Review of ‘The Evolution of Mara Dyer’

Welcome to my thoughts on The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin!  It’s book 2 in the trilogy and for some reason, I thought I wrote a review for the first one already.  Looking back at my Goodreads, it appears I just did a little blurb in the comments section.  So let’s get a little housekeeping out of the way for those that have never heard of this series…

Book 1:  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Book Synopsis:  Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.  It can.  She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.  There is.  She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.  She’s wrong.

My Take:  A good start to a mystery / sci-fi ya  series.  As with most beginning books, we’re introduced to Mara Dyer, Noah Shaw, and a whole host of other minor and major characters.  The story opens with Mara waking up in a hospital bed, not quite remembering what happened.  The official diagnosis is Amnesia with PTSD.  As the story progresses, we get snippets as her memory returns… Her and her friends were checking out an abandoned asylum and it collapsed, killing everyone but her.  Ultimately, the family packs it up and tries to make a new start in Miami, Fl.  But as they’re settling in to their new lives, strange things start happening.  People are mysteriously dying around Mara and in ways that she envisions well before it happens.  She starts loosing time and hallucinating.  In the midst of all this, she drawn to the school’s “bad boy”, Noah Shaw.  Them dancing around each other is fun to watch play out.  I didn’t particularly care for Shaw in the beginning – I thought he was a jerk and he’s hiding some secrets of his own – but by the end, he had grown on me.  All in all, I gave it 4 stars (lost a star because it was a very slow start).

dividing-line-floral

Mara Dyer Cover

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s delve into the Evolution!  Because the book descriptions are so vague, I might have a hard time giving this review without there being any spoilers.  But I’ll try!  Here’s from the back cover:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

One thing to note with this book is that it starts right where the first one left off.  So if you’re thinking of taking a break between the two, don’t wait too long.  There’s no hefty chunk of pages devoted to reminding us what went down.  Personally, I’m okay with that.  I hate when authors repeat themselves incessantly.  It’s like, “Okay!  We got it already!!”  So yes, Ms. Hodkin uses all 500+ pages to weave her tale!

Gosh!  I really don’t know what to say that doesn’t give away too much!  One of the biggest plot points and drivers could spoil it for those that haven’t read the first one yet.  Deep breath… Okay.  I suppose I can just say this – It has to do with Jude. His character arc is at least a HUGE piece.  Alright?  That’s doesn’t give away too much, I don’t think?

Anyway, when Unbecoming ended, we were left wondering what happened in that police station.  Evolution shows us the consequences of Mara’s decision to turn herself in and her reaction to what she saw.  After waking up in a hospital room (again), Mara is pulled from school and placed in an out patient center for continued psychological therapy.  Words like delusional and schizophrenic are added to her profile.  While there, she discovers that Jaime was also expelled and is going to the same treatment facility.  Until the end of this book, I couldn’t figure out the significance of his presence.  Was it just as a friendly face?  Someone to break up the monotony and heaviness with humor?  But we discover a glimmer of what makes Jaime important and I’m hoping we learn more in the next one, Retribution of Mara Dyer.

Quote 1

Another thing I really enjoyed was getting to know more about Noah.  We learn a bit about his past and why he acts the way he does towards Mara and the situations they encounter.  I’m loving that both Noah and Mara are shaping up to be deep, well thought out, and highly developed characters.  They make sense together.  They balance each others.  I’ve read so many YA books where I wonder what the author was thinking having the two main characters hook up.  It’s like the romance trope is thrown in there just because it’s a box that needs to be ticked and not because it makes sense to the story line.  Like I mentioned earlier, I honestly didn’t care for Noah in the beginning.  I thought he was a self absorbed guy looking for a notch on his bedpost. He rarely went to school, didn’t have any friends, and was a known womanizer.

Now that I know more about him, I’m kind of falling for him.  What we saw in Unbecoming was just a carefully crafted facade he uses to keep people from getting too close.  An honestly damaged soul, Noah tread down a dark path of depression, drugs, alcohol, and sex after discovering his abilities in the wake of his mother’s death.  He’s absolutely dealing with demons from his past.  But he’s also got a soft heart a mile wide.  The stuff about music?  The things he’s willing to do for Mara to keep her safe?  The fun, flirty banter.  Swoon!  I haven’t read a good tete-a-tete in a while and I’m enjoying it!  Seriously, just Google some of the quotes.  They’re great!  I also want to praise Ms. Hodkin on keeping their interactions just this side of sQuote 2teamy without them being complete smut.  I could’ve died reading the part where Noah was talking her through her “safe space”!

They’re relationship isn’t perfect either.  Mara is still terrified that she’s going to kill Noah and the prediction she gets from a fortune teller doesn’t help – “You will love him to ruins.”  However, her reaction to this and her fears is a real one.  It’s one I can picture any flesh and blood person making.  When you love someone as much as they do, when your very existence is inescapably entwined with theirs, when your heart only beats in response to theirs, then doing the noble thing most romance stories have you believable (artfully breaking up and running into the night) is a fairy tale.  The truth of the matter is that real love is completely ride or die, damn the outcome.  Ones like Bonnie and Clyde and Romeo and Juliet are a truer love story.  “I’m too selfish to leave you,” I said.  Noah pulled back so I could see his smile.  “I’m too selfish to let you.”  I’d like to think Ms. Hodkin recognizes this truth so Noah and Mara’s relationship is very much a realistic portrayal.

Okay, enough gushing.  Back to the rest of the book.  The whole out patient facility Mara is initially sent to (and really, the inpatient one too) is filled with a cast of additional characters that truly bring home the creep factor vibe.  We’ve got everything from anger management to germaphobe and anxiety disorders.  Each action, from the dead cat to the photos of Mara sleeping to the note in her backpack and more, ups the ante and makes the reader question what is real.  Add to this Mara’s increasing blackouts, memories of a life she’s never lived, and sleep walking… You get a great suspense novel.  Everything is a question!  Is this real?  Did Mara do it or did someone else?  Is she over reacting?  You just don’t know because you don’t know what’s important or not and what will tie in so you scrutinize everything.  It’s genius.  The ending blew my mind!  Some questions were answered while new light was shed on those that are still outstanding.  I have some seriously high hopes for Retribution.

Speaking of memories, we sort of see the grandmother tie-in.  I’m not sure I understand the direction it’s pointing or why it seems to be a big factor but her backstory is brought more into the forefront than in Unbecoming.  It’s because of this confusing, seemingly miss-placed additional chapters, that I couldn’t give it 5 stars.  4.5 was my final verdict.  Maybe after I read the last one, it’ll make sense.  It was just that while intriguing, it didn’t feel like it fit.

If you’re looking for a great read that sucks you in with equal parts *Aww!* and *Gasp!*, then this a series you want to check out!  I have a few other books that I’ve borrowed from the library that I need to finish before getting into Retribution but I’m excited for the finale!

Pictures in this post were found on Google Images.  They are not mine and I don’t claim to own them.
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Review of Dumplin’

Welcome to my review of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy!  It was the first Book Club book of the year and I’m glad I actually got a chance to read it.  Unlike the first book of the year, I really loved this one.  It captured my attention from the beginning and held it all the way to the end; earning it a solid 4.5 stars from me.  Goodreads only lets me put 4 (boo, GR!) but trust me, if I could, I’d add that half.  So are you ready for the deets?  Here they are:

Dumplin'

For fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Sarah Dessen comes this powerful novel with a fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine, Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Let me just start by saying that I love, Love, LOVE Willowdean!!!  She’s the kind of friend and person that you want by your side for everything.  Even when she’s having a totally relate-able spat with her best friend, Ellen, or struggling with her feelings for Bo, you can see her pure heart shine through.  She’s confident but also a little unsure of herself.  It’s a self doubt that stems from peer and social pressure to BE a certain way and almost every girl and woman knows how that feels.  The constant internal struggle to be your authentic self in a world that wants to pigeon hole you based on your looks or background.  I mean really, who doesn’t know what that’s like?

I think that’s also why I kind of hated Will’s mom just a teeny bit.  Okay, so maybe it was a lot.  The small slights and veiled insults and downright emotional blackmail ticked me off.  I know there are moms out there like that.  Ones that feel life would be better if their daughters looked and acted a certain way.  Maybe some of them think they’re pushing their girls to conform for their own good, to make life easier on them when they grow up.  If you’re one of those ladies, I’m sorry but you’re SO WRONG!  We don’t need to conform to the world.  It needs to accept us as we are or get the Hell out of our way!  I felt bad for Will when her Mom would open her mouth and I’m so proud that she was able to stand up to her in the end!

*** Woo-Saa***  But I digress…..

In school, I’ll freely admit that I was not on the chubby or curvy side like Will.  In fact, due to my Crohn’s, my body image struggle was the opposite.  Food was the enemy because every time I ate, I was in insane pain.  I desperately NEEDED the weight though and was basically a stick the whole 4 years; full of odd angles, hollow eyes, and clearly defined bones sticking out.  Nonetheless, like most teen girls, I compared myself to the ones everyone seemed to want to be.  I didn’t have the hips or boobs or long legs or perfect tan.  I was short and pale and often too exhausted to worry about makeup or doing my hair.  Anything that showed more skin than was necessary terrified me too!  I longed for attention from boys but the minute I got it, I was awkward and weird and leaned more towards best friend material than blazing hot girlfriend.  In summary, high school wasn’t the highlight of my life!  But as I said earlier, despite her reasons for feeling the way she did, I knew her thoughts.  I knew her pain and resentment with the world.  I knew those boys and girls she went to school with because they were in mine too.  I can even appreciate the love for Dolly Pardon!  Hello, ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’!!

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was that while there was some romance, it wasn’t THE WHOLE story.  This is first, and foremost, about Will’s journey.  Bo was great.  I loved Bo even though he fumbled big time early in their relationship and I wanted to smack him.  I love that Bo never cared about her weight and only loved her for who she was as a person.  But Bo’s character was more of a tool used to give us insight into Will.  Don’t get me wrong, he was fully fleshed out and didn’t feel like a prop.  It was just never completely about him or them as a couple.  That was purely secondary to the main plot.  Their relationship simply showed how she felt about herself.  It gave us a lens to understand the depths of her insecurity and it totally worked.  I get annoyed sometimes when a book that’s supposed to be about character development gets mired in the love story.  If I wanted a romance, I’d read a romance.  But Dumplin’ did one of the better jobs of staying true the main point than a lot of books I’ve read lately and I really appreciated that!

Dumplin' Quote 1

So why 4 stars instead of 5?  Truthfully?  The ending.  It just sort of… ended.  Like Ms. Murphy was coming up on a deadline and need to finish it quickly.  The whole book was this huge build-up to the Beauty Pageant and within like, 10 or 15 pages, it was over.  I mean, the ending made sense but I felt with all the time and effort she put into the rest of the story, the last bit would’ve been a bit more.  Not a cliff hanger, but I felt like I was left hanging.  You know what I mean?  I wanted to know what happened with her Mom afterwards.  I wanted to know the girls that competed with her.  I wanted some concrete resolution between Will and Bo (although in my head they’re smiling in the front seat of his truck).  There’s supposed to be a follow-on book but it’s not about Will so doubt I’ll get my questions answered.  Oh, well.  That’s why I deducted a star.

Ultimately, Ms. Murphy’s story telling is perfect and I would highly recommend that everyone give it a try.  The story is funny, sweet, honest, at times heartbreaking, and even a little swoon worthy here and there.  Completely worth the 400 page, paperback purchase!

Review of Willful Machines

It’s been a bit since I wrote a review for a book so forgive me if I ramble on this one.  If I’m going to be perfectly honest, that’s exactly how my brain was while reading this one… It wandered.  A lot!  But before we get into all of that, here’s some details about Willful Machines by Time Floreen:

Willful Machines

In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.

Charlotte’s attacks have everyone on high alert—everyone except Lee Fisher, the closeted son of the US president. Lee has other things to worry about, like keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his crush on Nico, the eccentric, Shakespeare-obsessed new boy at school. And keeping Nico from finding out about his recent suicide attempt. And keeping himself from freaking out about all his secrets.

But when the attacks start happening at his school, Lee realizes he’s Charlotte’s next target. Even worse, Nico may be part of Charlotte’s plan too.

As Lee races to save himself, uncover Charlotte’s plan, and figure out if he can trust Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive … and what makes life worth living.

At 365 pages (I had the hard back edition), it’s not super huge but I swear I felt every page!  I’m sorry but I don’t really have anything good to say about this one.  The description was interesting so I was majorly hopeful.  I was expecting something along the lines of a teen version of I, Robot, maybe with a little emotional drama.  Yeah, not so much.  Willful Machines was a mess from the beginning to end.  First, let’s talk about the characters…

The main character, Lee, was annoying.  There’s no other word for it.  He was a whiny, scared, insecure little boy.  Wo, to me should be this kid’s theme song.  Seriously.  I could’ve been okay with it if there was some progression, something to show that he was moving out of that and becoming a better person but no.  Even at the end when he needed to man up, figure out who was behind the attacks, and save his friends, all he did was have this internal monologue about how he was afraid of this and couldn’t live without that.  I was past over it by that point anyway.

Moving on.  Everyone surrounding Lee were jerks.  That’s the nicest way to put it without using profanity.  So I suppose at least the author was consistent in that regard.  Where was the support one should expect from family and friends?  Was it so hard to have at least one nice, redeeming quality in any of them?!  Dad was self absorbed, the Grandfather was past twisted (I mean keeping a metal femur above your fireplace?!), and the best friend was past snarky and dangerously embroiled in know-it-all, mean girl mode.  Nico was the only one half way alright but he felt flat to me.

Now for the plot.  It was a good idea.  Actually, the premise was a great idea.  Just maybe in the hands of another author.  I felt like I was reading something written by a high schooler.  Mr. Floreen felt the need to over explain everything.  A prime example that comes to mind is when Lee tossed something and missed.  Instead of just leaving it at that, Lee had to make some remark about his lack of sports skills.  Because yeah, the reader can’t glean on their own that a clumsy, scared of the world, kid isn’t that great at throwing things.  The whole book was like that.  It was either too descriptive or too random.  There was no in between.  Even the supposed “romance” between Nico and Lee was a stretch to believe.  No where did I really FEEL it!  That plot device was just sort of there.  I think it would’ve worked way better if they were just friends.

Ultimately, I just didn’t care, about the plot or the characters, and that made it a long and agonizing read.  So as you can tell, I wasn’t a fan of this book.  At all!  I wouldn’t recommend it and gave it 2 stars on my Goodreads page.  Why not 1?  Because the only character I loved was Gremlin.  I spent the 360+ pages waiting for his small moments.  Can we get a story about him?!  Please??

If you’ve read this book, please leave a comment!  I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

 

Day 2

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.  ~ Mark Twain ~

Yeah, still trying to figure out the “why”.  How about you?  Do you know why you are here?  Feels a little existential doesn’t it?  Like, what do they mean?  Is it when you find out what your passion is?  What makes the biggest impact on the world around you?  While we’re at it, has anyone figured out who “they” are yet?  Anyway, I’m still searching.  There’s a lot that makes me happy – my dogs, my husband, reading, the natural world, food – but they can’t be the WHY, can they?  Have you figured out your purpose?

The one thing I can say is that I know my Goals.  Immediate ones, ones I’m hoping to accomplish by the end of 2018, are losing a few pounds, getting my Glucose down a few points, and paying off a significant portion of our debt.  Long Terms Goals include finishing my degree and hopefully having a successful IVF procedure before I turn 40.  But back to today – Tuesday, 2 January.  Today’s Goal: Trying to come close to that perfect Macro ratio I set for myself while staying under my recommended calorie intake.

The Macro percentages I set for myself are 55 – 60% Fats (Healthy fats!), 30 – 35% Protein, and 10 – 15% Carbs.  Max caloric intake is 1,850.  It’s harder than it sounds!  Since I started looking at labels and scrutinizing everything I’m thinking of eating, it’s crazy to realize how many carbs are in EVERYTHING!  Sweeteners are also carbs and just about every American food item has some sort of sweetener in it.  Things I didn’t even think could have sugar, do – Taco Sauce, Half ‘n Half, Milk.  I thought it would be easy.  All I had to do was give up processed food, breads and grains, some fruits, and obviously sweets/sodas.  Nope, it’ll be more than that!

At the end of the day, my percentages per my FitBit app were 65% Fats, 21% Protein, and 14% Carbs.  My caloric intake was 1,839.  Apparently I was 141 calories “Under Budget” for the day but since I’m always either over or under, I don’t really care.  At the end of the week, as long I’m staying at a deficit, I’ll take it as a win.  But getting back to my numbers… I need some work!  My fats need to come down and I need to figure out how to add more protein.  But how to do that without adding calories?  Ugh, I need to do some more homework on that.

Carbs I’m happy with for my first go at tracking but I say again, it was tough!  For example, I thought I’d do a Shakeology shake as a snack between breakfast and lunch.  Those are supposed to be healthy, right?  That’s what’s being pitched and I have a lot of packets from the last order I did a while ago.  I figured that it would fill me up for a while so all I would need is a snack at lunch.  Unfortunately, when I entered it, it threw my levels all out of whack so I ended up stopping at half a shake and I’m saving the rest for later.  I like mixing it with milk instead of water but I’m hearing differing information on whether that’s acceptable with a Low Carb / Keto Like diet.  I would consider using Coconut or Almond milk instead but I need to check the labels first.  If all they do is sacrifice calories, fat, and protein then I’m no better off.

So what did my menu got the day look like?  For breakfast I had coffee (with half ‘n half and traditional sugar) and a Pancetta & Swiss Quiche.  My snack was half a Strawberry Shakelogy shake (I use a 20 oz mixing container).  Lunch was some salame with cheddar slices and dinner was a ground beef Taco Salad.  I was starting to drag around 4 p.m. so I thought I’d try a decaf coffee with Stevia and heavy whipping cream (it’s recommended over half ‘n half).  Personally, I’m not crazy about the Stevia.  It left a funky aftertaste that was reminiscent of other popular sugar alcohols used to replace traditional sugar.  Since those tend to make my stomach cramp, I’m not sure how much I’ll be using the Stevia.  Sure, it’s probably mind over matter but if my stomach is going to have to do some adjusting, I’d rather not have that in addition to it.  Not in the beginning at least.  With my Crohn’s, any little bit of stress or change to diet can cause problems.  Some threads mention Monk Fruit so maybe I’ll try that next.  But the cream wasn’t a bad substitute.  I can see myself making that a permanent change.

Bullet Proof Coffee is also a recommendation for use instead of my regular coffee.  It’s a mix of butter, coconut oil, coffee, Stevia, heavy whipping cream, and some other things.  It sounds utterly weird but people swear by it.  It’s supposed to have a latte texture and you can use sugar free flavoring to jazz it up.  But I think I’ll wait until this weekend to try it though.  No sense in starting my work day off on the wrong foot with bad coffee.  My coworkers would definitely not appreciate it!

Thus ends my ‘Day 2’.  Let’s see how tomorrow fairs…..

 

P.S. It wasn’t mentioned yesterday but my height is 5’1″.  That puts me in the “Obese” category.  Womp, womp, womp!

Day 1: In The Beginning

What is it people say when they start something new?  “Today is the day”?  I’m not sure I have an opening as great or cliche as that.  Or really ANY opening.  I can’t think of a way to start other than to say that today is Day 1.  Day 1 of hopefully a positive change in my life.  At least a slightly healthier version.  But it’s not what you think.  This isn’t just some New Year Resolution.  I mean, I guess in a way it is but I don’t think of it that way.  Today could be August 1st for all I care.  I wanted (read: needed) to make a change and the first of the month seemed like a good time to start.  It just so happened that the nearest “first” when I made this decision was New Year’s Day.  So here I am.

I suppose I should back up a bit and explain myself.  Back in the Fall, my husband and I took a class to help us get out of debt.  Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  The Chapel on base was offering it free of charge to military members and their families.  We’d been struggling, living the proverbial “paycheck to paycheck” and I was seriously tired of spinning my wheels.  It felt like as soon as we’d get a little put back, something horribly expensive would break or we’d need to buy something for whatever, and there went the little bit we had put back.  It was beyond frustrating!  So when I got the email, I immediately signed us up.  One of the questions they have you ask yourself is, “What’s your why?”  It’s meant to act as a motivator.  Something to hold on to when all the limiting of spending gets to be too much.  It’s that same why that brought me to make this decision.

Our reason is that we want to have a family.  We’ve been trying to get pregnant for almost 6 years and suffice it to say, it hasn’t happened.  In the beginning, we thought we could go about it the old fashioned way.  As time went on and nothing took, we went to the doc. After some medical appointments and tests, we were told that we’d need help.  Of course, as fertility treatments are not typically covered by insurance and are pretty up there in price, we’d need to get a handle on the financials.  Even being a military family, we were looking at $10k.

That was 2 years ago.  Life and a move from Maryland to Ohio later, we were due for another round of tests.  I don’t want to go into it too much right this moment, but the news wasn’t good.  That time was not kind to me and what little chance we had was severely diminished.  Not only did it break my heart, it added an additional $8k to our estimates.  Money was one thing we could for sure work on but my body was something else entirely.  How do you fix a body that was apparently not made to ever be a mother?  How do you accept that something you once dreamed about might never happen?  How do you tell your spouse that you’re reason they can’t be a parent?

I was spinning.  There were no answers.  Not optimistic ones at least.  So I needed something to focus on besides my traitorous body.  It so happens to be that it’s my body that needs the work.  I’m slightly overweight and pre-diabetic and not as fit as I was in my 20s.  What better way to punish my body than by punishing my body with soreness and starvation?  I’m kidding.  But no, really, it feel appropriate.  Bonus seemed to be that in my research on diets was that it helped fertility for some women.  I’m not holding out too much hope but it can’t hurt.  If nothing else, I’ll at least be a skinnier childless person, right?  Someone for the moms to envy?

So starts my year.  Currently my weight is 170.8 lbs with 44″ hips, 42″ waist, and 14″ upper arms.  I decided to measure my arms instead of my chest because that’s what I’m really annoyed over.  I absolutely hate finding a cute top and my arms not fitting.  Anyway, my goal is to lose 10 pounds in 6 months through cutting carbs/sugars and hitting the gym.  I don’t want to call it the Keto diet because it’ll be heavily modified to fit my IBD and ileostomy but I’ll be using a Keto cook book for recipes since they’re low in carbs/sugars generally.

Tomorrow I’ll go more into what I have planned for the week food-wise but if I’ve learned one lesson on my first day, it’s that I need a bigger fridge.  Or maybe to just buy for a few days at a time instead of the whole week.  I don’t think I can fit one more thing in there!

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to you wherever you are right now!  ~ Kat (a.k.a. The Eternal Gypsy)

Disclaimer: New Year, New Life, New Blog

Hi, Everyone.

I’m sure you thought I was done. That I had disappeared. Well, almost. The person I was when I started this blog is gone at least. 2017 has been a tumultuous year for me and my family. So much has happened and it’s changed my life’s trajectory. This past year has brought into sharp focus aspects of my life where I was coasting. It put me through experiences and moments that caused me to ask myself, “How bad do you want it? What are you willing to do?” The most recent revelation of the year sent me into a tailspin. I had to pull my heart and soul back to step 1. After a lot of internal arguing, pleading, bargaining, and meltdowns, here is where I stand.

So what does all this mean? It means I’m finally tired of hiding. It means that now, in my mid-thirties, I’m over framing myself in away that I think others will accept better. It means I’m going to be the hideous, unapologetic, completely transparent train wreck that I am in real life when no one is looking. No more omitting my truth from the narrative. No more shying away from my Crohn’s or struggles with infertility or frustration with the military. (Bet you didn’t know I was a MilSpouse?!) It means that from this moment on, this blog will about Life! Mine in particular.

Now I know most of you followed me for my book reviews or thoughts on locations I’ve explored. This change will probably make you want to “unsubscribe”. While I understand, I sincerely hope you don’t. Books and trying new things are still my remedy for stress. An introvert needs a few vices right? Besides, I’m still a wanderer at heart. So there will still be reviews but they’ll just be mixed in with other posts.

As such and to close, there will be a major overhaul of the blog. I plan on switching up the layout, deleting some posts, and archiving others. By Tuesday, it should look like a completely different site.

Here’s to 2018 and the new Gypsy!

Love, Kat (a.k.a. The Eternal Gypsy).

Earthing at Beavercreek Wetlands

When life gets crazy, I have to get off the grid. Lately, it’s been very much so. Stress is… Well… Stressful. It doesn’t help that I have a health condition that can be acerbated by stress. Sometimes it feels like I’m running marathon, get tripped up, and spend the rest of the time stumbling along, trying to keep up. The only problem is, I have no idea where the finish line is so exhaustion sets in and I start living more in my head than in the present.

For obvious reasons, this isn’t a good thing. Tasks get dropped, things are forgot, depression hovers. So a reset is desperately needed. A moment to step back and see what’s important. Make a plan and take a breath without the computers and cell phones and date books and people pulling at me; screaming at me that this is paramount and needs to be done first when in actuality it isn’t that important.

Thus begins my tale of an unexpected Grounding at Beavercreek Wetlands…..


Civilized in a modern world, but disconnected from a primal, powerful source of energy and healing. See, the Earth is basically a six sextillion (that’s a six followed by twenty-one zeroes) metric ton battery that is continually being replenished by solar radiation, lightning, and heat from its deep-down molten core. The natural rhythmic pulsations of energy flowing through and emanating from the surface of the Earth keep the biological machinery and global life running in rhythm and balance-and that includes you! Unfortunately, we live like cut flowers, detached from the nourishing Earth energy. Earthing, also known as grounding, is simply reconnecting to the Earth’s healing energy.

Admittedly, I didn’t head out with the intention to Ground. I just wanted to hike with my dog. Get some fresh air. However, the Universe knows what I need more than I do. I need only listen. With the occasional proverbial smack upside the head. And by smack, I mean a slip into a muddy bog. Up to my ankles. Completely covering my shoes.


Normally I hike in boots that would prevent this type of thing. Good, sturdy ones that keep my feet dry while tromping through a wetland. But this day, I was wearing ballet flats. My overwhelmed head was wrapped up in my never ending to-do list and not thinking of wearing my boots. So after my flats filled with mud and I cursed myself for not wearing sensible shoes, I figured why the hell not. I rinsed them off in a nearby stream and spent the rest of my walk barefoot.


Bonus moment: I ran into a Grandfather and his Granddaughter walking the same trail. They had got lost looking for another trail and needed directions. After pointing out the way, I warned them of the bog and small pond that had creeped across the path. Seeing my bare feet, they chose to do the same and the squeals of laughter from the little girl as the mud oozed up between her toes brought a smile to my face.