Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Author Archive: Jana

I am tired

I wish I had more to say about everything that’s happened in the two weeks since I last posted but at this point, I’m out of words. I’m broken up over Chris Cornell (and let it be known that we should not be concerned with mental health issues in the wake of a celebrity suicide. We need to be concerned EVERY SINGLE DAY because suicide is real and tragic and hopefully, one day, completely preventable), I’m broken over the bombing in Manchester, I’m angry and frustrated that nothing, NOTHING, seems to affect 45’s administration, and I’m to the point that constant vigilance has left me exhausted

Of hatred

Of bombings and senseless murders

Of ignorance

Of injustice

Of rhetoric

Of lies

Of party lines

Of discrimination

Of empty promises

Of bullying

Of pettiness

Of nonsensical bullshit.

But yet, despite all of that, I am hopeful.

That common sense will prevail

That unity will happen

That discrimination will end

That compassion and love will win.

And that’s all I’ve got today. 


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Weekly six pack, 2017, v16

Short recap coming to you live from Disney World where my daughter is competing at the D2 Summit. It’s like the Super Bowl of cheerleading but only for small gyms (large gyms were last weekend and Worlds the weekend before that. So there’s 3 Super Bowls which is weird but so is cheerleading). 

Reading. Still going through Confessions and A Colony in a Nation. Picked up Exit West from the library. Nothing from NetGalley. Thanks to all who participated in Show Us Your Books. Next one is June 13.

Watching. Twin Peaks. Even though I’m old, I was only 12 or 13 when the original came out and since the revival happens soon and it’s on On Demand, I’m giving it a shot. And you know? It holds up. 

Using. Dryer balls. Now, I had no clue what they were or what they did but then a very nice woman in Bed Bath and Beyond explained them to me and now I’m hooked. I might use up the dryer sheets I’ve bought unless Pinterest can give me something else to do with them but I have gone over the to the dryer ball side. Also, mine look like hedgehogs. I might buy the fish ones, too. You know. For variety. 

Fuming. Over the firing of James Comey. Rather than a long rant that I’m sure others have said more eloquently than I, I’ll leave you with this:

Celebrating. Barkley 13th birthday! I can’t believe our first baby is an old, old man and I hope he sticks around forever. 

Laughing. Or forced to resign or whatever gets him the fuck out of the White House. 

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I want to wish all of you a happy Mother’s Day if your kids walk on two legs, four legs, three legs, if you’re a step-parent, an aunt, a grandmother, a something that can’t be labeled. I’m grateful for all the strong women in my daughter’s life because they influence her just as much as I do, and she needs their perspective and input and encouragement and guidance and mentoring. It’s what makes her well-rounded and lets her know there’s a number of people she can count on. 

That said, have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here next week at some point! 

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Show Us Your Books, May 2017 edition

No long preamble for this month’s post. I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped which is disappointing but I still finished 6 books with 2 in progress. I have a feeling June is going to be a big month. Also nice was the less disturbing books I read this past month. April was rough for that. Felt good to take a break.

As always the reviews are copied and/or embellished from my Litsy reviews. 

Here’s what I read. 

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond. At times this book was AMAZING. At other times, it was incredibly repetitive. His horrible childhood never seemed far away and I appreciated his honesty about that, as well as his failures and insecurities and mental health issues. And as a member of GenX, it cast an interesting perspective on all the John Hughes movies. This was not a bad book, not at all, but it felt like something was missing. I can’t figure out what but there’s a hole. 

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. Got this from NetGalley as an ARC and finally had a chance to read it. I LOVED IT. Dark and twisted and violent and a thriller complimented with a father/daughter/coming of age story told between alternating POV and bouncing back and forth in time until it all catches up to itself. Each on of Hawley’s bullet holes is its own story and the uniqueness of that narrative made me unable to put the book down. It’s so well done and well written and I cannot recommend it enough. Definitely in the running for one of my favorite books of the year. 

I Fired God: My Life Inside–And Escape From–the Secret World of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Cult by Jocelyn Zichterman. Don’t know how to properly review this. The abuse she suffered was horrible and brutal (note: her father probably would have been that abusive even if they hadn’t belonged to this church so I can’t for certain say they go hand in hand) and she makes a strong case that the IFB is a cult with increasing mainstream political power, and I’m glad she managed to escape and is doing something to help other and educate about IFB. But this writing is poor and repetitive and the structure of the book is more like a high school term paper than a memoir and that irked me. 

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell. Helen is an asshole. A huge asshole. And you have to know that if you’re going to read this book. She’s weird, bizarre, and clearly depressed in her own right, and she is insufferable, but her voice is unique and the writing is incredible. You live the whole book in her head, dealing with her brother’s suicide the best way she can and it makes for a hell of a read. Slow sometimes, which is not helpful when reading about an asshole. 

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney. Also an ARC from NetGalley that I finally got around to reading. It’s a well-written, interesting psychological thriller that’s a fascinating look at the world of extreme minimalism and structured environments. It’s a good beach or vacation read. However. For me, it felt like Christian and whatshername from 50 Shades of Gray (of which I have a well documented hatred) were plopped into a Girl on the Train type murder mystery and it most definitely skewed my like of the book. 

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg. A fun, quirky read about a 40 year old woman coming to terms with her life and the changes she knows she needs to make. Sort of like Samuel Hawley, it read like each chapter was a short story but rather than each story standing on its own, they formed one comprehensive plot. It hits on many of the feels (not all) and I loved the bits of feminism woven into the story. 

TL; DR. Samuel Hawley is a must read. The rest are must reads depending on your taste but they are not for everyone.

Currently reading A Colony in a Nation and Confessions (I’ve been trying to read one at a time but A Colony in a Nation is heavy nonfiction and I can’t do that before bed. Or after 7PM) 

Now that you’ve seen my books, it’s time to show me yours. Don’t forget to visit my co-host, Steph, and some other bloggers linking up!

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Weekly six pack, 2017 v16

Reading. Finished All Grown Up. Started The Girl Before and have A Colony in a Nation planned for the weekend. Requested Celeste Ng’s new book from NetGalley and picked up Homesick for Another World from the library. Show Us Your Books on Tuesday!

Watching. The Handmaid’s Tale and season 1 of Fargo (which takes place in Minnesota so I’m very confused with the misnomer). Hulu free trial FTW!

Using. Duolingo. Remember how I mentioned that one of my nongoal goals was to relearn basic French? I’ve been doing it for a few months now using Duolingo, which is an app I heard about from my daughter’s school (they encourage the kids to use it for reinforcement of the Spanish they’re learning). It’s free, you can earn prizes (think gold stars), and if any of you decide to use it for French and want to start a club, let me know!

Wondering. If any of you guys have heard about some of the readathons that happen throughout the year. I’m thinking about starting one and am curious to know if there’d be interest. 

Raging. I’m pretty sure you guys knew this was coming but OH MY FUCKING GOD. This healthcare situation is out of fucking control and the fact that the motherfuckers in office are more worried about hurting Obama’s legacy (too bad. You can’t) than protecting those they’re elected to protect is sending my rage to unprecedented levels. Because if you have the audacity to be poor, have a vagina or a preexisting condition or mental health issues, or are anything other than a healthy rich white man, you are fucked (I’m not even going to discuss calling sexual assault and domestic violence preexisting conditions. I can’t. Not if I want to get through the rest of this post). FUCKED. It’s telling that I now have better access to medical care for my pets than poor people will for their children. My only hope is that this gets voted down in the Senate. I’m confident it won’t because party lines before people is the new mantra of our government but it’s worth mentioning. Because sometimes a small dissenting few can have the biggest impact. 

Donating. Five years ago, my cousin and his wife had their twins, born at 25 weeks. One of the twins passed at 5 months but the other, who celebrates his birthday on Saturday, spent roughly the first year of his life in the NICU, most of that time at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). Knowing how hard life is in the NICU, his wife is doing a Posh fundraiser to help pamper the parents of those babies. Of course I donated and if you want to as well, please let me know and I’ll send you the information if you can’t read it in the image below.

Have a great weekend! See you on Tuesday when we talk books!


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Just keep talking, just keep talking

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Although mental health awareness shouldn’t be limited to one month per year, please take some time this month to learn, understand, or talk with someone who suffers from a mental illness. Understanding, education, and empathy are the only ways to break the stigma. 

My depression manifests itself in a number of ways but, in a bizarre twist of events, the hallmark is my silence. I stop texting, emailing, commenting, blogging or writing, and mostly just talking in general. I’m not an overly chatty person (most of the time) but when the depression is bad, I go my version of radio silent (is that expression still a thing? It should still be a thing).

I do it because the depression quiets my voice.

It tells me I have nothing of value to say.

It tells me I have nothing add to a conversation.

It tells me I’m boring.

It tells me what I have to say doesn’t matter.

It tells me I’m stupid and uninformed. 

It tells me I’m an impostor. 

It tells me to shut up.

It tells me no one cares. 

In case I haven’t said it before, depression is a lying asshole. 

On my good days, I know this is all bullshit (for the most part. I’m admittedly pretty boring sometimes) but in the thick of it, it’s as true as the fact that I’m short. And on those days, all I want is for someone to let me know that:

I’m not boring. 

I’m not stupid.

I’m not an impostor. 

People do care. 

And that’s what I’m saying to you, even if you don’t have depression. Because maybe you’ll have a bad day and you’ll need it. 

You matter.

Keep using your voice. Even if it feels uncomfortable and like you’re talking into the void, I assure you, someone is listening. 

You never know who you’re impacting with even the most mundane comment.

Just keep talking. 

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