Sunday, December 18, 2016

"the life-changing magic of NOT GIVING A F*CK" by Sarah Knight

   Sarah Knight, you are my new hero! Thank you for providing a game-plan for "how to stop spending time you don't have with people you don't like doing things you don't want to do"! (This is the rest of the book title, but it was just WAAAY TOO LONG to put in my blog title because I was afraid I'd lose the reader before they could even read this life-changing information.) But I must admit I'm a bit pissed at my hero -- why didn't I think of this first?!
   So simple but so profound, Knight parodies Marie Kondo's best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by teaching readers how to make a f*ck budget in the key areas of: things; work; friends, acquaintances, and strangers; and the biggest "F" bomb arena of them all, family. Yes, there is work involved here, making lists of all the f*cks you DON'T want to give as well as the f*cks you DO want to give. Knight helps get your list started by giving suggestions from her own life and from polls she's taken. But there is a huge payoff if you do your own in finding out all the time, energy, and money you will save by erasing all the Don't-GAFs (give a f*cks, of course) from your life and pouring more of yourself into the Do-GAFs. I was astounded by the things I was GAFing about that I didn't even realize were sucking me dry! And I figured out things on my Do-GAF list that I had been sorely neglecting, things I really need more of in my life right now to amp up my joy and help me fight off the I-hate-the-holidays funk and the damn-it's-cold-outside hibernation inclination.
   Knight also gives helpful tools for how to implement the Don't-GAF plan without hurting people's feelings or becoming an asshole (her word, not mine, and she really, REALLY likes that word), even giving concrete suggestions on how to navigate the conversations that are bound to come up when you stop doing or giving things that people have come to expect from you. Best of all, she provides ways to steel yourself from backtracking on your Don't-GAFs when changing up your life brings on anxiety or societal (AND FAMILY!) pressure to toe the line and conform. 
   If you are f*ck -- the word, not the "giving of" and/or "not giving of" -- avoidant, this may not be the book for you. Knight uses f*ck as a noun, verb, pronoun, adjective. Pretty much any way you can use the word, she does. But trust me, this book is truly life changing. IF you read it and do it. Especially at this time of year, with the stress, time crunches, and have-tos of the holidays and scratching out resolutions for the new year, this book can not only be a life changer but a life saver. You'll definitely want to give a f*ck about reading this book!   


Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Furiously Happy" by Jenny Lawson

   I am FURIOUSLY ANGRY right now at this book! Angry that it's over. No more furiously hilarious tales from the furiously funny Jenny Lawson to keep me convinced that the craziness of life is totally worth it to give us reasons to laugh. While I'm sad that I finished the book, I'm sure that my BFF Sparkle will be glad that the constant barrage of "You've got to read this quote, it will CRACK YOU UP!" emails will subside so that she can finally have time to read the actual book for herself. Furiously Happy is that furiously good!
   Jenny Lawson is a saint for sharing her struggles with depression, anxiety, and a host of physical ailments as well through bizarre and amusing anecdotes that entertain as much as enlighten her readers! I have bouts of The Black Funk (what I call my depression when my spirit feels no joy in anything and I search for reasons to wake up in the morning) myself at times, and this book has made me feel more "normal" and capable of coping. From now on, when The Black Funk creeps up on me, I'll think "WWJD?" (J for Jenny in this case, not Jesus) and give myself a break to feel how I feel. Then when I am feeling better, I will let myself be furiously happy! As Jenny wrote:

"It's about taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they're the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It's the difference between 'surviving life' and 'living life.' It's the difference between 'taking a shower' and 'teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.' It's the difference between being 'sane' and being 'furiously happy.'" 

   I love monkeys and I hate to shampoo my hair, so I'm totally on board!
   As I always do, I'll share some of my fave parts to get new readers started. (Sparkle, if you are reading this blog, you can skip these. I've already emailed them to you!)

From the "My Phone Is More Fun to Hang Out with Than Me" chapter (about phone messages she leaves to herself while on sleeping pills):

"If you put a bunch of chameleons on top of a bunch of chameleons on top of a bowl of Skittles what would happen? Is that science? Because if so, I finally get why people want to do science."

From the "What I Say to My Shrink vs. What I Mean" chapter:

"I've been having problems concentrating. I think I might have ADD."

Meaning: "I've been watching YouTube videos of kittens falling too much when I'm supposed to be working and if my editor finds out I'm going to need for you to write me a doctor's note explaining that it's a medical condition."

From the "Things My Father Taught Me" chapter:

"On the other side of fear is freedom. And usually fewer fingers than you started with. Everyone is born with extra fingers. God expects you to cut off a few during your journey. Otherwise he wouldn't have made power tools so awesome."

"There will be moments when you have to be a grown-up. Those moments are tricks. Do not fall for them."

   Besides these fave parts, I totally I DIG her husband, Victor!! Their "arguments" throughout the book are pee-yourself riots! Since I work at a hair salon, the "And This Is Why I Prefer to Cut My Own Hair" chapter is PRICELESS! And the "pretend you're good at it" advice, from the chapter by the same name, is helping me through a new challenge I am facing right now. Good stuff! Plus, there's a dead-raccoon rodeo in her kitchen and everything you'd ever want to know about George Washington's dildo. I am serious!
   All this is just a snippet of what I love about this book. If it wouldn't rob Jenny of a book sale (and give me typer's cramp), I would write out the whole damn book. But I'll stop now and give my review readers tons more material to laugh at and enjoy for themselves!
  And don't worry about me, Jenny, I won't be sad for long. I've got your first book Let's Pretend This Never Happened on the way!

Rory riding Ferris Mewler in the dead-raccoon rodeo

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-star" by Judy Greer

   Yes, Judy Greer, I DO know what I know you from! Not from having read your book though. When I saw your picture on the cover, I thought you looked like Dr. Elizabeth Plimpton, the sexy, slutty scientist that banged some of my Big Bang Theory nerd pals in "The Plimpton Stimulation" episode. So I got the book thinking there would be juicy tidbits about my fave show. Not. Not even one mention of you having been on the show. So I googled the episode, and sure enough, it WAS you!

   Do I regret reading your book despite being Big Bang deprived? Hell no! You and your book are a HOOT! In fact, I think we could be BFFs! I love the movie The American President, just like you do! I watched it again for the gozillionth time last night. And I love dogs! Your Buckley can lay belly-up on my couch anytime while we chick chat over cocktails. You can regale me with more hilarious tales about all the TV shows and movies you've co-starred in, and I will let you cry on my shoulder about your FX series Married being cancelled. I never actually watched the show, but I saw the lead-in while watching Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll on my DVR and it looked FUNNY! (Sorry, but I've only got so much time to watch TV while I'm treadmilling, and between keeping up with BBT and replaying S&D&R&R I ran out of time!) Hey, at least you got a starring role for two seasons, right? And I promise, I won't ever say you look better in person than you do in your roles. EVER! Because I know how you hate that. You mentioned it several times in the book. Several.
     Loved your book! I really dig your quirky sense of humor and admire your big lady-balls in putting yourself out there in print. Keep on acting and writing. You're so good at it, Star 2 B! (You made it!! I'm sure your dad is so proud!) I will watch back episodes of Married, I promise, as well as look for you in upcoming shows and movies and books now that I know your name, Judy Greer!

Friday, January 1, 2016

"Year Of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes

   I say, "Yes, Yes, Yes!" to Shonda Rhimes' new memoir Year Of Yes with the same exuberance as Meg Ryan portrayed her character Sally's faux orgasm in the movie When Harry Met Sally! Loved it! 

   While not a self-help book, Year Of Yes certainly could be as Rhimes takes the reader through an entire year of changing up her entire life by saying "YES" to doing things that would have previously been met with an automatic and fierce "NO" to avoid the
   Dry mouth.
   Heart beats so, so fast.
   Everything in slow motion.
   Pass out, die, poop.
results she had feared most of her life. By saying "yes," Rhimes becomes fearless in facing giving a commencement speech at her alma mater, taking back her body and health, cutting loose soul-sucking friends, and owning her own badassery (her word, and I dig it!), among other things. And she doesn't pass out, die, or poop. Not once. But she does become happier. And stronger. And through telling about her journey, she made me laugh so many times, which I SO needed as I was reading this book while trying to survive the holidays working at a crazy McCray-cray (my word, do you dig it?) busy hair salon. And she made me ponder things in my life I've been saying "no" to, which maybe should be a "yes." So Year Of Yes is a bonus book: a memoir with self-help snippets at no extra charge. If you've read any of my writing, you know how I love a bonus.
   In case you didn't know -- I didn't, I will admit it -- Rhimes is the powerhouse behind the shows Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, aka the "Thank God It's Thursday" lineup on ABC. Not being familiar with her shows, I sometimes felt like I was reading a foreign language about her "ride or dies," "dancing it out," and the Papa Pope references. But still I loved the book. She shares so many "I need to be doing that" ideas and quotable quotes, but my fave part is from the "Yes to Who I Am" chapter:

"We all spend our lives kicking the crap out of ourselves for not being this way or that way, not having this thing or that thing, not being like this person or that person.

For not living up to some standard we think applies across the board to all of us.

We all spend our lives trying to follow the same path, live by the same rules.

I think we believe that happiness lies in following the same list of rules.

In being more like everyone else.

That? Is wrong.

There is no list of rules.

There is one rule.

The rule is: there are no rules.

Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be."

   See? Self-help bonus! Maybe this quote isn't news to you, but it's definitely something I needed to be reminded of. At this beginning of a new year, the Year Of Yes has given me plenty to ponder in changes I want to make in my life. And another bonus, new (to me) TV shows to check out during the long, cold winter nights ahead.
   Thanks, Shonda Rhimes, for a fabulous read and so, so many bonuses!