October 20, 2015

Memoir, The Art of (The living of)

Well hey there, stranger. Nine months into 2015 and here I am, out of nowhere. I had not been missing the blog at all most of this year, but in the last few weeks, I've had the urge again. The urge to both journal, and share, and I'm not on Twitter, and Instagram doesn't favor those long comments, and then, hey, forehead slap, what about MY BLOG?


These posts, whenever they come, will likely be short little microbursts rather than Big Deep Posts.

And so:

I'm reading The Art of Memoir, by one of my literary heroes, Mary Karr. (I wrote a big gushy post about Karr awhile back in this post.)  Suffice it to say that though she's from East Texas and I'm from Southern California, her people are my people in fundamental ways.

The book is a fast read, but I'm purposely reading it in short ten or fifteen minute bursts. My current morning ritual is to get the kids off to school, make coffee & breakfast, read a writing/craft book while eating, then write until I have to go to work -- which only gives me about half an hour of writing time, most days. But routine is a topic for another time.

Last Tuesday wasn't a great day, or evening. I pissed off a friend by bailing out on a reading I'd said I'd attend in OC. I attended another reading, in much closer Fallbrook. Sometimes stepping out my insular bubble is a good thing, but that night I felt raw, pointless, and very alone in my weird writer-head.

And I had this thought, ringing through me, that sometimes the writing is not about charging my laptop, the daily word count, the submissions, the rejections, the research, the reaching out for community.

Some days, the writing is all about the hard things, the brokenness, the sadness, the isolation, the swirl of shit that makes me feel I need to write a memoir in the first place.

That was Tuesday.

January 7, 2015

SNOW! (The Best Day)

I can't think of any time in my life when I would have declared New Year's Eve as the best day of the year.

But maybe, very possibly, this time it was.  The best for last.

In the very early morning hours of December 31, it started to snow here in Temecula.  Slowly, lightly, but snow it was. I woke the kids, per their requests.  (My Facebook feed was lit up all the previous day with locals talking about the forecast of predicted snow & wondering &  hoping & betting if it would actually happen.)

For context: this is Southern California.  About five miles north of the San Diego county line, our little valley sits at about 1,200 feet elevation. The temperature stayed in the 90s into early November, and the last time it snowed here was 2004. (And it sure didn't snow like this.) 

New Year's Eve was the best day. The longest day. We were up and outside around 1:30am, back inside for hot cocoa when it turned back to rain an hour later, asleep briefly and then up for good around 5:30am, when it started snowing in earnest. And of course, the kids still insisted on staying up until midnight, to ring in 2015. (We made it, barely. Also, I'm incapable of napping.)

The best day, the longest day.  Other words: Magical. Awesome. Amazing. Unbelievable. Magical, again. Narnia. The last day of the year! What a way to go, 2014.  We'll be talking about it...forever.

January 5, 2015

The Rambling Nest

Well, check me out. I went and changed both the look and the name of the blog.  The Reading Nest is now the Rambling Nest, and believe me, I pondered long and hard over how (and whether) to make this change.

I considered starting a whole new blog, but that didn't appeal. I want the "rambling" part of the title to reflect the many day trips, road trips & vacations I love to experience with my family. Since I already have quite a lot of posts on the "old" blog on that topic, I didn't want to lose them for good...nor did I want to copy them and somehow insert or transport them over into a new blog.  (When I decided to start blogging again, it wasn't because I wanted to suddenly start devoting hours and hours to tweaking and fixing a blog.)

There's still a lot here I want to change...most especially the URL [fixed!]  but also the About Me page, my photo, post labels and classifications, etc.

In the end, I decided that the old Reading Nest name reminded me too much of the subjects I most ended up ignoring here...I had neither a book review/bookworm blog, nor was it a "nesting" type of home decor/lifestyle blog.  And after a year away, and feeling so much differently about blogging in general, the old name felt like a too-snug and too-itchy sweater that I just wanted to shed.

The Rambling Nest, for me, is a nod toward my ever-present wanderlust for new roads and sights to explore. It's also about my "rambles" as a writer, working on essays and memoir & seeking out the writing life while mom of two busy, smart kids. And the "nest" still acknowledges my introvert tendencies to nest safe & cozy at home with a good book.

If you're new, welcome. If you've been around these parts before, welcome back. Hope you like how I've spruced up the place.

December 30, 2014

Wrapping It Up.


It's been so long, you probably thought I went the way of so many bloggers this year and just gave up the ghost and unofficially closed the doors here.   

Actually, you probably didn't think of me at all, and that's okay, too.  

So here I am, on this second-to-last day of 2014, doing a little shout-out to myself and my 2 devoted readers.  Wrapping up the year...but not the blog.  

I guess without meaning to, I up and took the year off from blogging.  I didn't plan on it, had no forethought or master plan.  What mostly happened was that I got a job, a real job -- a part-time job, and one that's ideal for the kids' school calendar (holidays and summers off!)  but a job nonetheless.  The upkeep of certain things took a definite hit -- the laundry, the dust along my baseboards, the general tidiness of the house during the week -- and most especially, the blog. 

With the time off and some mental distance from blogging, I could better appreciate what a total and utter failure I was at being a Real Blogger.  See, a couple of years ago, at the start of 2012, I set out on what I believed was a sincere attempt to have a Real Blog. With a Real Readership, and a Real Little Niche, and maybe even make some real-life, through-the-interwebs friends. (And maybe even make some Real Money...or at least nab a few freebies?) I even paid money to learn tips from an online blogging e-course. 

Reader, I was a dismal failure. Despite hours and hours spent on my tush applying myself to the art and the act of Blogging, I just....really kinda sucked at it.  Oh but Reader, how I tried! I focused on commenting regularly on my favorite blogs (building community), on participating in Link Parties and Month-Long Posting Fiestas and writing regular posts and features here and doing All the Bloggy Things.  (I even created a Facebook page.)  But nothing happened, or changed much.  My stats hardly budged. I got no shout-outs, just a few and far-between "Likes." I made no friends, really, despite driving across freeways to other counties and attending Bloggy Events and Putting Myself Out There to local-ish other bloggers.  

All for naught. Except that I got better accustomed to sharing my own voice, to putting it out into the ether, and knowing what I like and want from blogs...other blogs, and my own. I learned that simply because a blogger lives in my part of the state, or the same county, or down the street, and shares my same hair or the same job or enthusiasms or  astrological sign, it doesn't mean they want to be my friend. Or read my blog. I learned that as an incorrigible introvert, there's a lot of Bloggy Stuff that I'm never going to feel comfortable doing, or pursuing, or writing about. 

And that's okay. Blogging is weird, the internet is weird, and people are really, really, weird. Me included. Me especially, maybe. 

So, just to be clear: I'm back, and I'm not quitting blogging. There will be some changes here, for sure. Some clarity. Some winnowing down, some fat-trimming. Maybe even a (slight) name change. Who knows?  The pressure's off, the stakes couldn't be lower. The core of my deepest loves: day and weekend trips with my family, exploring my beloved home state of California, books and music and random ramblings: that's what my blog is about, that's what I've missed sharing and writing about. 

Until the next post:

Strangers on the Internet Inspirational Quote Print: 8"x10" Wall Art Hand-Lettered Typography

 I'm a big grown-up lady person with kids and college degrees and houseplants, but some days I still need to have that poster tattooed on my forehead. (From the awesome and hilarious brain and Etsy shop of Emily McDowell. ) 

Happy New Year!

March 27, 2014

It's A Living

 Yes, look! I'm alive. Alive and....blogging. 

Apologies for being gone for so long, and without any warning. That certainly wasn't intentional.

A quick catch-up: So, the biggest new thing is that I got a job that I started back in mid-January. A real honest-to-god job with a paycheck and everything.  On paper, it's a perfect gig for this time in my life: a part-time library aid within the same school district as my kids, which means I get to enjoy the same holidays, breaks, and school calendar as they do. (Like right now, we're all on spring break.) Plus, I get to work with books and recommend them to kids and read aloud to the kids and re-visit the days when I was five years old and played "library" with my books. 

In reality...there is no perfect job. We'll leave it at that. (But it's still close, and I'm  pretty jazzed that I got it, no small feat in the competition to score a good district job around here.)

In other news, things have been pretty status quo  in terms of me still feeling fairly housebound and craving some change. (Because, y'know, my first job in a dozen years doesn't count.)  No major adventures or road trips or vacations lately. 

However: last week, the husband and I escaped for a quickie overnight stay to downtown L.A., to see Kraftwerk in concert. It was a little pathetic how excited I was to be in THE CITY! ANY CITY! and away from the 'burbs and our extremely kid-centric community. Our getaway was much too short but it was excellent, as was the concert.  I admit that I'm not the huge fan of electronic music that my husband is, but it was still thrilling to see those old iconic Germans up there on stage. (And though I may have nodded off a few times, in my defense, the concert didn't even start until 10:30. And also: Kraftwerk.)  
We stayed at the Westin Bonaventure, which I thought was sort of funny, just because the glass building is such an old icon itself.  Does anyone but me remember the early '80s sitcom "It's A Living"? It starred Ann Jillian and featured a group of cocktail waitresses who worked in a bar at the top of the Bonaventure. I kept thinking of that, and hearing the theme song in my head.
The Westin Bonaventure was the strangest hotel I can remember staying in recent memory. It feels very much like an airport, what with all the escalators, the lounge areas, and the random food court options.  On the other hand, the privately run brewery restaurant inside the hotel was really good. Best Caesar salad I've had in ages.

And the glass-elevators that run on the outside of the towers were still a hoot.  
So that's it for now. We actually have some minor travelling plans later this spring break, so I'll have something else to share soon.

Oh! And this: I recently deleted my Facebook page for the blog, so if that's how you've been receiving updates, I guess you won't see this. My reasons weren't that complicated, it just didn't feel right anymore.  But I am totes still on Instagram and you still follow me there. 

I am, and shall remain, your @readingnest1

January 9, 2014

A Hike for the New Year

 On the first day of the new year, I roused my family from our holiday stupor (we didn't go out on New Year's, but we did stay up past midnight) and got us all out of the house for a hike.

This is the same way we entered in the new year last January, too. You can see pics from that hike here.

This year, we headed a bit north to the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve. It's only about 20 minutes north from us, plus a few minutes to climb west and into the foothills.

It was obvious that a whole lot of other people had my same idea, as it was busy, even in the mid-afternoon. 

I was so glad to be out in the open air, taking in the vistas and just feeling a part of the larger world.  Here are some photos of our day out, all taken with  my sucky camera phone.

The building you see is an old adobe, supposedly the oldest structure built in Riverside County, back when this area was settled by ranchers and cowboys.  The tree is  a big old oak that needed a hug. At least, that's what my Tucker said, and then he ran up and hugged it. 

I'm not sure what it is about the light, the sky, the long shadows, but these photos feel very quintessentially "Southern California winter" to me.  It's been a very mild and dry winter, a statement that probably makes you want to smack me upside the head if you live anywhere east of Arizona.  Sorry, Polar Vortex survivors.

But I do wish for some gray skies and a good dose or two of rain before the winter is done.

And this time, I AM speaking purely metaphorically.

Back soon.
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