Reading, Cleaning, Gabbing

Happy Tuesday, my loves.

Are y’all as happy to see February as I am?

Did our pal, the groundhog, see his shadow in your neck of the woods?

My children are both having cognitive jumps, apparently. What this means is that their debate skills are forcing me to use parts of my brain that have been dormant for years. That’s a good thing, right? It doesn’t seem to be that great for writing, but I keep telling myself my brain will adapt. There’s lots of research supporting neuroplasticity I hear.

I’ve been reading more than usual which is a very good thing. I didn’t read as much in 2015, and I want to change that in 2016. Reading is one life’s greatest pleasure; I’ve found myself forgoing books for social media at times, and that has to stop. Not that I don’t like connecting on social media, but often, for me, it’s not connecting; it’s mindless scrolling and a giant waste of time.

IMG_1165I picked up this delightful book at a consignment shop last week. Okay, confession time: I picked up SIX books at a consignment shop last week. They were fifty cents each and begging me to rescue them from that tired, dusty shelf. I want to devour everything Pearl Cleage has written. I can’t say enough about how much I like this book. After being diagnosed with HIV, Ava Johnson sells her Atlanta salon and moves home to Michigan for the summer before relocating to San Francisco. What a summer! I’m three-fourths in and do not want this gem to end. This book has religion, sex, class, gender, and race themes throughout, with strong characters oozing strength, personality, and resilience. The dialogue is spot-on, and I’m struggling to get anything done because I want to climb into the pages and never leave.


Then there’s this… I first learned of the Clean detox a year or so ago when a girlfriend from high school was singing its praises. I’m a big believer in clean eating — meaning whole, non-processed foods, and have found that I do best when I stick to that. I wrongly assumed that “the Clean” — as devotees refer to it — was a processed, ripped-fuel-like, fad diet. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’ve read articles by Alejandro Junger on various sites, but I started reading this book last night and am pumped to try the 21-day cleanse. I’m not jumping in yet, though. He recommends a pre-detox prior to the cleanse, but I want to learn everything I can before I take the plunge. I’m a healthy eater, but the past year has been stressful, and I’ve had to focus on my kids’ allergy issues and moving and all my marriage drama, and well, my own health hasn’t been at the top of the priority chart. I think I need something like this to get me back on track. Stay tuned. And I’d love to hear if any of you have tried the Clean.

IMG_1166If you’re a regular here at Grief Happens, you’re probably well aware that I’d rather write, gab, work out, play, anything but clean. At the same time, I’ve discovered I thrive in a clutter-free, clean environment. Some kind soul gifted me this book a few years ago. I like that there are daily tips that add up to big results. Last week, I hired a housekeeper to tame the dirty dirty, because it is SO much easier to keep things tidy knowing the grimy has been removed. I can’t always afford a housekeeper, but I’ve found that when I can make it happen, life is better for all.

Two other books I’m alternating listening to on Audible have helped me tremendously over the years to reduce my clutter.

Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much was one of the first books on removing clutter that resonated with me. It really is a mindset.

Then last year (along with the rest of the world), I discovered Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I honestly don’t know that I would have gotten as much out of this book had I not previously read It’s All Too Much. I aspire to have a home that feels peaceful. Kondo’s big question when deciding to toss or keep an item is “Does it spark joy?” Simple, yet powerful. Clutter control will always be a journey for me. Organization does not come naturally, but I do recognize that I’m in a phase of life where it’s kind of difficult. I’m not a natural neat-freak; I have two elementary age boys who, bless them, love collections and toys with tiny pieces, and then there’s Gil, who has an Amazon Prime addiction and also is a bit of a collector (that’s the kinder substitution for hoarder), but he and I have both made progress. Like most everything with us…it’s a practice.

So, that’s what I’m reading. I was going to keep going with other forms of media, but I’m out of time, and this got long. I’ll continue later in another post.

Here are the links to the books I mentioned above.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, by Pearle Cleage

Clean, by Alejandro Junger, MD — There’s also a website worth checking out.

10-Minute Clutter Control * Easy Feng Shui Tips for Getting Organized, by Skye Alexander

What about you? Have you read any of these? What are you reading these days?






3 thoughts on “Reading, Cleaning, Gabbing

  1. I read the Pearl Cleage book a long time ago and I loved it!!!!!!

    I watched Alejandro Junger in a documentary (of course I forget which one…maybe it was “Hungry for Change”) and I was very impressed with what he said, plus he was easy on the eyes. I’m curious about his book.

    Good for you for getting the books; there’s NOTHING wrong with that ,and if you bought twice as many (or more!) I wouldn’t have blinked an eyelash!

    I’m re-reading my friend Greg Archer’s amazing memoir “Grace Revealed” about his Polish family’s deportation during the Stalin reign. He combines their horrific plight with his quest to explore his roots in an incredible, seamless way. If I didn’t love Greg, I’d be wildly jealous of his talent! 😉

    Here’s the link to his book:


  2. Have finished my last book and was looking for a great read. Will try Cleage out. Am OK for clutter if vacuuming sitting on the floor today with our hand vac. is any indication. Yes, that’s how we people with broken legs do it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, I’m impressed you’re vacuuming. Hope the leg is on the mend and you’re not super stir-crazy yet. And you should check that book out. It was a quick, easy, and entertaining read.


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