Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reading Rodeo


Sometimes I'm just like: "Booooooooks! All the books!!!!!!!!"


I just went over to the LA Public Library website, here at 2:30 a.m. when I can't sleep and I'm waiting for my allergy pill to kick in and attack these itchy eyes (caused maybe by my cat lying next to me with all his fuzzy wuzzy hair but do I care? No.), and I looked up one book that was recommended to me.

One book.

That book didn't come up in my search.

A) I'm a little surprised at you, LAPL. You have quite a large -- pardon my pun -- library, and I thought you'd have this title. Anyway.

B) All these other books that LAPL thought fit into my search came up, and I was like, "Booooooooooooooooks."

Le sigh.

I'm writing a book, and outlining that book, and buying other books of similar genre to read and then reading those books and then each one is spurring me on to read other books that are mentioned within them.

I've had this problem before. This ain't my first Reading Rodeo (I wanted that to sound like Reading Rainbow. Did I succeed?).

I have around four books shoved into a corner of my bed right now. I've been sleeping with my books for several nights now, probably a week at this point.

I could put them on a shelf, yes.

But in my bed they're just with me, you know?

Also I'm too lazy to put them on a shelf.

So tonight, though I already have at least five books currently cracked, I opened another. It's called The Nature of Jade, and I'm 10 pages in and it's great.

And I cracked it because -- well who knows why? Because I already have several other books I'm reading -- and enjoying -- so I just as easily could have grabbed one of those.

I mean it's not like I had to travel far to get one of them. They're literally in my bed.

But I'm Bailey, and I have (not really but self diagnosed sort of joking) ADD, and I wouldn't be the me who you know and hopefully love if I weren't the girl who reads 5, 6, 7, 8 books at once.

So I opened up Jade because my book that I'm writing is of similar genre and I'm doing research. Which is a great code word for: excuse to buy and read more books, FYI. So maybe if you love to read then you should decide to write a book because so far, for me, the writing process is upping the activity on my Amazon account considerably and I can't say I'm upset about it.

Anyway, so now I'm hooked on this Jade book, adding to the madness. And now the author is quoting things from this animal book, which from the title and content of it makes it sound kind of science-y and well dag nabbit now I just want to read that, too.

Reading Rodeo!

I just typed that to the tune of Reading Rainbow. How'd I do? Is this catching on yet?

Monday, October 5, 2015

Space cadet

There was a donut in my bed when I crawled into it last night.

It wasn't a prank. I put it there.

I had purchased two donuts on Sunday morning, ate one during the car ride home, and then came home and crawled back into bed, because I hadn't slept enough.

Alex, among others, thinks I may have an iron deficiency or something else wrong with me, because these days I cannot sleep enough. I sleep 10-12 hours a night and am still dog tired when I wake up.

Hence -- sort of -- the donut in the bed. I mean, 1, I had had my fill with the first donut, and just didn't need the second one. 2, the second donut became abandoned in my bed, because upon arriving home I settled immediately into my bed, where I seem to belong lately. Thus the donut fell out of my hands onto the mattress as I landed my fatigued body in place for more slumber.

The donut was placed into my bag this morning, and toted with me to work today. It is still yet to be eaten.

It wouldn't be terrible, waistline considering, if it never got eaten.

I had another star-studded moment this weekend, prior to my donut-bed-hoarding.

Alex and I went to an Oktoberfest event at the church where my college friend Caleb pastors. We ate German potato salad and drank beer and talked Kansas (Caleb's a fellow Kansan, so this kind of conversation is obligatory).

And then someone came up to our table and started talking to us.

Alex, being the polite little handsome monster that he is, asked her what she does for a living.

She said something along the lines of this:

"I create the sensors that they use on bridges so that [scientific smart jargon here]."


I could not understand her.

As in, jargon aside, I could not gather the words that were coming out of her mouth, piece by piece.

There were a lot of people talking in the room, and there was polka music playing in the background, further muddling the sound waves near my ears.

So I did the best that my little blonde self can do in situations like this, and I used my rhyming/similar-sounding-words knowledge to aid me. (Previous occasions using this method have proved unsuccessful, so I should maybe think better of this in the future).

I grasped on to the one word that I thought I understood -- she said "bridges," I heard "britches" -- and made my first connection to britches that I could.

My glorious, blonde, master's degree holding response? Read on, dear friend, if you think you can handle it:

"Blue jeans?"

Alex is yet to let this go. I think I made his year with this comment.

Sunday -- when Alex was still quoting, two days later, the infamous blue jeans comment -- we went to see The Martian (it's great) and while we were watching it and I was contemplating how I would for sure die on Mars, I kept thinking, "Space people are smart."

So between the donut, blue jeans, and Matt Damon solving every last problem possible all on his own (and further somehow not losing his mind while being all alone on Mars for over a year), I'm feeling of mediocre intelligence just yet.

I mean, I guess I still feel smart, but let's just say I've had some moments recently to make me wonder.

Blue jeans?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Patty Mike

I once found him in the living room sumo wrestling with our little brother. They were each wearing M&M costumes layered on top of more M&M costumes, three deep apiece (we were selling them in a garage sale). They kept backing up to opposite ends of the room and then would smash into each other, to inevitably fall down (usually the smaller of the brothers fell down, while Patrick kept his footing). This kept them -- and me -- entertained for quite a bit of time.

He told me regularly, when I was struggling with my emotions in my twenties: "I think you're great, and I'm not just saying that."

He's a youth minister, and he is perfect for the job.

He's running his...8th? 9th? 10th?...marathon today, to raise money for clean water around the world.

He calls his daughter Honey Bee, which I've stolen and use to address my boyfriend.

He makes his wife, and everyone else, laugh easily and heartily and regularly.

People often use "funny" as their first descriptor of him, but he makes it no shrouded secret that he is serious, thoughtful, and caring. He can switch from goof to whole-hearted listener in two seconds flat, and I love that about him.

He once made me emerge from the bathroom, towel wrapped around me, to see proof that he did in fact have a snake inside a pillowcase. Right there in the upstairs hallway. A snake in a pillowcase. I could only see its outline through the cow-spotted fabric, which was enough for me.

I can count on him to consistently leave me voicemails recounting his latest wildlife catch -- spider, possum, bat, snake. I told him he should keep a scrapbook or photo album of all these friends of his.

His alter ego, Milosh, from mother Russia, also leaves me voicemails. "You never pick up the phone for Milosh," he laments in thick accent.

Ironically Milosh did not answer the phone when his loving sister called to wish him a happy day this morning.

In fairness, he was busy running a marathon.

Milosh was the one who announced, via answering machine, that his first child would be a girl.

None of us could have predicted that hair, though.

During high school, I visited his college because I so very much wanted to go to school with my brother. I ended up going somewhere an hour away, and we saw each other at least once a month.

On my last day of high school, he waited over an hour for me to arrive home, so he, his future wife, and a friend of his could run down the driveway and set off fireworks for me.

He's very entertaining to Skype with. Or to spend any sort of time with in general.

I'm afraid this post isn't doing him justice. It's not letting you know just how great, and loving, and hysterical, and special he is. Patrick Michael, you are one of a kind. Here's to 33 more years, and then 33 more. And then at least one more, because I recall you boasting once that you were going to live to 100. And I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope you do live to see so many years.

All my love,

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A lot of thoughts for your Saturday afternoon

Sometimes my resting state is low-grade sadness. Or worry or what have you.

I think I've let this become a habit, after years of battling emotions. Years of expecting a battle to always follow the short-lived calm.

And I think it's time I work on doing what I can -- because some of it's out of my control -- to turn that resting state of discontent into one of calm and being.

I've come a long way, thanks to medicine and therapy and friends and family and supportive prayer and a loving man and a cat and just simply growing older and realizing that life does go on. That I am strong, that sensitivity sometimes makes life beautiful, that crying can feel great.

But just now, I got to enjoy about 40 minutes to an hour of contented sip-my-coffee-work-on-my-writing-peruse-Facebook-pet-the-cat time before my brain said, "Times up, time to feel sad now."

It's kind of ridiculous.

It's fairly upsetting.

And I'd like to see a new life pattern.

I've recently fallen in love with Christina Perri's song "I Believe."

In it she sings the following line: "I believe if I knew where I was going, I'd lose my way."

I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it's a nice sentiment. And maybe it is pretty damn true. We sure like to trip ourselves up as humans, trying to figure out what's happening next.

Most days I'm pretty good about the whole personal calling/vocation thing, at least.

I feel confident that I should write. I don't feel like a phony calling myself a writer when asked at a party what I do.

But I can get in my own way by telling myself I'll never finish my book(s). That I'm not disciplined enough. Not funny enough.


That one's killer. Just death.

When you're trying to write a memoir, and beyond this feel called to write one, probably the worst thing you can think is that your story's not interesting. How's that for motivation to isolate yourself for several hours and do nothing but explore that uninteresting story down to its every detail?

Yahoo! Sign me up! Give this coffee a warm up! (And make it Irish while you're at it, because I don't know how else I'm going to keep my self esteem stitched together long enough to write for even five minutes.)


I'm so neurotic I can overwhelm myself just coming up with lunch plans. I can be at work at 9:30 a.m. and start thinking about errands to run, my ratio of current hunger level to number of adequate snacks stockpiled at my desk, and just start losing it. Not panic attack losing it, but goodness gracious just wasting too much energy thinking about something as simple as lunch.

I remember a professor of mine asked us, "Do any of you just think sometimes," and here he clinched his fists and closed his eyes and tilted his head heavenward in agony: "Should I eat Chinese?"

I remember having a bit of a crush on him in this moment because yes, I knew exactly how he felt. I know all too well the emotional turmoil of deciding what to eat. And I don't usually even love to eat. If you've read this blog before you know I find daily meals to be a chore. Unless it's a Costa Grande burrito or Jimmy's tomato bisque, in which case we'll have lunch three times in a row.

Luckily, these workday lunchtime woes are easily forgotten, because I get distracted by filing and email and copy machine breakdowns that I fail to break down myself.

But here on a Saturday morning -- and weekends are generally the most fertile breeding ground for idle worries -- I can find myself just suddenly in a state of muted gloom.

And when you haven't made plans beyond drinking a cup of coffee in bed and 10 hours later meeting up with Alex to attend a party, the gloom can threaten to hang around. And worse, to grow bigger in its bacteria-laden character.

And I really think it's a habit to start feeling this way, when things get quiet, when an hour doesn't have enough planned structure, when one's options are to do valiant work that he's called to do or to simply sit back and enjoy some coffee time with the cat. Or maybe just clean the kitchen.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you that I do NOT agree that happiness is a choice. I believe that choosing to have a positive attitude can help boost one's mood. I believe that being around kind, happy people can put spring back into your step. But I think that if you are naturally inclined to melancholy or depression, this is not the result of you declining to make a choice to be happy.

Pardon my French but I think that theory is bulls*** and I fear it has caused many problems in our society.

If people could be happy by mere choice, we would all be happy.


But I do think, in my own personal case, that maybe after a decade of having a bent (due to biology, personality, and circumstance) toward anxiety and excessive reflection about the meaning of life, that I have possibly created a groove in my brain folds that veers toward these kinds of thoughts.

One thing I learned during my second major bout of therapy, during Graduate School Take Two, was to tell myself "I'm OK." To literally say it out loud. I was like the parent to my own inner toddler, and I could convince myself that I was OK by telling myself such.

I also realized that I could thumb through my racing, anxious thoughts by viewing them as pieces of clothing at a store. See a blouse, not interested, move on to the next. Forget the blouse. Do the same with my thoughts. Move on and forget them. Don't muse over something that you don't want.

So now that I've rambled for 1,000 words (congratulations if you've made it this far down the post!) about all this, I will come back to Christina Perri.

In that same song of hers I mentioned earlier, "I Believe," she sings: "This is not the end of me, this is the beginning."

She sings this line over and over. It's beautiful and moving and rhythmically calming to the listener.

I think I'm going to replace my "I'm OK" mantra with "This is not the end of me."

Next time I fall into melancholy after my Saturday coffee and cat time, I'll remember that I'm not finished as a person. Whatever emotion has landed in my chest will not stay with me forever. I will count my blessings and remember that it's so great that I have a whole Saturday to do all kinds of things I love. To read, to craft, to feel the cooler October 3rd air. To look forward to nine hours from now when I'll see my boy toy and schmooze at a birthday party.

This is not the end of me. And it's not the end of you, either. Carry on and pet a cat if you have one near.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Personal Question

Can I ask you guys a personal question?


Would it be OK if I wrote a book here on the blog?

I started writing a book.

Another one.

Did I finish the first one? Beside the point, People.

I was talking to Alex last night about The Martian, because we got tickets to see the movie this weekend, and my brother raved about the book, and A. started to tell me about how the author, Andy Weir, initially wrote the book on his blog.

By the way, I didn't fact check this tidbit of juicy information, like a good journalist should, because I trust my boyfriend to accurately report facts and you should too.

(Except when he's telling you the story about how we met, or the infamous "milk wine" story. He gets some facts wrong in those stories, trust me).

So anyway. Alex told me about this Weir guy and it got me thinking.

I told A. that I don't have any grandiose visions of getting a movie contract and a sudden rush of blog fan followers, were I to "publish" a book on the Daily Bailey. I realize my readership could easily remain very much the same.

But I think it would hold me accountable. It would be a little weird, and a little awkward, to be like, "Hey, Guys! Here are three chapters!" and then fall off the face of the earth. To Mars. Like the Martian.

I feel like if I knew three people* were reading my three chapters, then maybe, just maybe, they might expect a fourth. And a fifth. And eventually, an ending.

*approximate guesstimated readership here at the DB.

And then, Voila! I'd have a book draft!

Also, perhaps I could get some feedback along the way. My Mighty Three Readers might request that my protagonist do X, or meet Y, or eat Z during her journey. And then maybe I'll think, "Hey, that's a good idea," and re-steer the story a little.

I don't know. I haven't made my mind up about this. But I'm just putting it out there.

Have I whetted your appetite at all? Are you curious what the book is about? Would you want to read a book here? Like a book club? A little bit at a time? No pressure, no strings attached?

Let me know. Gracias, Peeps.