to the bar, in the dark, and across streets where power was out and rivers were forming. I held Greg’s hand (squeezed, actually) the entire time and then finally took a deep breath once we were there.

And then, at Low Spirits, something so cool happened. I felt like I was in a movie. The first two bands scheduled to play already had their gear inside. The power was out, a generator was provided some light, and these musicians began to play acoustic music, not even on the stage, but simply at the bar, and all those who had braved the weather to see them play still had a chance to hear them play. It was quite a sight.

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Pawn Drive and Baba, playing in the dark.

Eventually the bar closed and the four of us headed over to a different bar to eat tons of food and drink some drinks. The roads were semi-safe by then, but rivers were still forming all over the place. It was the calm after the storm, though.

albuquerque storm, weather, downpour

Greg (hubby), Alex, and Meredith (twin!) of Wildewood. Enjoying a drink after a storm.

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the twins

And eventually… Greg and I completely pooped out and had to call it a night. Uffda.

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The Lous Sleeping

And good news, we can get to our backyard now. (Thanks to our awesome neighbor, landlord, and Greg who cleared away the tree.)

albuquerque storm, south valley flood, downpour

All’s good in the South Valley

All in all, I learned that it’s hilarious to watch people run through the rain with rain gear on (as long as it’s not me), people will make it to the show if it means enough to them (way to go, all musicians who showed up!), and fun can be had… especially after the storm is over.

I hope we keep getting rain, but I also hope that no more trees are knocked over and that everyone is safe!

Love, Lou


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And Then I Read The Corrections and Vowed Never To Be Like…

…well…. anyone in this book, really.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen is another must read. (I’m sure I’ll do a review on a book I don’t like very soon, because all I seem to be doing these days is reading. [I’m currently in the middle of a book I’m not enjoying, but I’ll get through it, don’t you worry.])

UFFDA! Welp, since I don’t want to be like anyone in this book, I’m currently dealing with a little bit of denial. Not really, but sort of.

You see, I’m a Midwesterner. I DO consider myself from the Southwest nowadays, but when it comes down to what I call POP, or how often I say UFFDA, or the fact that I get my Minnesotan ACCENT back whenever I’m within a ten mile radius of someone with their own Minnesotan accent…you get the pictures. Once you’re from the Midwest, a part of you will always stay there. I will always have lefse in my heart (and regrettably not in my stomach.)

writing, memory, fishing, dad, vivid

just caught fish at a LAKE… yup… MN for sure ;)

So as I read The Corrections, I was constantly reminded of that random old lady down the street, that person I could have turned into, the way my life might have turned out had we stayed. (NOTE: This is in no way a statement about everyone in the Midwest being like the characters in this book, but hey, just read it, and TELL me you don’t at least see a little bit of yourself… and learn to laugh at yourself, too, please.)

As always, I feel the need not to tell you too much (as I am usually accused of doing here in the Williams household.) I will give you just enough info to convince you that this book will in some way improve your life.

“She had so much personality and so little anything else that even staring straight at her he had no idea what she really looked like.”

Because do you want to be an unhappy man, with an awful, lying and conniving wife, who ultimately blames his parents for everything that goes wrong? 

Do you want to have affair after affair with married men and women random people while you pine away at your career because you literally have nothing else in life? 

Does getting fired from the best job you can imagine sound great, especially after taking a ton of drugs and doing something very much against the rules, appeal to you?

AND…Drum roll please…. do you want to feel as if the only chance for your own personal happiness lies in having one last Christmas with your three children in town, because you suspect all might fall even further to sh*t and if it doesn’t happen now, it most certainly never will? 

Now listen. I am not one of those “Nobody can be truly happy, marriage is b.s., and the American Dream is the biggest joke, right after something baseball related (do I know anything about baseball? No. But someone who does would say something about it here.)” I’m not. I’m really happy, I swear. I think people make their own happiness based on what they choose to have in their lives, which includes people, objects, laughter and more. That is: the right people, not many objects, tons of laughter, and a lot of other factors that we decide as we wake up in the morning. 

“And if you sat at the dinner table long enough, whether in punishment or in refusal or simply in boredom, you never stopped sitting there. Some part of you sat there all your life.”

Even being a fairly positive, optimistic person, I still loved this good-and-depressing book. I was wrapped up in the drama of each individual story. I wanted the characters to fall further and further, simply to understand and learn how that could possibly happen in life and why, during the fall, it seems okay to be going down instead of up.

Enid, the mother and wife in this story, is an always judgemental, yet always feeling judged, good and “true blue,” tradition following Midwesterner. She and her husband Alfred have one of the saddest relationships I’ve ever read about, and to make matters worse, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. All she wants is for her three children, Gary, Chip and Denise to come home for Christmas.

The fact that Gary’s wife refuses to ever step foot in her in-law’s house for a holiday again makes this difficult. So does Chip’s sketchy new job in a foreign country, where his main concern is conning the people in the US. And Denise shows interest only because, as the youngest, she feels the most obligation to at least make her father happy, if nothing else.

“The only guaranteed result of having an affair would be to add yet another disapproving woman to his life.”

This book will keep you up at night as you read about business ventures that are way over your head, heartbreaking mistakes, even more heartbreaking judgments, and ultimately… the love of a family, and how no matter how messed up every. single. person. in said family may be, there will always be a hidden reason you should love them and be grateful for them.

And you’ll immediately start feeling like the crazy you thought your parents were, they aren’t. (love you mom and dad!)

And you’ll see your marriage as one of the most functional in all the land.

And you’ll never want to travel to a foreign Eastern European country for “business.”

You might even stop trying to change everyone around you and start accepting them for who they are. You might reach over and grab your spouse’s hand, realizing that the gesture means more to some people than a million dollars. Your heart might warm, even though this is a pretty hard-core realism-induced depressing-state-of-America type book.

You’ll see the light, or it may find you within these pages.

Let me know if you read The Corrections. I’d love to hear that it affected someone the way it affected me.

Love, your truly happy, content, and Midwestern

LOU

The Corrections, book review, hey lou writes, writing

Promise!


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My Bones

My Bones

by Melinda Williams

“I’d stop, if I were you.”

Edgar turned slowly. His eyes were open only halfway, and he looked as if he were unable to open them any more. I’m sure he hadn’t slept at all, which might be why he seemed to have more wrinkles than the last time I’d seen him. I could see the change even in the moonlight.

“You,” he whispered.

“Give her to me,” I said. I could hardly stand the sight of his hands touching her.

Edgar’s eyes watered and his lip trembled. “This is all I have left.”

I shook my head and laughed. “You never had anything.”

If you want to know the truth, I wouldn’t talk to Olivia’s dad. I wouldn’t necessarily go running to her lover (or can I still call him that?), either. He won’t tell you the truth about me. Only I can do that. The truth can be boiled down to these three things:

I love Olivia Manning.

She is mine.

She will always be mine.

When I met Olivia, she was wearing a short summer dress with buttons along the front. I began working for the Manning family that summer. I’d just moved to England. I knew no one, save for the aunt I lived with. She had convinced her friends to hire me, the young foreigner. It was my first day, and I was meeting the horses I was to take care of. As I stood and brushed Jay (my favorite horse, though I didn’t know it yet), Olivia ran by me. Her bare feet pounded against the soft grass. She was about to trample the flowers I’d just planted.

She noticed me and stopped. Her brown hair was down and messy, the length of it almost reaching her elbows when her arms were to her sides.

“Oh, hello,” she said. “You must be the gardener. Mum and dad are having you take care of the horses too?” Olivia smiled, and time stopped. I don’t mean that in an exaggerated sense, because I know time stopped for her too. When she held out her hand, I took it. There we stood, stillness around us, for an eternity. I already knew how soft her body was; her hands were an indication of delicacy and warmth. I learned her smell, a perfume-like sweat with a hint of lillies. Her smile was for me, directed at me, and because of me. I made her smile so many times.

I was the one who let go of her hand. I had to, though it seemed she didn’t want to stop the contact of our skin. She looked down at her now empty hand and held it with the other, staring at the palm.

“Yes, gardens and horses both. And you,” I said, “must be Olivia.” Olivia’s father had already spoken of her. He thought we would get along. She didn’t look eighteen. Olivia held herself like a woman, not a teenager.

Olivia smiled and nodded. She tucked her hair behind her ear. The wind blew her dress, and without meaning to I saw more of her tan thighs. I straightened my hat and patted Jay.

“Jay’s my favorite. I’ll ride him someday, but right now Edgar doesn’t want me to. He insists he’s not tame enough.”

“Edgar?”

“You’ll meet him, I’m sure. He’s always here. He stayed in town for college. To be with me. I assume we’ll marry soon enough.”

My smile faded, and I turned to the horse.

“I think Jay’s my favorite too,” I said.

I took a step toward Edgar. “I wonder… what her father would say.”

“Why can’t you just let me be?” Edgar sounded desperate. “For once?”

“Let you be? Why would I?” I looked down at what he held in his hands. Lovely, even then.

Edgar noticed and took a step away from me. He always, always did the wrong thing. He never learned. “She was afraid of you, you know. I’m surprised you weren’t the cause.”

I had to laugh at poor, naive little Edgar. “She wasn’t afraid of me. She trusted me. Even now, I’m sure she’d want me to make sure she stayed where she belongs.”

“Why are you out here?”

“I’ve hardly left.” I pointed to the hill where I’d slept each night. I felt more at peace that way. “I have to take care of her.”

Let me do this,” Edgar said through clenched teeth.

“But you can’t.”

A bead of persperation rolled down the side of his head.

“I know where you’re going. I’m sure her father would love to know.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“I would. We both know how much he already despises you. It’ll be easy to convince him.” I took three large steps toward him, daring him with my eyes to back away again.

I’d spent far too much time around Edgar and Olivia. Always, it was that way.

Edgar and Olivia.

Edgar and Olivia.

Edgar and Olivia.

All I did was garden and spend time with Jay. The horse was just like me. We both didn’t fit in with others of our kind. We each had only one who understood us. I understood Jay. Olivia understood me. I could tell whenever she waved at me from across the grass. Whenever she included me in conversation during the family dinners I was invited to. Jay and I also had only one action that infuriated us. Jay reared up each time I whistled. I saw red whenever Edgar led Olivia past me without so much as a hello.

It was the rare occasion, like the first day I met her, that I saw Olivia alone. But when I did, she would talk to me for hours. Her smile became genuine. I hardly minded when she spoke of Edgar. After not hearing her speak at all, the words she said didn’t matter. I’d lie down under the shade and listen to her go on and on about anything.

The day she confided in me, I wanted to cradle her head in my lap. I wanted to keep her from the misery that was sure to come. I felt murder in my hands but instead used that energy to hold sweet Olivia.

She held my hand, and again time stopped. The leaf falling from the tree floated right over our heads. The bird in a nearby tree was silent. Suddenly, the air was still. Neither of us let go this time.

“I- I have to tell you something. Oh, it’s awful! I have to tell someone or I’ll explode.” She looked so young that day. Her freckles stood out in the sunlight, and her hair was braided.

“You can tell me, Olivia. You can tell me anything.” I squeezed her hand.

“Oh my god,” she said. “I don’t know if I can say it.”

“Go ahead.”

“I began to feel funny. I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve been sick almost every day. I can hardly be around poor Edgar without screaming at him over some silly thing. And then—” She blushed. “I skipped a month. You know. I realized it. I realized I’m pregnant.”

Instantly, I knew what I had to do. But first, I knew Olivia’s father must know.

“Please say something!”

“Shh…” I said, wrapping my arms around her. “It’ll all be okay. It’ll all sort itself out—”

“I can’t stand it! We’re not even properly engaged! Of course, I’m sure he’ll propose now… but if my father were to know! Oh!” She cried into my shoulder.

“It’ll all sort itself out,” I said.

Later that day, I saw her father.

“Sir, I have news. You musn’t be angry with me for being the one to tell you, for I have Olivia’s best interest at heart.”

“Well, what is it, then?” I knew he liked me (I had a way with horses he admired and envied), and I heard the immediate doubt in his voice. There was no way I’d lose the faith Olivia’s father held in me.

“It’s Edgar, sir. He’s not good. He’s not like we all thought.”

He slammed his paper down on his desk. “Out with it!”

“He’s done something awful, sir. He’s… well, I’ll just go ahead and say it, then. Olivia is with child.”

Edgar grimaced at my words.

“We all remember the day he forced you off their property. After what you did.” I shook my head and looked down at her lovely face.

“Please…” More sweat rolled down Edgar’s brow. His arms must have been getting tired.

“There’s one thing that will keep me from speaking of what you’ve done tonight. I don’t think her father deserves to hear something so awful.”

Edgar didn’t say a word.

“I think you know what that is, Edgar.”

He shook his head before speaking. “No…”

“She never even loved you. You’re dilusional. It’s sad, really. Olivia and I had something real, something no one will ever understand. And now… I’ll sleep on the hill every night. She and I, we can be together.” I smiled and stroked her brow. Her cold, beautiful face.

Edgar closed his eyes and shook his head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You never have… she was afraid… she didn’t want…”

“Shh… don’t panic, Edgar. We both know what has to happen. She needs to stay here. It’s for the best, though I doubt you’ll agree.”

Poor, poor Edgar. He would never admit to himself that Olivia was truly mine. I knew what made her laugh. She loved to hear about my mishaps with Jay. She loved, even more, to hear of my successes with her untamed and favorite horse. I knew it was her dream to ride him someday. I knew which side of her face held the dimple that showed up only in her most joyous of smiles. I knew how many colors her eyes held. Edgar thought they were merely blue. They were also yellow, purple, and brown.

How could Olivia be anything but mine?

Olivia came to me for small things and big. She told me when she was admitted into the all-girls’ college she had hoped to attend. She once brought me a bouquet of daisies.

“Bring them home and think of me,” she had said. I dried the flowers and still had them in a vase by my bed. (I miss seeing them very much on nights I spend at the hill.)

She and I almost spent time off her parent’s property once. It was Edgar who got in the way of that.

“I want to get out of here,” Olivia had said. She leaned on the fence post as I rode Jay around in circles.

“Let’s go, then. I’ll be done in an hour.”

Her chin rested in her hand. “What’ll we do?” She sighed.

“Plenty of things. I could show you where I take walks. We could go to a show. I have an extra bike to get us somewhere—”

“Darling!” We both heard Edgar in the distance. I kicked Jay so he’d go faster. I looked anwhere but at them when Edgar reached Olivia and they kissed.

“What are you up to, my dear?” Edgar asked her.

“I was just planning my day. I’m bored of the same old. I was thinking we’d—”

“But Olivia, I have plans for us! My parents are in town. Did you forget? It’s such an important night.” Edgar lowered his voice, but I heard him all too clearly, “Surely you wouldn’t miss it to spend time with the hired hand? She’s hardly a suitable friend, Olivia.”

Olivia said nothing, and when I looked up she was walking away with Edgar, up the grass and into the house.

It was three weeks later that Olivia confessed her secret to me.

It was only six days after her confession that I took care of everything for her.

“How is it for the best? You’re crazy.”

“Me? Crazy? I’m not the one holding a dead body, Edgar. You dug her up. That’s crazy.”

“I needed to take her where she wanted to be buried. She didn’t want any of this!” Edgar looked around after raising his voice. No one could hear us.

I tried to expain. “She belongs here. She and I need to be close. That’s the only way. Now Olivia can rest beside the hill. Under her favorite tree. I sent her to her grave to save her.”

Edgar set down Olivia’s body and vomited on the ground beside her. He wiped off his mouth and approached me. “You what?”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Oh, that’s the best part.”

“The horse. The horse trampled her… crushed her skull…”

I smiled.

Just as I watched from the hill as Edgar dug his love’s body up from her grave, I also watched Olivia’s last moments. Riding Jay would do just fine. It would be perfect, really. Just how I knew she would want it.

I had hinted to Olivia that Jay was ready to ride. I’d ridden him for days without any troubles. I knew her well enough to know that she would take my word for it.

“Jay loves to ride in the grove by the hill, especially.”

“Oh! And you should have seen her face!”

Olivia had been laughing and smiling as she rode Jay in circles.

Edgar was sobbing into his hands, though I couldn’t understand why. I was telling him such a happy story… His tears were unnecessary.

“What did you do?” Edgar asked me.

“I knew she couldn’t live with the shame of what you did. Have a baby? Be an unwed mother? Never. She didn’t want it. I had a perfect plan.”

What did you do?” Edgar asked me again.

“I whistled.”

I watched as Jay violently threw Olivia’s small body to the ground. She didn’t move as I approached, yet she was breathing. I soothed her, told her I loved her, and kissed her cheek.

I’d already picked out the rock. It was just the size of a horse’s hoof.

I crept away and waited until the news of her death reached me. Olivia’s father came to my home. I was invited to the funeral. I suggested she be buried where she died. It was hard to hold back my joy. I’d done her the biggest favor.

“So, Edgar,” I said, turning away from him and walking over to Olivia’s body. I stroked her hair. “I suggest you place her back. Dawn is almost here. As the one who put your sweet love in her grave, I think the body belongs to me.”

My back was turned to Edgar on purpose. I hoped he would do it. And he did. I felt the first blow, was gone by the second. Now I could be with Olivia forever.

He buried me with her with the panic of the approaching light.

They were my bones.


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If You’re Going To Be A Writer…

…you should probably consider marrying someone who is slightly obsessed with coffee. Not just making coffee or drinking it, but knowing the beans, learning how to roast, and brewing it in at least 5 different ways.

coffee, writing, marriage, roasting

there’s ray

Or, marriage aside, learn to do all this yourself. You just can’t go back to drip or those weird little cups after experiencing the real thing.

Because like me, you might know that having a cup of coffee or tea is just about the nicest way to start a day off. Why is this? I think it’s because it’s warm and cozy (even in the summer), tastes great, and is equally nice to enjoy alone or with someone.

I love drinking coffee on my own. I love drinking it with Greg even more. (And that’s only partly because I usually mess up the measurements somehow.)

This morning my dear hubs roasted his own green beans for the first time. And it worked like a charm.

coffee, roasting, marriage, writing

the green beans

roasting coffee, marriage, writing

roaster and beans afterwards

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Greg!

After a morning like this, a writer should surely be able to bust out at least one poem.

And if that’s not enough… grow some flowers. And get a chicken that is cuter than pie.

coffee, flowers, roasting, chickens, marriage, writing

lovely! When I drink my coffee, I look at these.

chicken, coffee, roasting, marriage, writing

Harvey’s cute butt

Happy Tuesday everyone. Try to step out of your coffee comfort zone and brew in a new way today!

Love, Lou


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Apparently Humans Are More Terrifying Than Zombies

(Caution: slight spoilers… though I can in no way ruin the experience for you. I promise.)

I read World War Z by Max Brooks this week. And this is how I felt during the last few chapters:

world war z, zombies, book review

oh, gosh, what have I done

Do I recommend it? 

YES.

Did I fancy myself tough enough to read it? 

YES.

Was I, though?

Heck no.

Through the accounts of many “high up” people who survived the zombie apocalypse, or simply, Zack (Zombie Attack… though this was never specified), we are given a taste of what it might be like to have the living undead knocking on your door. Or through your windows.

At first I thought, “This is so smart… so well written… so in detail about government policies, official plans, the screw ups of every country in dealing with Zack, that it was hardly even scary.” I was too distracted by the rich dialogue and professional zeal many of the characters possessed.

Yeah, I can handle it.

Then, when I read more about what humans did to survive, and how crazy humans can get in a dire, world-wide epidemic, my blood ran a little faster through my veins. Cannibalism? Eh… I can handle it. Starvation and staying away from the moans and groans of the enemy who are in Total War (never resting… never ceasing… something humans are virtually incapable of being, though Zack is only capable of being such), and just waiting around every corner for you to make a peep? Oh yeah, and when they start to groan, it’s like a feeding call, and they all swarm toward you. Eh… when are you coming home, Greg? 

world war z, zombies, book review

unless you become a zombie instead. pretty sure they don’t stay together

I was, in fact, home alone when I read the part about humans who had gone so crazy that they acted, in every way, like a zombie, yet had never been bitten. These humans, quislings, as they are called, are actually more of a threat than real zombies. They are even crazier. They don’t freeze as quickly. They carry diseases in their mouths that will cause death. They will attack you even faster than a regular zombie, probably.

Well, rest assured I locked every window, kept on every single light, turned off my music, and sat in silence as I finished the book.

I was terrified.

Because, folks, that’s what happens when I read a book!!! I cannot help it. I am so deep in it. I imagine I’m there… I’m that kid trying to get out of my thirteenth floor apartment building with bed sheets tied together, fighting off Zack at every turn, every time I land on a balcony, every time I try to gather supplies, and knowing that I have to face millions once my feet reach the ground. I am that lady who has to make it through the forest alone, after my flight team has died, and try not to make a single noise, knowing the undead are lurking everywhere. I am that guy who had to fight off the underground tunnels in Europe, where many people sought refuge, and it turned out to be a living hell. I am that little girl whose family had to resort to eating others as they froze off, once our family was established around a lake in the North and winter came. I am Melinda, who is freaking freaking out.

That’s that way my mind works. That’s why I love reading. It’s why I cry so often when I read. It’s why I can’t sleep after reading something terrifying.

Some people love that kind of a rush. I never seek it and I don’t love it. Luckily, the scared feeling left pretty quickly. It was mostly that night alone at our house when it was windy and the gate outside our window kept creaking open.

Yeah, that was the worst of it.

I survived Zack, just like the characters in this book.

You will, too, I think. ;)

Have you read World War Z? Did you see the movie? I would never see the movie.

Do you love the feeling of being scared? Give me some of your bravery via internet comments… I need it!

Love, Lou


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Stuffed Zucchini Boats (organic, of course)

Yum. Today I had a great lunch. I decided it was good enough to share the recipe.

I’m calling them Stuffed Zucchini Boats. I had a starter recipe from Pinterest (where else?) and I only had about half the ingredients, so I made up my own.

Here goes:

zucchini, organic, recipe, garden, stuffed zucchiniI was lucky enough to have these items picked straight from the garden.

Full ingredient list:

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

2 zucchini

1/2 c cooked rice (I used black rice… not wild… black)

3 cloves garlic (from the garden, too! You can use less, or also add an onion, which I didn’t have)

~2 collard green leaves

1 tsp curry powder

dash cayenne

1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese 

dash of chopped:

     parsley

     chives

     basil 

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil to use while cooking

zucchini, recipe, organic, garden, stuffed zucchiniFirst I scraped out the middle of the zucchini (and saved it.) Then I chopped up the collards. stuffed zucchini, garden, organic, recipe

I sauteed that with the rice, minced garlic, curry and cayenne. I added some olive oil and water, then covered with a loose lid for a few minutes. Easy as pie.

zucchini, stuffed zucchini, recipe, organic, garden Fill the boats!

Bake for 20 minutes at 400.

zucchini recipe, stuffed zucchini, garden, organic While that was happening, I made a side dish.

All you need is:

Green beans and purple beans, if available. (another thing we have growing)

Collard Greens

Curry

Olive oil

There is no scientific way to do this. Just pull out your inner cook, chop up the greens, put everything together with a drizzle of oil, and heat it up. I can’t tell you anything more specific.

collard greens and beans, organic, garden, recipe

green beans, purple beans, collard greens, recipe

recipe, organic, garden, green beans, collard greens That was a tasty bowl of food. It held us over while the zucchini boats baked!

Once the zucchini was done, I added the cheese on top and broiled the boats for just a few minutes, until the cheese browned.

zucchini boats, stuffed zucchini recipe, organic, garden Once out of the oven, I added the chopped parsley, basic and chives.

Then all of a sudden, I had this sitting before me:

zucchini recipe, boats, organic, recipe, garden And we, the Lous Williams, were content and happy and full.

Good luck with your cooking… let me know if you have any luck or try another version of this!

Love, Lou


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Tear Down to Build Up

Some thoughts recently:

Even though this got me down, I realized that all I needed to do was refocus. I got rejected. So what. I’m a writer and that’s part of the process.

I hate to admit that the taste of success, followed by the rejection, really did affect me. I haven’t written nearly as much as I should have. Plus, with that Blog Every Day In May Challenge… I was giving all of my focus to the blog, and very little to my fiction/short story/novel writing. I realized I had to start over. I had to just let things go…. I had to stop, drop, and sit back and relax. I took a short blog break. I took a sort-of writing break altogether, but I’m back in action.

During that time I:

Chopped off all of my hair. It’s one of the most refreshing, liberating, and confidence-boosting things I’ve ever chosen to do. Yay!

short hair, change, the pickaxe

I’m loving it.

pixie cut, the pickaxe, change, tear down

me and mah books

 

Began a new book. It’s very personal in some ways, and just the book I’d like to pick up and read (which they say is the way to do it, so, yay again!) Some parts have been difficult to write, & I am finding myself writing out plot lines, character details, and chapter by chapter notes for the first time. I think this is a good sign. (though it’s by no means super organized. Read here about why that is.) I’ve had fun making up the (tragic) scenarios, because although the book might feel personal, it is very different from the life I live. That’s the beauty of a book. You never know what lead the author to writing it, what he or she took from real life, and what came from simply listening to a song. Ahhhh, the beauty of secrets.

writing, organization, notes, the pickaxe

I’ll never be completely organized, but this is a start!

I got a new job!!! Well, internship. I gave my two weeks at the bakery (which is really almost a month, since this starts in mid-august), and starting soon I will be interning (full time!) with Skarsgard Farms here in Albuquerque. I am SO EXCITED and SO READY to take on a new challenge. (Come visit me at the market!)

This will be me, not just at home, but at work:

garden, albuquerque, local, organic, produce

out in the garden

Those are the highlights of the changes in my life.

Oh, and I also thought I’d be giving you all a summer reading list update every Sunday. I realized that goal was a little too burdensome for me. Now, I’ll just be doing those at random. But don’t think I’ve been slacking off, either. I finished two books in the last two weeks, I’m reading two right now, and I still have two more for book club. (Ask me how I have so much time to read, and we’ll have a real conversation, oh boy!)

I have been relating to a poem of Rumi’s lately, so I’ll leave you with that. Maybe it’ll speak to you in the same way.

The Pickaxe

Rumi

Some commentary on I was a hidden treasure,

and I desired to be known: tear down

this house. A hundred thousand new houses

can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian

buried beneath it, and the only way to get to that

is to do the work of demolishing and then

digging beneath the foundations. With that value

in hand all the new construction will be done

without effort. And anyway, sooner or later this house

will fall on its own. The jewel treasure will be

uncovered, but it will not be yours then. The buried

wealth is your pay for doing the demolition,

the pick and shovel work. If you wait and just

let it happen, you’d bite your hand and say,

“I didn’t do as I knew I should have.” This

is a rented house. You don’t own the deed.

You have a lease, and you’ve set up a little shop,

where you barely make a living sewing patches

on torn clothing. Yet only a few feet underneath

are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.

Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.

You’ve got to quit this seamstress work.

What does the patch sewing mean, you ask. Eating

and drinking. The heavy cloak of the body

is always getting torn. You patch it with food,

and other restless ego-satisfactions. Rip up

one board from the shop floor and look into

the basement. You’ll see two glints in the dirt.

~~~
Maybe you need to tear down your house, like I did, and find something that works. Make a big change. Take a portion of your life and start over. Good luck!
Love, Lou