Liz of happy sighs and St. Baldrick’s

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“For the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Do all the good you can, To all the people you can, In all the ways you can, As long as ever you can.”  – Epitaph, tombstone inscription in Shrewsbury, England

I love that quote because, religious influence aside, it doesn’t ask you to try to achieve an unattainable goal or hold yourself to a standard beyond your abilities.  It’s just a reminder, a gentle push—do good, all the time, in every way possible, every chance you get.  I don’t always follow this plea, but I do try.  And there are some that try harder than others and rather than make us look bad, they make us want to try a little bit harder. Read More

Foodie Penpals with The Lean Green Bean

In a fit of ambition in January, I signed up for Foodie Penpals, hosted by The Lean Green Bean.  It’s a penpal exchange program where you are matched with someone and based on a few questions, some blog-stalking and your own creativity, you send each other goody num-nums with a limit of $15.

Now, reveal day was January 31st.  HOWEVER, did you know that iPhones have a storage limit and even if you buy more space, you still can’t keep every video ever taken on there for forever, no matter how adorable your widdle stinky boo-boos is?  And it’s possible that you, in a fit of “genius”, will download everything to a flash drive and then delete it all off of your phone, but then proceed to lose said flash drive and panic madly until you realize you put it in a teeny inner pocket of your purse so you WOULDN’T lose the flash drive?

I have some problems.

But here is my reveal of the lovely lovelies that I received from Kristina, who is amazing and who gives the BEST penpals goodies, which I did not allow myself to eat (mostly) until I took photos.  Which was tough because they looked (and ended up tasting) super yummy. Read More

2013 Book Recommendations

books by ginnerobotFor the first time in my life, I don’t have time to read. This seems like not that big a deal, but this is coming from someone who is never without a book. While growing up, I constantly had a book in hand; while eating, watching TV, getting ready for school, on car or bus rides…I was like those kids you see in the store, glued to their iPhone or Nintendo DS and not paying attention to where they are, except mine was a copy of “Babysitter’s Club”.

Also, I’d apologize if I ran into you while being glued to said item, because I wasn’t raised as an entitled little shit.

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Life List: Send cards!

thank you by hellojenuine

***Edited because the stinkin’ link didn’t work!***

I don’t do resolutions.  Mostly because I break them and then feel terrible about myself.  My self-esteem doesn’t need the yearly hit, thank you very much.

HOWEVER.   I’m going to take on a small project for 2013 off of my updated Life List, and I think I’ll stick to it.

See, I love mail.  LOVE IT.  And I love cards and pretty paper and stationary.  LOVE THEM.  To the point that Jethro is willing to go to a mall 30 minutes out of the way, just so I don’t hit the one with a Paper Source in it.  (SWOON. I have been to heaven and it contains paper in Stardream Quartz and embossing powder…)

BUT, the thing is…I’m terrible at sending cards.  I haven’t been on time with a birthday card in years, unless it’s the one I bought on the way to the party.  I was late with my wedding thank you cards, I am STILL sending thank you notes and birth announcements five months later and just the other day I found like five Christmas cards I forgot to send out.

I suck at this.  I know that. Read More

Tater’s Birth Story, Part Two

When I last left you, moppets, I was about to head in for a c-section.  We called my doula, who was on her way home and was like, “What? Now? Okay, hold on, I have to changes shoes!”  (No flip-flops in the OR, which apparently is a rule. Besides, who wants to get placenta on your pedi?)  She was able to run in just as they were about to administer my epidural.

I felt surprisingly calm, which usually happens when I’m supposed to be freaking out and is a trait I hope I still have if I ever set the house on fire or something.  (Well, I hope I DON’T set the house on fire more, but if I do, that’s my second hope.)  The anesthesiologist asked if I was okay and I said, “Fine, I just wish I hadn’t watched all those “One Born Every Minute” shows because I know exactly what you’re doing back there and how big that damn needle is.” Jethro, meanwhile, was adorable in his scrubs and has his “I’m fine…I SAID, I’M FINE” face on.  He was a vet tech AND reads stuff on the internet too much, so he is silently freaking as the nurses tell me how calm he is and I should be proud.  (Totally was proud of him, but he had those ladies FOOLED.) Read More

Tater’s Birth story, Part One

Oh, the long overdue birth story.  Five months later.  It still feels weird to share this; not because it’s too private, but because it’s still a trip to think that it happened.  I HAD A BABY, Y’ALL.

Not that I could forget.  He’s in the other room, yelling at the dog.  (Who was it that said that having a kid was like living with a tiny drunk person?  Totally true.)

So. THE BIRTH OF TATER. Read More

A Quick Update

No, Kind of a Mess hasn’t turned into a book reviewing blog.  (How AWESOME would that be, though?  Seriously, these reviews are crazy fun…  I’ve been tempted to do a spin-off blog, but if I can’t feed and water this one, I probably shouldn’t get another pet.)  Tater’s birth story, and proper normal blogging, is forthcoming.   And don’t feel bad, if you think I’ve neglected my blog, you should ask my friends how I keep up with email.  (I LOVE YOU ALL. Forgive me.)

And to keep you reading, I bribe you with baby pictures. Read More

TLC Book Tours: Married Love by Tessa Hadley

A short story is often treated like a stepping stone that grad students and lesser writers use to build their skills.   Tell someone you wrote a book and you get congratulations; tell them you wrote a collection of short stories and they’ll ask you how your book is coming along.  For most people, short stories are like grilled cheese sandwiches—basic kid food that you practice when you are learning so that you can build your skills for more important things.

Except…that’s crap. Read More

TLC Book Tours: Because You Have To by Joan Frank

I was about two pages into Because You Have To: A Writing Life by Joan Frank when the following three sentences gave me pause-

A teaching mentor during a MFA program once wrote to me, in calm response to my own bewildered longing for time:

“One has plenty of opportunities during the day to write.”

I wondered, at the time, what on God’s green earth he was talking about.

This lady is my people.  I would have uttered the same words…well, mine would have probably included cuss words, but Frank is classier than I am. Read More

TLC Book Tour: Love, In Theory by E.J. Levy

Due to a rookie mistake (setting a post to publish at 2 AM instead of 2 PM, Alyssa?!? I mean, honestly…) this post is being run a day late.

My apologies to the people at TLC Book Tour and anyone who came over from there looking for the review; however, my regular readers won’t be surprised I made such a doofus move…

Be sure to check out the other reviews, but especially Picky Girl’s; not only because it’s her review day that I’m horning in on, but because she has some AWESOME reviews in general.  I think I just found a new favorite blog.
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One of my favorite movies is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Not just for the story or the acting (or Mark Ruffalo being Mark Ruffalo and therefore adorable and one of my fake boyfriends,) but for the realism it manages to convey. One of the best scenes is the one that a lot of people who hated the movie cite, where Joel and Clementine are smothering each other with a pillow. That scene is great because it shows the weird, wacky parts of being in a relationship and reminds us of the strangeness that happens when no one is looking in on us. It’s really hard to capture that realness and truth, but that scene does it. I got that same feeling of truth while reading Love, in Theory by E.J. Levy; a collection of short stories about love and romance through modern eyes.

As usual, the book’s description says it best:

In this funny, brainy, thoroughly engaging debut collection, an award-winning writer looks at romance through the lens of scholarly theories to illuminate love in the information age.

In ten captivating and tender stories, E. J. Levy takes readers through the surprisingly erotic terrain of the intellect, offering a smart and modern take on the age-old theme of love—whether between a man and woman, a man and a man, a woman and a woman, or a mother and a child—drawing readers into tales of passion, adultery, and heartbreak. A disheartened English professor’s life changes when she goes rock climbing and falls for an outdoorsman. A gay oncologist attending his sister’s second wedding ponders dark matter in the universe and the ties that bind us. Three psychiatric patients, each convinced that he is Christ, give rise to a love affair in a small Minnesota town. A Brooklyn woman is thrown out of an ashram for choosing earthly love over enlightenment. A lesbian student of film learns theories of dramatic action the hard way—by falling for a married male professor. Incorporating theories from physics to film to philosophy, from Rational Choice to Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class, these stories movingly explore the heart and mind—shooting cupid’s arrow toward a target that may never be reached. Read More