Things I’ve Learned Recently

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Hello everyone! This post is just a little check-in to say hi and let you all know what I’ve been up to. I figured I would make it more interesting by focusing on what I’ve learned recently from this unpredictable thing we call life.

  • After working on a book about nutrition for a freelance client, I’ve realized how much I DON’T know about what is really healthy and how much my own diet could use an overhaul. Unfortunately, I’m still a sucker for anything sweet, which throws a wrench into those plans!
  • I’ve learned how much traumatic experiences from childhood can affect our adult lives and our physical health. It is a fascinating subject, especially if you were¬†put through a lot of crap growing up. I would recommend the book “Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal” (written by Donna Jackson Nakazawa) to anyone interested in such subjects.
  • I’ve learned that it is ridiculously expensive to treat a cat for diabetesūüė¶
  • I’ve realized that our current culture is engaged in a war on free speech and free expression in many ways. Both those from the extreme left and the extreme right often seem to want to silence dissenters. The same can be said of some companies and many governments. What I thought was once only an issue in communist, dictatorial or radical religious¬†countries is proving to be a much broader problem.
  • YouTube is full of warped trolls (ok, I didn’t really just learn that one, but I’ve been reminded of it several times recently).
  • And lastly, if you are going to date naked, have some confidence!

New Video about My New Children’s Book Release!

Hi everyone! I am excited to share my newest children’s middle grade book release with you all! I have been working on this book for a while now and am definitely proud of the results! “Creepy, Funny & Just Plain Weird: Stories and poems for kids” is goofy, funny and a little bit gross and creepy at times too! It is sure to appeal to kids, even reluctant readers! Make sure you check out my short vlog video about the new book:

If you would like to get a copy of this book for yourself or your kids, you can find the paperback version for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $6.99. There is also a Kindle ebook version available for $2.99! If you do read it or get it for your kids, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads or even just reaching out to tell me personally what you thought of it!

Life Update: Jobs, Kids, Writing & Bernie Sanders!

 

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“YOLO” collage on paper by Maranda Russell

Hello everyone! I’m sorry that I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. I hope to start remedying that now. Here is a short list of some of the things that have been going on in my life recently, as well as some of the projects I am looking forward to beginning:

  • For the last 8 months I have been working part-time in an emergency room. During that time I have met some fascinating people, but I have also been witness to¬†a great deal of human suffering. I have always been a sensitive, rather empathic person who feels things deeply and in that way, I feel that this job has affected me greatly. I will be leaving the position soon to pursue other opportunities, but I am grateful for the experience.
  • Recently I have begun to take on more freelance writing gigs, particularly in the field of children’s writing. I have found that one of my true passions is taking the visions of other authors and helping them create great stories¬†for kids. I especially enjoy editing picture books or other types of literature¬†for young readers. Mostly I have been getting clients through online sites, but I am open to offers from other clients, so if you have a children’s book that you would like help editing, feel free to contact me!
  • My husband and I are hoping to start doing respite for kids and young adults with disabilities soon. Ever since we stopped fostering kids, I have missed having children around to play with and care for. I can’t wait to get a chance to¬†have a full house again, even if it is just for short periods of time.
  • My YouTube vlog, Maranda’s Toys & Books, has been growing quickly! Ever since¬†I decided to focus the channel mostly on my nerdy love of toys, books and collectibles, it seems to have found its niche and an audience that is a lot of fun to interact with! For that reason, I will probably be sharing my more serious or personal posts¬†here on my blog from now on.
  • Lastly, this is kind of random…but I’m really rooting for Bernie Sanders! Feel the Bern! Even if he doesn’t end up winning the presidential nomination, I am thankful to see so many younger people step up and show they care deeply about the fate of our country. I think what I love most about Bernie is that he is such a humble, down-to-earth¬†politician. It is truly refreshing to see.

A New Look & What I’ve Been Up To Lately

“I’ve Seen Better Days” ink & colored pencil on paper. Pretty much how I’m feeling today.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably notice things look a bit different. I figured it was about time to change things up and try a new design. I hope you like it! Here are a few other things I have been up to lately:

  • Visiting the ER with my husband and then trying to be a good nurse while he recovers from another back injury. I never realize how much he does on a daily basis until I have to do it instead! That is one reason why I didn’t do any YouTube vlog videos this week, just too much else going on.
  • Getting ready to participate in the upcoming Dayton Book Expo this Saturday. I hope I get to meet lots of eager readers and share my books!
  • Reading way too much Foo Fighters fanfiction.
  • Brushing up on my art history, particularly the abstract expressionism movement. Looking at awesome art by other people always inspires me to create my own!
  • Figuring out Tumblr (which seems a lot like Pinterest to me). Feel free to follow me on there if you want!
  • Selling some artworks (woot woot), including the one pictured above which I just finished yesterday!
  • Trying to figure out how teachers are expected to pay back outrageous student loans on the pay they get!
  • Munching on Chocolatey Strawberry Pop-Tarts, which are delicious!
  • Dreaming about how cool it would be to be a¬†medical examiner (if I could get past the smells).

New YouTube Video – “Behind the Scenes of My Foster Care Book”

This week’s video¬†is a “behind the scenes” look into my popular book about foster care entitled “From Both Sides”. In this vlog I discuss the inspiration behind the book and share a few short excerpts.

I hope you will check it out! Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. You can also suggest future topics if there is something you would like to see me talk about.

New YouTube Video – “Behind the Scenes of My Newest Book Release – “Searching for the Truth”

In my latest YouTube vlog, I gave some personal information about what inspired my most recent book release,¬†“Searching for the Truth: Poems & Prose Inspired by Our Inner Worlds”. I¬†also read aloud a couple of the shorter poems from the book and explained why they meant so much to me. I hope you will check it out!

Favorite Song Lyrics – Nirvana Edition

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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 awesomeūüôā