Bird’s Nest

Today’s prompt word is yarn. At first I thought, how am I going to write about yarn? When you think of yarn you think of someone knitting or crocheting. People use yarn in all types of ways to make blankets and scarves and cozy socks. You may have even seen some decorate their hair using yarn. 

I thought of all those things too. But since I don’t knit or crochet, I thought of something that naturally looks like a ball of yarn; a bird’s nest!

Now that spring is here, that means baby bird season. If you go out into your yard, you’ve probably seen a couple already. I personally have seen a lot of blue jays in my yard lately and I’m pretty sure they’re starting to build nests on a couple of my higher up window ledges (my cats love pointing out the bird butt activity through the window). 

The “yarn” that birds use is made of twigs, feathers, blades of grass and mud. And they, creatively, weave these things together to create their future baby bird homes. It’s quite a skill for an animal with no opposable thumbs right?! These are their warm blankets and cozy socks! 

Back in my wildlife rehabilitation days, I got to see an eagle’s nest. That was the biggest ball of natural yarn I’ve ever seen and I could only marvel at the ingeunity it took to create it especially since their scale of twigs is quite higher than my blue jays.

From eagles to beavers and everywhere in between you have to admit, nests are architecturely awesome balls of yarn. ūüėĀ

What’s in Your Name?

Have you ever thought about why your parents named you what they named you? Have you ever asked?

Most people are named after a family relative, you know to be a Jr. or grandma’s first name is your middle name. It’s a way to remember them by or perhaps your parents felt your ancestors were honorable so they wanted you to share that honor because you looked like a future, successful, honorable baby!

I don’t know what I’m saying. For the record, I do not have children (yet).

I asked my mother where my name came from. If you’ve been following this blog, you probably know by now that my full name is Chanel. So, why Chanel? Even my middle name is uncommon. Not that I want to be common but most middle names are Marie, Elizabeth, Ann; you know normal.

So I asked her one time. She said she thought about naming me Victoria. I do NOT look like a Victoria. I started thinking of all the nicknames; Vickie, Tory, Vicks (as in vaporub??) Definitely not a Victoria. I guess I’m grateful she didn’t named me after Game of Thrones characters like most people do nowadays (Not that Khaleessi (Daenarys) isn’t a badass name. Hell, even Cercie is a ruthless name!) I get distracted easily. Can you tell?

Anyway, my mother told me the reason my name came about is because when she was pregnant with me, Chanel No. 5 was the only perfume she could wear that would not make her vomit (cause you know I was doing a good job inducing that).

Nowadays its fun to tell that story and listen to people screw my name up. I have an imaginary T (Chantel), rhymed names (Janel, Michelle, Sherrell) and the closest word (channel) when people do not know how to pronounce it. I roll with them all, believe it or not, because usually people are being so nice that I don’t have the heart to tell them they’re butchering my name!

Do you have a name that has a unique story behind it? How about a name that people always mess up when they say it? ¬†You don’t have to share your name if you don’t want to but feel free to share your story in the comments below! ūüôā

Priorities

We’ve all got them.

If you could make a list of everything you need to accomplish in a day in order to feel good what would be on it? Drinking enough water, making your bed, running…? I go through my days with a mental list of what I absolutely have to get done in order to…what…keep everyone happy? Keep myself happy? Keep my dogs happy? Keep my boss happy?

My list looks a little something like this:

  • walk dogs
  • work out
  • make sure my store hasn’t burnt down
  • maybe make my bed
  • shower (obviously)
  • talk to my mom/grandma
  • check in on my friends
  • figure out dinner
  • take a probiotic
  • feed my animals
  • make sure the kitchen isn’t a train wreck
  • read

It isn’t always in that order. Today I took the dogs to the park, worked out, cleaned my car (inside and out) and pulled some weeds. I caught up on Scandal and was able to read a little. …then I sat down to write.

Do successful people keep a list? An ongoing tally of what they need to do and want to do each day? Maybe they do and maybe they don’t, but I always feel better about myself when I can check things off my list. I have a list at work, I have a list at home, I even give my boyfriend a list, and often times my mom. It keeps me accountable…and so do my friends.

When the rest of my world is crazy I know I can turn to my list and start checking things off. When I can look down and see progress I feel more in control. Sometimes my list is full of things for other people and sometimes it’s for myself. Either way it gives me something to account for my time and efforts.

What’s on your daily list that helps you feel accomplished? Maybe you’ve got some things we should start adding to our lists.. ūüôā

Reading Vivaciously Through Another

When I’m not completely exhausted from life, I love to read. On average I read anywhere between 85 to 110 books a year. Lately I’ve been trying to up that number but, unfortunately, there’s only so much time in a day. Usually it only takes me about a day or two, three tops, to read a 300-400 page book. I felt really bad this last week because I received and advanced reader copy of a story and it took me 10 days to read it! 10. whole. days. It made me feel like crap because I was tasked with a mission essentially and I felt like I was dropping the ball. Because of that, and many other factors, I decided to rearrange my life a little to heap more of what want to do on my plate instead of what I didn’t want to do. (Goodbye long-term, online job)

What’s nice about having book loving friends is during those times mentioned above, I have friends spamming me about the book I gave (forced) them to read. My co-author is currently telling me about the part she’s at in the current series I told her to read and I LOVE it! The express reason I buy books, besides to support the author, is so that I can share them with others and they can tell me all about it. I know I already read it but re-living it through another person’s perspective, especially my friends is such a fantastic feeling. To know that they are feeling the things that I felt at the time I read that part of the story makes my feelings feel a little bit more validated? You know how sometimes reactions are over exaggerated? I feel like mine are sometimes. It probably stems from the fact that I can be overly emotional at times but when my friends are feeling the same excitement, emotional, wtf feelings that I felt then I’m for sure certain it’s not just me.

Another great thing I like about sharing my books is it encourages me to go out and find more, new authors to read. Currently I’m thinking about exploring the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. I’ve been on a science fiction fantasy kick lately and I’ve heard a lot of great things. But I’m hesitant to jump in this series since A Court of Wings and Ruin¬†by Sarah J. Maas is coming in days and I’ve been anticipating the release of this book for over a year! My co-author is currently reading the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews. This is her first foray into urban, paranormal fantasy coming off her contemporary romance kick. My other friend has decided to start reading historical romances coming off her own science fiction series. It also strongly encourages me to do re-reads. So far I’ve made a list of all the books I plan to re-read once I fulfill my Goodreads challenge which involves reading 100 books this year not including re-reads. (I’m at 27 so far and we’re almost half way through the year! I’m so behind!)

I always know that whatever I read will most probably be a hit with them. Whenever they finish a series, they always ask me, “So what am I reading next?” I always have my recommendation list handy and ready to recommend something to them so that I can vivaciously read through them all over again.

Do you have any activities that you enjoy even more because of your friends? Do they provide encouragement or similar feelings? Feel free to share in the comments!

Northern White Rhino

Sudan, the world's last remaining male northern white rhino, has joined Tinder in a bid to successfully breed and save the species.This is Sudan. Currently he is the last, surviving great northern rhino in the world. As far back as 1919, there were two to three thousand great northern rhinos in the wild. By 1989, there were only 15 left in the wild and by 2007, 0. Why, you ask? Extensive poaching of course.

When conservationists realized what was happening, they began to pull the wild rhinos and bring them to captivity in the hopes of starting a breeding program to repopulate the dying population. Captivity didn’t work so well for these big beasties. For one¬†reason or another, their survivability rate continue to plummet in captivity. It was decided that the last few great northern rhinos would be transferred back to the wild, where, naturally, they thrive better and have round the clock, 365 day, armed protection from puny poachers.

Sudan and his species plight has garnered more attention as of late because the Ol Pejeta Conservancy has started a Tinder profile for this handsome specimen of rhino in order to raise donation money to be able to perform in vitro fertilization. So far its been a real hit, but they have a long way to go.

(Picture credit: CNN)

Fly

To piggyback on yesterday’s post, ever wonder what it would feel like to truly fly? When you think of flying, you first imagine birds; from as small as hummingbirds to as large as eagles. Then you imagine mechanical flight like airplanes, gliders, and spaceships. You may even imagine angels; humans¬†with wings.

Flying in an airplane is so surreal. I’ve been on many flights throughout the years and it’s still an exhilarating experience. In anticipation of flying, I find myself staring at¬†the clouds. You see these light, fluffy puffs of air and think how easy it would be to slice through one. Then you ride in an airplane, soar¬†a cloud, and realize they are not as light as they seem. The journey can be quite rough especially if it’s cloudy. But when your heart is pounding in tune with the plane as you’re getting higher and higher and you pierce through that dense¬†layer to the world above, it takes your breath away. People always say clouds look like cotton blankets in the air; blankets you want to just bounce on or sink into their soft, cuddly layers. Could you imagine if it was possible to lay on a cloud for just a moment? Would it be as soft as it looks? I imagine maybe fog is what a cloud feels like on the ground but I wonder if it’s the same in the air.

Cleveland at the edge of Lake Erie

When flying in any direction, it always looks like you’re riding the edge of the Earth. Logically you know it’s a continuous journey but there’s always that sense of going to that edge and seeing what’s on the other side; falling into a new place and time.

Flying in the daylight is great. The sun is always so beautiful but flying at night opens up a different scenario. You’re staring down at land, maybe an area you are familiar with, distinguishing the dark spots among the light. There’s a lake, and there is maybe forest or farm land, possibly mountains. It turns into a sort of game of guessing the geometrical shapes. I like to think of what could be moving in the bodies of water. If only I could have X-ray vision, just for a moment to see below the surface in the dark; the life thriving in the lakes and oceans as these creatures go about their nightly routines.

Do you like to fly? What do you think about when flying?

Wanderlust

Wandering

Yesterday and today I got the opportunity to travel to a state I never thought I’d ever have a reason to visit: Wisconsin. My work participated in a tradeshow and I got to experience what’s involved in these types of events. The show itself was pretty cool but a few of my photo opportunities came from walking around outside. Whenever I travel to a place I’ve never been to before it’s always interesting to compare the area to my home.


One cool thing about travelling to new places is experiencing the people, their everyday lives and their culture. You will always meet someone who is proud of the town they stay in and eager to tell you all about it. These past two days I met a variety of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, age groups, and geographical locations. All had stories of their home towns in some form or another. You can tell they all had deep roots because even though they were in a new place, they couldn’t help but talk about getting back home to their friends and families; back into their regular routine. But they hope to pique your interest, entice you to come visit or at the very least, share their story. 

Poem #5

It’s a gloomy and gray day today. Perfect weather for this next poem that’s a little eerie if I do say so myself! Today’s poem type is a sestina. Here is the complicated google definition:

a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.

I wish I could explain this in regular English but I looked up envoi and that led me to ballade which led me to another poetry word and I can’t. SO, here’s the poem. I called this one¬†Predator:

Say goodbye to day and welcome night
When many creatures come alive under the moon
to hunt for prey
and quench their thirst for blood;
that takes away the hunger.

How many predators satisfy their hunger?
On many a cold night
when a scarce amount of blood
is available under no moon;
and it is hard to find prey
in total darkness.

They creep into that darkness
with bellies growling with hunger
and capture unsuspecting prey
under an invisible moon
following the lure of blood.

Finally tasting the warm, sweet blood
that tastes much sweeter in darkness,
under a sky with no moon
while predators squelch their hunger,
mindless of the cold night
only thinking of their prey.

What of the prey?
Who sit and lose all their blood
on a frigid night
in total darkness;
never to feel the pangs of hunger
again under any moon.

Under a sky with no moon
dead carcasses of prey
disintegrate along with predator hunger;
pools of blood
can be seen as black puddles in the darkness
freezing into the land of the night.

Whether or not there is a moon, the race for blood begins.
Prey scurry deeper into darkness
away from predator hunger in the shadows of the night.

Writing just to Write

My life is insanity.

This past weekend was the busiest, weekend I’ve had in a really long time. My best friend came up to visit for an early birthday bonanza which basically means book sales. We¬†are super avid readers. Well I’m obsessed with reading and I make her read everything I read because I need someone to talk about my books with, haha.

Anyway, a while back I found this website that tells us when and where book sales are occurring in libraries. If you’ve never been to a library sale, go! It’s the most wonderful experience to see books that should be 8+ dollars for $.25-$1. We hit up 3 sales on Saturday and scored huge. In total we ended up buying 82 books for $35. The second sale was the kicker because it was bag day which means you can fill a brown bag with as many books as you can possibly pack in there and pay $5 for the whole bundle. Incredible.



Now its back to the work grind and blog grind. At this moment in time they both make me want to yawn. You ever have just feel brain exhaustion? It’s not like I’m completely tired, I mean I got at least 5 and a half hours of sleep last night, but I feel like my brain just can’t think properly this morning. I think I’m starting to feel overwhelmed with what’s going on in my life currently.

About 2 weeks back I took a leap and responded to one of my favorite authors expressing my interests of being on her review team. I didn’t think I would get a position considering I leave book ratings but not many detailed reviews (thought I’ve gotten a lot better at that since the beginning of this year) and surprise, surprise, I made it on the team. Then, following close behind her first book, I got a short story from one of her beta readers who is writing in her Kindle Worlds to review one of her books and then the author sent me the second book and another indie author asked me to review one of their books! I didn’t expect this at all and I’m so behind! I can usually read a book in a day or two; 4 days max for an average 300 page book.

I’m still trying to finish her second book and she sent it over a week ago. I am literally wondering where all my time is going! Not only that, I’ve decided to quit my online job I’ve had for 4 years because I just can’t keep up with the minimum tasks I’m supposed to do every month on top of reading and now preparing for a trade show I have to go to tomorrow, for work, in Milwaukee.


I wish I had two brains. One could be dedicated to work, house crap and associated other adult things I’m unfortunately required to do. The other brain can be responsible for reading, writing and friend/husband adventures. When the necessary brain is required I can just unzip my skull and put in the brain that’s required for that moment in time. How I would walk around juggling two brains in regular society is semantics.

That’s all I have for today. I guess you can call this an update post because I spent the better part of and hour and 15 minutes trying to catch up on all of my fellow bloggers posts that I missed in the last 4 days. Hopefully life mellows out soon so I can go back to my binge reading, blogging everyday ways.¬†If you’ve been keeping up with the poetry series, I do plan on finishing that out with the last 3 or so poems I had left over. Hope my brain wakes up soon so I can be an actual productive member of society..

How do you cope with your exhaustion days? Ever feel like you have to write something even if its nonsense? Are you like me and wish you had more than one brain? I’d love to know what you think in the comments!

Poem #4

Lilibonelle today.
Stanzaic: Consisting of at least 4 stanzas
Syllabic:  Lines may be of unequal, unspecified length
Refrain:  The nth line of the 1st stanza must be the first line of the nth stanza.
Pretty self explanatory here. The refrain basically means that the second line of the first stanza begins the second stanza, the third line begins the third stanza and the fourth line begins the fourth stanza. I called this one Birth:

 

endurance of pain
to listen to the joyous cry
the touch of fragile fingers
overfilling her heart with love

to listen to the joyous cry
of the first breath of life
screaming to the world
that its finally free

the touch of fragile fingers
whose grip holds
the larger finger of its mother
claiming her as its own

overfilling her heart with love
as she sheds teas of happiness
for the life she brought into this world
to cherish for always and ever