Saturday, May 19, 2012

Current Read

The Jefferson Key, Steve Berry

I just finished this one. Ate it up. I needed a break from Robin Hobb's fantasy world and Steve Berry's Dan Brownish style was perfect. Note. I feel like all the hooplah over Dan Brown's books a few years ago is still enough to warrant using his name to describe a style. The only down side to this whole situation is realizing, more and more with each book I read, that Berry has written his books, with the exception of a few stand alones, chronicling a character and are best read in order. Guess what? I have read 1, 6 and 7. AND, I'm pretty sure, but not 100%, that I have picked up at least one of the gap filling required reading for $1 at some book sale somewhere but have it packed up with half of our personal belongings in boxes in the garage. I am so thankful for a husband who also enjoys books. There is no judgement in him when, upon hearing my dilemma, offers to dig through the boxes on a long weekend Sunday afternoon to find out. That's a good man.

Ship of Magic, Robin Hobb

Back into the world of fantasy I go. I'm only a few pages in but I'm already getting the impression that this trilogy will be far more magical and fantastical (I'm allowed to make up my own words once in a while) than the last trilogy. Okay, sure the last one finished with dragons and magical powers of connection but this one started off with serpents (aka dragons in the water), oracles and magical treasure.

Do you ever just want to take a day, call in dead and read stories all day long? I do! Thank goodness for long weekends and a family that sleeps in. It might not be all day but a good hour will do.
I created this blog years ago to write. For me. All sorts of random things that were on my mind over the years, I have processed here, some of them deep and some of them ridiculously shallow. I enjoy writing. I enjoy the puzzle of putting words together to express things well (hopefully). I enjoy the expression of it. I strive to be thoughtful, reflective and considerate of others when I write being that it is simply another expression of how I hope to live, choosing my words and topics carefully and respectfully. I consider it a bit of a purging, too, forcing out the fragments of thought, processing them in black and white. There have been times when there would have been no rest from the musing if it hadn't been for a place, for this place, my safe place, to write them all down. I don't write for anyone. I write for me. If there are those that read it - and I know you're out there. Thank you! You help keep this fun - but still, I write for me.

Lately, however, this place hasn't been as safe and so, you may have noticed, I have been a bit more absent or, at least, a bit more superficial. At first I blamed it on time. "I'm just too darn busy!" Then, I blamed it on the depth of hurt and difficulty the last 16 months or so have brought into my life.  I believe it was a wee rabbit that said "My momma said if you don't have anything nice, don't say anything at all." Many a venting post could have been written if I hadn't held that to be true!

While those two excuses have some merit, the truth is, I've been afraid. This has not been as safe a place as it once was. While most of you have been encouraging, or at least taken the rabbit's words to heart and been silent, there have been the odd one who, reading something I have written through their own perspective, have taken it upon themselves to reprimand, condemn and otherwise criticize me for something they have read. Something they have taken out of context or read through the lenses of their own perspective. As a perfectionist and as someone who does not want to cause offense, I have taken these criticisms to heart. I have questioned my motives and the words I have chosen. I have been afraid to write for fear of causing offense.

Part of the healing process I am journeying is to evaluate those things that are freeing for me. Outlets that help me find peace or joy. The truth is, writing is one of those things. Collecting my thoughts here is good for me. Whether I like it or not, I am being forced to face my fear. Forced to face the criticism and evaluate whether it was justified or simply someone lashing out of their own "stuff." Forced to investigate my words and my intentions. Forced to realize that yes, indeed, I have been a big, fat, chicken. Pushed forward to find some peace and remember how this all started. I write for me. In order to heal, I need to continue to write for me. I am thankful for my husband who loves me in it all. I am thankful for bloggers like, Kathy Escobar, who have written extensively about the healing process of this kind of thing and have reminded me to be myself since everyone else is taken.  I am thankful, too, for friends who send packages in the mail with quotes like this one on the package:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~ Dr. Seuss

So here it is. No more being a big, fat chicken. Or even just a little bit chicken. If words in black and white are going to be part of my journey then they will be honest ones. Appropriate, respectful, humbled, broken and sometimes colorful words, sometimes deeper than others, but always honest, always truthful and always me.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Round 3

Well, this year's playoffs have pretty much been nothing like anyone expected or predicted. Unless you're Sutter and you're sitting back with your smug little grin waiting for your moment to say "I told you so." Ug. Wipe that smug look off your face.

So here we are at the Conference Finals and we're left with four teams vying for Lord Stanley's Cup. They're all hopeful if not a little worse for wear. Is anyone in Canada even still watching this thing? Anyone at all watching?

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers (1) VS NJ Devils (6)

New York. The only first seed still in this thing. And New Jersey. A battle of goaltenders. The Rangers haven't been flashy through the first two rounds. There haven't been a lot of hard hitting games or highlight reel plays. They are not an offensive force. There has, however, been solid defense and self control (not a lot of penalty minutes for this team). Lundquist has been the key to that solid defense, rallying the troops around him. They have simply played solid, well-rounded, team effort hockey, outliving and outlasting their opponents and staying steady in the face of close games. They seem like they are unfazed and unrattled...unless, of course, you're their coach who seems to always be a little rattled.

While they seemed to be a little off their game in the first round, New Jersey, especially Brodeur, came back to form in the last round against Philly, getting a well-rounded, all team effort from the whole team right from first line to fourth. Offensively, they've got guys like Kovalchuk playing well. The guy's got 12 points in the first two rounds. Not long as he stays healthy.

So how do they match up? By stats, Lundquist comes out on top of the goal tending battle. By stats. In the regular season, the teams split their match up with three games a piece, New York scoring more goals. But this is playoffs.

New York Rangers in 6.

Western Conference

Phoenix Coyotes (3) vs LA Kings (8)

Like the east, both of these teams are basing a lot of their playoff hopes on their goaltenders. And they can. Both Quick and Smith have proven themselves through the first two rounds. Both teams have had dismal power play performances. But hey, when you have penalty kills like they do, does it matter? Offensively, they've both been getting well rounded production with at least 13 players recording markers for their teams. Through these playoffs, LA seems to have been a bit more dynamic. They're riding the wave, so to speak. When two teams are as evenly matched (they came into the post season with only 2 points difference in their regular season totals), it seems that that will make the difference. It's like Edmonton (2006) and Calgary (2004); and 8th place seed, riding the wave.

So yes, as much as I would love to see that smug look wiped clean off Coach Sutter's face, I'm saying LA in 5.

And, just in case you're wondering, I have my Stanley Cup winner picked. I told Colin yesterday while sitting on the back deck in the sunshine. Stay tuned.