Ode to the Books of My Childhood

girl reading book_ode to books of my childhood_rockinrandommom

2018 is the year I make books more of a priority in my life. Right before Christmas, actually, I started reading a book as part of my night time routine to get myself ready for sleep. I’ve been reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I will write my own review on it next week. Anyway, it got me thinking about my history with reading. While Music has always been my first love, I can say that reading was always my second.

Music and books did something wonderful for me. They allowed a lonely and unwanted little girl to escape the realities of her life and enter into new worlds. So I’m going to go through and talk about each book that held significance in my young life and why two of them are still so prevalent for me today.

Where the Wild Things Are:

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I was 7 years old when I saw this book at the library at my school. Smokey the Bear was visiting our school that day with several firemen and it was held in the library. It was 1983 and I was living – to put it nicely- in my father’s house. A lot of bad happened there. This book helped me deal.

I remember how much I wanted to be like Max and escape to another world where the monsters felt more human to me than the humans I was under the “care” of. Those monsters seemed like a lot of fun and they loved Max. I thought, “Could they love me too?”

Of course, I wouldn’t go without bringing my little brother along. We would ride in our own little boat across the ocean to where the wild things are. This book encouraged my imagination to soar but it also allowed me to see a different world where children were valued and loved.

Years later when I had my own kids, this was one of the first books I bought. Of course they never had the appreciation for it that I do but it still sits on my bookshelf with pride. Now I look fondly back on a book that helped to keep me from drowning in darkness.

Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade:

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I don’t know if any of you remember this book. My aunt found it at a flea market when I was 10 and it was perfect for me at the time because 5th grade was when I started puberty. I got teased quite a bit and felt very much like an outsider. I no longer have this book. I lost it a long time ago but it helped me feel better about my situation by reading about Elsie’s.

Dream Boy:

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This was my first romance novel. By the time I was 14 romance was my thing. I was a dreamer and wanted nothing more than to find a boy like Michael. I actually read this book twice, haha! Those days are long gone though but this book represents for me the girl I used to be. The romantic who wanted so much to be loved.

And finally, the book that gave a young woman hope that lasted for years. This book didn’t just touch the romantic in me. This book touched my tougher side. My stubborn and ambitious side that needed a push. 

Anne Of Green Gables:

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No other book has captured my imagination and my love as much as Anne of Green Gables. At 16 years old, I became obsessed with L.M. Montgomery books because of this stubborn and willful redhead who I identified with on every level. Anne was my hero! She represented everything I felt and everything I wanted to be in life.

While there were some differences between Anne and I she had become my fictional best friend. Anne suffered through a lot. She was lonely and felt unloved. Anne was teased at school and made an outcast by several narrow minded parents in town. A child who was immediately looked down upon because of her background. She was a girl who used her vivid imagination to escape. Exactly like I used to be.

However, Anne triumphed and gained the love and respect from everyone in her life. This fictional character filled me with hope for my future. It was almost like she was Alice and she gave me the looking glass. That looking glass allowed me to see beyond my hopeless present and look to a future full of possibilities. I even wanted to have five children because of her and I was going to name my first daughter Anne.

I owned every single L.M. Montgomery book for many years. Then during a flood in an old apartment, I had to throw them away but I will get them back. One by one I will add these precious books to my library again.

What about you? What were your favorite childhood books? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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2018: New Year, New Hope

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Welcome, all, to the New Year! You know what that means. A new year means new possibilities. New dreams and new hopes are bound up in our new goals. For many of us, a new year means a new chance to start over. With a fresh beginning, we can look positively into the coming year with fresh eyes and a brand new perspective. Welcome to 2018!!

But first, let’s look back at 2017:

2017 wasn’t a bad year for me. Mind you, it wasn’t the greatest. I spent several months in a depressive state and in an unhealthy relationship. However, 2017 taught me so much about myself. I learned even more about what I want and don’t want in my life. I learned more about what my strengths are but also learned to acknowledge my weaknesses.

The beginning of 2017 was stressful and some harsh lessons needed to be learned. But the end of 2017 was met with a much more positive outlook on life – and some wonderful new people who have come to mean so much to me. I finally found my tribe! I might write more about them in future posts.

Parenting in 2017 has had its ups and downs too. My first born celebrated his 16th birthday, which had me very nostalgic. Leading up to his birthday, I often found myself looking over his baby pictures and watching old videos of him as a young child. Watching him grow up has been both a challenging task and a pure pleasure.

Conner just turned 11 but he’s still my baby bear. He still lets me cuddle with him and kiss him on the cheek. For now, he still loves my company and I’m going to take advantage of that as long as I can.

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I had a great break from my blog and just enjoyed spending time with my family. I got to recharge my batteries and think about all that I want to accomplish in the new year.

All in all though, the year has been a good one. So what does 2018 have in store for me?

Better financial stability:

At least that’s what I’m hoping. This is a goal for me every year and while it may not have happened in 2017, I still strive for this and I will for as long as its necessary. I think this is something we all strive for every year. It’s one of those ongoing things. I am learning so much from my internship and am hopeful that it will lead to something that I can be proud of.

I also haven’t given up on my writing either. My focus will be on scheduling time for myself to sit down and actually write my stories. Inspiration doesn’t always come to me when I’m at a computer either which makes this part a bit difficult but I will figure it out. The new year brings new hope that I will finally get my act together in this department.

A New Car!

This is a major goal for me this year as my current car is really struggling to keep it together. I know that in order to improve my financial state I need a more reliable vehicle and that is my goal this year. But first, I have to improve my credit, which is also on the agenda for the new year.

Starting up my YouTube Channel again!

I have been going back and forth with this for quite some time but it’s only been recently that I’ve been giving this serious thought, thanks to a friend of mine who has been super encouraging. Again, though, it’s a matter of time. I have to figure out a day that will actually work for me and not conflict with anything else so I can give it my full attention. Maybe the new year will bring new ideas for me.

But the biggest thing I’m looking forward to in 2018 is…

Continuing to learn and grow as a person! I am looking forward to improving my positive outlook on life and helping others move in the same direction. I don’t know what this new year has in store for me but I do know that, good or bad, I will learn from all of it and it will, in turn, make me a better person. That is my ultimate goal for 2018!

What are your goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments. I am confident that 2018 is going to be the best year yet. Happy New Year everyone!

happynewyear_2018_rockinrandommom

Thanks so much for reading!

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What Christmas Means to Me

christmas_fireplace red and white socks hot chocolate_rockinrandommom

Christmas is a wonderful time of year! Next to Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday but it isn’t just the holiday. It’s every thing the holiday represents. Good Cheer, Christmas decorations, hot chocolate, snowmen, and being with family. We celebrate several different holidays this time of year as well. We have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, among many others.

However, for the past – oh I don’t know – five or six years, I haven’t been in the mood to celebrate. I’ve gone through the motions but I haven’t felt much in the way of the Christmas Spirit for quite some time. I even wrote a post about not being in the spirit a couple years back HERE

In the past I have suffered from depression this time of year and it played a major role in my lack of Christmas cheer. Last year was probably the worst year due to the unhealthy relationship I was in at the time. You can read more about that HERE and HERE However, I think in hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I know what you’re thinking. How can an unhealthy relationship be the best thing? Remember when I said I was just going through the motions with every holiday? Last year I couldn’t even think straight. Last year was just different. After the break up, the blinders came off and not just with the relationship but with my life. I went down the rabbit hole of deep sadness then when it was over, I came out so much happier.

It set me up for a better year, a better Christmas!

For the first time since I was a teenager I was in the Christmas spirit in November! Thanksgiving came and I was so excited to watch the parade with my oldest and ready to watch Christmas movies right after. I couldn’t wait to decorate my home or get the tree. I don’t actually have my tree yet but I’m so excited to get it this week and play Christmas music while decorating it with my kids!

quote christmas isn't a season its a feeling_rockinrandommom

It’s like the magic came back for me. It is flowing through me and the spirit of this wonderful season is working its magic in my soul! I have been baking cookies every week since Thanksgiving and not begrudgingly. I am enjoying the baking again!

I do have to give credit to my new gamer friends!

I struggled for a while after my break up to find other gamers that I really enjoy playing with and talking to. I joined a Destiny clan and met some really great women with whom I share a lot in common. Four of us are parents and the others are just a pure joy to talk to and play with. I can enjoy gaming again but more than that, I have finally found some like minded people who have lifted me up and helped me through a tough time.

I also have to give credit to my new advocacy position at Safe Passage!

I have written about this recently. HERE is the post if you want to read it. I have met some really great people through this organization. Safe Passage is a non-profit that advocates for those who have suffered from Domestic Violence. We provide resources, shelter and legal advocacy as well as a crisis hotline and education in the community. I love working  here because of the people I work with.

They are such a supportive and compassionate group of people. I look forward to my work every day because of the supportive environment they provide. Through this work I have gotten my confidence back. My last work experience was pretty bad and I lost my confidence in my skills but now its back. I feel better than ever!

So what does this have to do with the Christmas Spirit?

Everything! When you have good, positive people in your life, it’s contagious. Next thing you know, you’re positive and you’re happy. When you have a great group of supportive people who are willing to listen to you and offer you positive feedback, that affects your outlook on life.

I have great people in my life and I have gotten rid of the negativity that has surrounded me for the past few years. Because of this I am now feeling the same way I used to feel as a kid. Christmas was always my favorite time of year. I lost that for awhile. I’m so fortunate to have found my way back to it again!

So Merry Christmas to all of you! I wish you much happiness with whatever holiday you celebrate this season and best wishes for all of your holiday dreams!

I am leaving you with one of my favorite Christmas songs by one of my Favorite all time actresses: The late great Judy Garland!

 

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Thanks so much for reading!

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Rockin’ Quote #34: Dracula, Children of the Night

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This quote is from the first movie version of Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. It’s a classic and one of my favorite vampire movies. Dracula, Children of the Night. As anyone who knows me knows that I love all things vampire. It all started with a little movie called The Lost Boys. There is no Dracula but they were just as scary.

That started my whole obsession with vampires. I always knew who Dracula was. Dracula was everywhere during Halloween. I used to watch The Munsters. Sesame Street also had a hand in my introduction to vampires. The count was my favorite character. However, it wasn’t until years later when my mom introduced me to the 1930’s version – and the best version.

While studying literature in College I also read the book in my Gothic Lit class. I loved that class! So here is my ode to my favorite vampire of all time

 

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There are other great actors who portrayed my favorite vampire:

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Christopher Lee was the scariest Dracula! A superb actor!

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We can’t forget the 90’s version, starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, and Winona Ryder

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Even Buffy took on the famous vampire

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Of course Mel Brooks turned the most fearsome vampire to ever live into one of the funniest I’ve seen

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Then there is two of the sexiest Draculas, played by Luke Evans in the feature film, Dracula: The Untold Story

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The other sexy actor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, played Dracula on a short lived TV drama titled, Dracula

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Ironically, he played another one of my favorite historical figures, King Henry VIII

I can’t write a post on Dracula without naming the real historical person who inspired the undead icon, Vlad Tepes, a.k.a., Vlad the Impaler. Honestly, he was a real person. Just look him up. Warning though, no undead version holds a candle to the evil of the real person!

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And last but not least, the fun loving Disney Dracula my kids love: Hotel Transylvania 

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Before Bela Lugosi though there was this guy:

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Nosferatu

But for me, Bela Lugosi is my favorite Dracula. The movie may be old and the filming sucks compared to today’s films but the movie scared the hell out of people back then and that’s why I love it

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Which Dracula is your favorite?

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40 and Single and Happy About it!

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I am 40 and single and yes! I am happy about it. Some people who read this might not understand why I’m happy about being single. We live in a society where being coupled up is normal and the notion of even wanting to be alone scares us. It’s not considered the norm to want to be alone. After all, we are social beings and wanting to be eternally loved by another person is only natural.

In my early twenties I looked at love and relationships much like most people. I wanted to find “the one”. For me, I wanted to find someone who would rescue me from my shitty life and I’d live happily ever after. Those are the dreams of a young woman who doesn’t know where she fits in this world.

I had very little confidence in myself, though I hid it well. Being young, confused, and without rules set me up for much heart break. It also made me cold and bitter. With no solid boundaries I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. When I was at my worst, I met my ex-husband. Looking back, I had gone into that relationship not knowing who I was or what I truly wanted.

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He is a good one but again, neither of us really knew what we wanted. Neither of us understood. We clashed. We had kids. I got diagnosed with PTSD. Our oldest has Autism. All of this was draining on two young people from broken homes and issues we didn’t know we had. Now that I’m 40 and single I am looking back on this and realizing an important life lesson.

That I need to find happiness within myself first before I can be with anyone else.

After my separation from my ex, I dated a little. I thought that I could just date around and figure things out. Turns out that’s not me. It never was. Casual dating doesn’t make me happy. I’m just not built that way. That was another thing that I learned about myself.

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So I took a few years to work on myself. Then last year I met someone and for a time, I was really happy. He met a longing in me that I didn’t know I had. We had a soul connection. It was profound and beautiful! As time went on and as I’m fast approaching 40, I started to really think about what I want from a romantic relationship.

My therapist says I want a male version of me. Haha! I sat down and made a short list the other day of the qualities I would look for and I am beginning to think she may be right. My top three qualities: self-sufficient, independent, and motivated. Then the list got longer as I was writing. Most of it is what I assume most people want. Great sense of humor, laid back, and intelligent. I love a deep thinker who I can have great conversation with. But I also love someone I can go on an adventure with who also loves to veg out on the couch. There is a lot more to it than that but you get the idea.

Then another Epiphany happened and I discovered yet another new thing about myself…

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I’m not sure when this happened but there it is. I’m afraid of commitment. It’s not just with relationships though. Apparently, this is why I haven’t finished any of my books. Nor why I can’t commit to a career path. Friendships, family, even my blog have suffered because of my commitment issues.

Then I had another epiphany. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Now most people tell me that this is only because I haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe that’s true. What I do know for sure is that I’m on my own path of self-discovery and I am constantly evolving my thinking and my perspective. If someone comes along that is on the same path as me – Great! If not, I’m okay with that too.

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I spent the bulk of my youth dating some real jerks. I let the wrong ones into my life. The deep seeded trust issues I already had didn’t help. I didn’t know myself. I wasn’t the self-assured and confidant woman I am today. Twenty years ago I settled because I was a “go with the flow” kind of person.

Today, I know what I want – and what I don’t want. I am 40 and single because I won’t settle for less than I deserve. When I was 20 I didn’t think I deserved a whole lot. Now that I’m 40 and single, I know better. My standards are higher and I’m not afraid to set boundaries or walk away from something that doesn’t make me happy.

Thanks so much for reading!

 

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