Life Update: MRSA, Cleveland Vacation, Freelance Writing, and Book Awards!

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Me at the USS Cod Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

As June 2016 draws to a close, I thought I would do a quick life update. Things have been kind of crazy lately between health problems, summer vacations, book releases, editing and freelance writing, vlogging, etc. So here are a few highlights (or low points) of my recent days:

*We went on an actual vacation for the first time in a few years! We went up to Cleveland, Ohio and went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the USS Cod Submarine Museum, the Cleveland Zoo, Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and Lake Erie. I found some awesome driftwood while walking along the beach, drooled over the Michael Jackson and Nirvana memorabilia at the Hall of Fame, rode a camel, and ate way too much junk food!

*My hubby is fighting off another MRSA infection, which makes me afraid we are both going to be passing it back and forth again. Even with all the bleaching and cleaning we do, that stuff is hard to keep from spreading!

*I am proud of the fact that my career in freelance writing and editing continues to expand, with many repeat customers and brand new clients! My favorite projects are those that align well with my natural interests (specifically children’s writing and poetry), but even some of the more technical jobs have been more fun than I expected! These jobs allow me to continue to do what I love to do and work at home!

*My YouTube vlog, Maranda’s Toys & Books, continues to grow! I have been pleasantly surprised to find out I’m not the only nerdy adult who still loves collecting dolls, ponies, action figures, and other things from her childhood! I am even getting some free toys and books to review on my channel which is pretty darn awesome!

*My new middle grade children’s book, “Creepy, Funny & Just Plain Weird: Stories and poems for kids“, has already been nominated for a children’s book award! Fingers crossed that I win! If you haven’t read it yet, please give it a try!

Are You a Nowhere Man? All About Biases

The Beatles "Nowhere Man"
The Beatles “Nowhere Man”

I’ve said before that I think some of the best poetry snippets can be found in song lyrics. Not every musician or group writes great or even above-average lyrics, but when they do, I like to dissect the songs and really think about them. One song I have always felt a strong kinship with is “Nowhere Man” by The Beatles. I’m not sure many people really stop to think about the song as far as philosophy goes, but I find it full of a kind of zen-like wisdom.

I think perhaps my favorite lines from the song are:

“He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see”

Do you know anyone like that? I know I sure do. I know people who are seemingly intelligent and caring, but are hopelessly blind to certain truths because they either don’t want to see them or because their minds are biased to a point where they can not see anything that doesn’t align with their personal beliefs. Even scientific studies have found this to be true…that our personal beliefs can affect our ability to see things clearly or even figure out simple problems.

When I used to be a foster parent, we had a class we had to take every so often that talked about how deeply bias affects us and the decisions we make, even when we are small children. A child who is biased to believe the world is cruel and unfair (from past neglect or abuse) will make their personal reality fit that view, even if their belief is not the current truth. They will see everything that they experience from that biased point of view and nothing will change their mind unless that bias changes.

I find that fascinating from a psychological point of view and have thought often of what that means when applied to human nature in general. Sometimes it rather discourages me because I understand that many people will choose to be blind or can’t help being blind to seemingly obvious truths no matter how much evidence they are given or how easily their beliefs could be disproven using logic and scientific reason. This makes me want to scream and shout in frustration sometimes. It also makes me worry about what biases I have in place that I don’t even notice. I guess the song was right when it asked, “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

Favorite Song Lyrics – Nirvana Edition

nirvana__band

I’ve been wanting to write a few blog posts about my favorite bits of song lyrics by various bands and musicians for some time. Since I have been on a Nirvana kick lately (my aspie obsessiveness kicking in), I figured I would start with them.

To me, song lyrics are a form of poetry we all encounter on a daily basis whether we realize it or not. I feel that the words to a song matter just as much as the music. A truly great song speaks to the mind and heart and leaves the listener pondering the meaning behind the words even after the song ends. So here are a few of my favorite Nirvana lyric excerpts (all of which make me feel deliciously angsty and young once again):

Hey!
Wait!
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice

– Heart Shaped Box

I’m so happy ’cause today
I’ve found my friends …
They’re in my head
I’m so ugly, but that’s okay, ’cause so are you …
We’ve broken our mirrors
Sunday morning is everyday for all I care …
And I’m not scared
Light my candles, in a daze
‘Cause I’ve found god

– Lithium

Load up on guns, bring your friends
It’s fun to lose and to pretend
She’s over bored and self assured
Oh no, I know a dirty word

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us…

Oh yeah, I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard, it’s hard to find
Oh well, whatever, never mind

– Smells Like Teen Spirit

We can have some more
Nature is a whore
Bruises on the fruit
Tender age in bloom

He’s the one
Who likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Don’t know what it means

– In Bloom

I’m not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I’m having fun
I think I’m dumb
Or maybe just happy

– Dumb

Come as you are, as you were
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend
As an old enemy

Take your time, hurry up
Choice is yours, don’t be late
Take a rest as a friend
As an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

Come As You Are

What else should I be
All apologies
What else could I say
Everyone is gay
What else could I write
I don’t have the right
What else should I be
All apologies

– All Apologies

Lastly, an honorable mention – the title of their song “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam” always makes me laugh and I love watching the live unplugged performance. Seeing a grunge band playing the accordion is just awesome 🙂