Tag Archives: coffee shops

My Own Book Club

When my sister helped me set my Word Press account, she introduced me to the Widgets that I could apply to my page. Not wanting to overcrowd my page, I just kept to a simple format, but did apply one that linked to Goodreads. Before starting my blog, I had never heard of Goodreads. I have always loved to read, but never thought of recording my books started, finished or under the “want to read” category–let alone write reviews about the book when I did finish. I just did so in my mind. I didn’t consider books as a social activity.

At least not until this year. As I started to read more good books, I started to discuss them. Most of the time it was with Mom, as friends for me were still in Colorado. During the same week as my blood clot surgery, the ladies Bible study that I had signed up to attend had started. Missing only a few times, I got to know these women and respected their godly wisdom as I was the youngest in the group. Today, two of these ladies are now good friends. Age shows no boundaries in friendship. As Spring turned into Summer, I also started to get to know a few people in town. My friends were now more than just acquaintances. I still Skype, email, text and write letters to my dear friends in Colorado and wherever else they may reside, but having friends in the current area has been a joy.

I bring up friends (and I include family members in this too), because like myself, many are avid readers, love the library, and don’t mind if I bring up a few good book title recommendations. I decided books run in my blood line. 🙂 Now, I can’t tell you why I started this year to see books as social activity, but when it first started, I found that when I shared what I considered to be a good read, I enjoyed being able to remember what I read. Sounds funny, I know. But I was never good at reading to remember (unless it is an exceptional read.) This is why I preferred final papers over final tests in school.

Now that the year is nearing its end, I am glad that I have a Goodreads account. I looked back at the books I read this year–some I liked, others not so much; some I bought, some I borrowed, some I gave away when I finished; some I checked out from the library, some I read in a coffee shop, some I finished in the car on a road trip. There are still many to enjoy, which is the point of this blog post: I will now share my year-long secret with you. Actually, it is not really a secret, but it is sort of silly so I never told anyone.

In March, I noticed on Goodreads that there were different polls and book recommendations on the side margins. I noticed one in particular–a reading challenge: how many books are you going to read this year? I didn’t think much on it, thought it would be fun and set my challenge: my 2013 reading challenge. 40 books. I thought that was a good number…not too low, yet not high where I felt it unreachable. I was so serious about it when I first started, then forgot about it all together and hardly read at all during the summer. Something about students returning to campus, the thought of classes and learning and hours of studies in coffee shops got my mind refocused on enjoying book or two. On Monday I was writing a book review on Goodreads and finally checked my number for the challenge, as I was clueless of how many more books I needed in order to make my goal. According to the stats, I have read 39 books…one more to go to reach my challenge. 🙂

The book challenge was never my motive for reading, but it encouraged me to keep reading (at the times when I remembered I even had a goal to reach.) Would I set another challenge for next year? I have thought about it. If I did, I would challenge myself to read a few more than 40–but would keep my number a secret. 😉 But I don’t think numbers are important. It is not about how much I read, but how well I read–what I discover in the text, decipher in my thoughts, and share with others. That is what I consider a good read.


Filed under Books and Movies

Weekend Rewind…

How much fun can you fill in a weekend?

Let me recount the ways:

It all started when we picked up my sister this past Friday from the airport. Her visit has been anticipated for weeks! We did not give her much time to catch a breath as the first of festivities was Chic Fil A for dinner. Friday, July 12th, marked Chic Fil A’s annual “Cow Appreciation Day” in which you dress like a cow and get free chicken. Last year I had a harder time gathering a herd to come with me, but this year it was the complete opposite.




After enjoying our meal, we headed back home for dessert: Whoopie pies!!! (Yes, I know…the irony of it but they were already made the day before when we had company for dinner). It was such a nice evening, we went out to the patio. Megan caught fireflies and we had some tea. We helped my mom pick the last of her green beans off the stalks and soon after called it a night.

Saturday started out relaxing. Around lunch we headed over to Beans-n-Cream to see my paintings then went to Stoney Creek Roasters for lunch.


We ventured to Yellow Springs for a few hours and enjoyed the shops. I started to get tired at this point, but after a LifeWater and fruit snack, I regained some needed energy. When we got home, dinner was served out on the patio and then it was suggested that we spend the rest of the wonderful evening playing put-put golf at Young’s Jersey Dairy.

It was already eight pm when we started out the door for Yellow Springs (again). Right before we got to Young’s, there is a sunflower field. It was too pretty to pass up the opportunity for a few pictures!



We arrived at Young’s and began our game right at the start of dusk. By the time we were about halfway through the course, it was dark. They have lights on the course but not all were working. Considering my balance already when it is dark plus bending half over to swing my putter and the randomness of put-put course hills, I did quite well. My strategy: Don’t look down, just hit the golf ball. Results: Par in 1. (Just once but it was so cool!) We had a system down in which when it was my turn, whoever had my golf ball would place it on the ground at the starting point. When I made it in the hole, someone would bend over and retrieve it for me. Instead of waiting on the curb, I most often stood on the grass course and just moved my feet if a golf ball came in my direction. I learned that the putter can be a used as a great cane when needed for balance and my family helped when needed too. It was a fun evening, and most of all, exciting to say that “I played put-put golf in the dark.”

Sunday I attended church with my family. There is no interpreter there, so as much as I tried lip-reading, the most I got out of the sermon was from the power point slides. The pastor spoke of God’s faithfulness. I couldn’t help but think of Third Day’s song “Your Love Oh Lord,” which is based on the verses in Psalm 36:

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

It was a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness in my life. I was able to think about this more as after lunch I finished a questionnaire for a research study on the social/psychological effects of living with profound hearing loss (or deafness). It was a lengthy endeavor that dug deep into the past–resurfacing memories and emotions…altered dreams. But it was good for me as well–to see the bigger picture since then and how God has brought me to this point in life of living with deafness.

Living with deafness also means when you go to a play (unless you have an interpreter), you don’t hear anything. To celebrate birthday festivities, my older sister and brother-in-law joined us that evening for the La Comedia Dinner and Theatre production of Peter Pan.




We had an amazing meal (thanks to the waiter who went down and got my plate of food for me), amazing cheesecake (with “fairy dust” on top–aka sprinkles) and enjoyed a phenomenal performance!! We were close enough to see the lines that were attached to Peter Pan and the kids when they flew around the nursery.

Like I said, I could not hear anything. I take that back–I heard soft mumbling, but could not understand anything. Have you ever tried lip-reading at a play? It is not even worth it when you can enjoy watching facial expressions and actions on the floor anyway. I did, however, hear the drums when Princess Tiger Lily and her tribe did their dance. That was my favorite part. 🙂

And so our weekend came to a close–one week over, another about to begin.

What makes a fun-filled weekend so great?
Let me recount the ways: family.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories

Back to paintings…

I have been finishing some paintings these past few weeks…here and there amidst everything and pretty much finished just in time before tomorrow. There are some details left, but I am going to procrastinate the rest of this week on that part and feel just fine in doing so. 😀 However, I am highly anticipating what is coming up after this week and wanted to share a bit of exciting news. The month of February will be full of art! If you are in the area, my paintings will be in two different places: a coffee shop and a library. Yeah, you read that right–A LIBRARY!!! 😀

Xenia Community Library displays local artists’ work on the second floor in the hallway. My paintings will be on display there for the month starting February 4th (actually that is the day I will be hanging them…so starting February 5th). Displayed are some of my personal ones as well as a few from the art show in August. But just the fact that they are in a library is so cool! Books and art! Just add a cup of coffee or tea and it is like a free museum. 😉

My paintings will also be at the coffee shop, Beans-n-Cream, in Cedarville again. I painted some new canvases themed with spring, love, flowers, bright colors, and fun. I incorporated different media (silk flowers, buttons, book pages) in the paintings as well, as I am trying new techniques and styles. Like my Dad always said when we were ordering pizza: “Expand your horizons.” (I always just wanted cheese. Then I realized I was missing out! Add the veggies!!!) 😀

I am getting very excited for these two avenues as they approach quickly! Just getting back into painting has been exciting too! It had been too long.

Here are a few paintings that will be at Beans-n-Cream:






Now that the paintings are set, I am ready for this week though my thoughts have been anxious (especially today). Not fearful, just nervous I guess. Like I can’t sit still, because I am trying to get a few more things done before tomorrow. But I should just take a bit to sit and be still…so I am remembering Zephaniah 3:17 (italics emphasized),

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Tomorrow starts very early…please pray for safety as we travel down to Cincinnati and thank you for already praying for the surgery and doctors. I will not be taking my computer with me this time, but if anything comes up or I stay long, I will get a post in somehow.

Thank you for your continued prayers, love, encouragement, Bible verses and letters. They mean so much.



Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Hospital Trips, Paintings


This week has been a good week. I restarted a few hours of cashier shifts. Let me clarify that…I said I would do a max of 2 hours cashier each shift. I am so glad I said that because it ended up being more exhausting than I realized. Or maybe it was due to late (LATE) nights on the weekend, because my sister was officially home from college. Much cheer. 😀 Either way, I found Tuesday’s 2 hours in cash office/2 hours of cashier consuming my energy. I came home that afternoon and found myself sitting on my bed watching a bit of tv shows on Hulu while I worked on a wedding gift. Wednesday, I just came home and took a full nap! 😀 I had today off! I am so glad! It was BEAUTIFUL outside!!! I went with my mom on some errands, picked up my bridesmaid dress for a wedding in June (more to come on that in a bit!), took a walk around campus in town and read a lot! I am finishing up an amazing book. I want to tell you about it now, but there are so many thoughts in my head and emotions that I think it is best to finish it (almost done!) and then share my thoughts. It was one of those books where once I started it, I could not put it down!! Good thing I started it Wednesday evening. I only worked 2 hours yesterday, so most of the day otherwise was spent reading. 😀

Yesterday, I got my new glasses! I think they are superb!!! And totally cute too! Here are the sides. Note the lack of eyebrows and perfect eyelashes. 😀

And here is the front:

I got a comment from a friend that they were my “librarian look” glasses. Now, people might think of this as a strange comment, but anyone who knows me–knows that I think librarians are cool (most anyway). CCU librarians probably thought I was an obnoxious student, because even if they were sitting at the desk, I would still come up and ring the bell. LOL. That is my favorite part! 😀 I thought about being a librarian. Who knows. Maybe someday I will be. But for now, I have a few things I need to work on. One–not so much that I talk loud (which is a no-no in public libraries–at least the one in my neighborhood at Denver), but I talk TOO much! So, I need to control my talking, especially when books or my favorite subjects are concerned. A librarian listens and offers good recommendations (and doesn’t reveal the entire plot or ending of books to people). 😉

Also, if I were wanting to be a librarian, I would need to take a bit more caution on my pronunciation of words. I think what is hard for me is that I do not always hear the correct sound when someone is saying the word. Or, I say it like I am reading it. Or, I just don’t know the word and the first time I say it, I say it how it is spelled. Other times, I just get my words mixed up or something with lip-reading is involved. Maybe part of it is my talking too fast or now that my lips move a bit slower on the left side (I now spit when I speak…embarrasing!) maybe that affects my speech. The latter is a bit more an excuse. I have a history with getting my words mixed up or pronouncing things wrong. The first one I remember saying wrong is when I was in junior high…maybe freshman year of high school. I was discussing hair with my dad. Not sure why we were having this conversation, but I was telling him how he should get a toupee though I said: “Dad, you should get a tapoo!” My dad was confused and asked, “What is a tapoo?” I said, “You know…” while pointing to my head. Thankfully, Dad thought it was hilarious and that was the last time I mentioned anything to my dad about a new hairstyle! 🙂

Another time, we were driving through town and I noticed a new shop that opened on Main Street. I said, “Look! Corner Mercantile.” But I pronounced it as “mer-can-til-ee”. My mom liked that one. Once in college, my roommate and I were getting ready to call it a day. She had the top bunk and I slept on the bottom bunk. I was always up later than she was so I thought she was already asleep. I had already taken out my hearing aids and taken my glasses off (the time when I feel a bit like Helen Keller) and my roommate turned over and sat up. Pretty much startled me and she asked if I could get her the vaseline from her desk drawer. Of course I read vaseline clear as day (I had her bend her head down and I stood on my tiptoes to read her lips), but for some odd reason when I opened the drawer, I grabbed the sticky notes. Confused in my brain, I went back to the bunk beds and said, “For some odd reason, ‘vaseline’ looks like ‘sticky notes’ when you read lips.” [It doesn’t. LOL] My roommate said, “That’s because I did ask for the vaseline!” HAHA. We laughed so hard about that one for a long time.

After I graduated, I roomed with several roommates over a year and a half. The last girls I lived with were really fun and made my last of Denver a great experience. I remember one time I had chemo on Friday, December 30th. I went to work the next day (yes, more to come on that in the post about the book!) and as I got home, they invited me to attend Downtown Denver with them for Cheesecake Factory and fireworks. I knew I was tired and cold, but I thought I could attend the fun. We rode the metro to the 16th street mall (first time metro ride for me), but it was not a fun experience. I got such bad cramps, I felt sick! I knew I was having a bathroom problem, so I told the roommate sitting next to me that I was about to be sick and needed to find a bathroom asap when we got off. We found a Walgreens, but they don’t have public restrooms (ugh!) So, we found a Starbucks not too far from there and thanks to the compassionate girls in line, they let me cut and that was that. My hands were so cold, I could not button my pants and just tried to buckle my belt tight. I came out in tears and my dear roommate (her boyfriend was there too) offered to take me back home. 🙂 Anyway, back to pronunciation–two of my roommates worked for a coffee shop called, The French Roaster. They had awesome White Peach ice tea. I went in a lot to read and have tea. Once, I decided to go for breakfast. I was reading the menu and decided to try something new. My roommate’s friend took my order (my roommate later told me this) but I said, “I will try your cinnamon crepes.” But I pronounced it as “creeps.” How was I supposed to know the French italic pronunciation?? LOL. I was so embarrassed after that when I saw the girl. She was so kind about it though and we had a good laugh.

The most recent one, I have to admit was only a few weeks ago. My mom and I were driving back from an appointment and we passed some restaurants, one being a Thai Asian place. My older sister has Celiac disease, so she is not allowed to eat any glutton or wheat products. I know her and her husband love Asian food and so I said, “Too bad she isn’t here so we can go to the Thai food place.” Except I pronounced it as “thigh.” Oops! 😀 Needless to say, we had a good laugh about that one!!! There have been many others, but I can’t think of anymore at the moment. Maybe with more intellectual looking glasses, my phase of mispronunciation will pass. Here’s to hoping. 🙂

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Filed under Family Times, Funny Stories

Friday, the 13th.

I must be brief: 1 pm approaches!! Good thing I am not superstitious. I am not awaiting doom. I have already crossed paths with a black cat. Muffy is not bad luck…except for when he shows off his dinner on the back patio or the time he pranced in the house with a mouse head and dropped it on the kitchen floor. My parents were gone on a date and I knew Dad would be so upset if he found out. I put Muffy outside and cleaned the floor, topping it off with Lysol–much like a child putting on their own Reddi Wip on angel food cake. 🙂 Mom came home and asked if I had been cleaning…well, yes!–the kitchen floor at least. 🙂

Back to 1 pm. Momentous. My artwork goes up for display/sale at a coffee shop in town! 🙂 There are two coffee shops in town: one is real art focused with live music on the weekends and some tables are made of checker boards. The other one is their neighbor, but it is more a style where I would go to discuss philosophy or study history. It is very patriotic themed with old American paintings and documents aligned on the walls. It has a historic feeling to it. The outside patio is right on the river. A wonderful place to contemplate or enjoy a fresh breeze and shade in the heat of summer. My paintings are going in the first coffee shop.

I am both nervous and excited. All this week–after returning from my grandparents house over the Easter weekend, getting back to work, and last week of physical therapy–the focus has been painting and getting ready for today. Lesson learned: painters do not procrastinate. Not that I painted in a hurry–I am proud of my work and this has been a good experience. Usually my paintings are painted with a specific person in mind–a friend or a family member. Now I am painting for a broad/unknown audience. I used most of the same styles of brushstrokes, but really saw an expansion of something new…presenting a display that covers a variety of themes and colors. Some are a serious tone (an 18×24 mountain scene titled, Summit Venture) and some are an upbeat tone (an 8×10 bright-colored, five poppy flower scene titled, Polka dot Poppies).

My uncle is here helping my dad fix the back patio. Aside being an excellent carpenter, he is also excellent with art and music. He has given me great ideas and tips to make my paintings better. Biggest tip: bigger is better. 🙂 I look forward to painting bigger pieces this summer! Last night he was viewing my canvases and asked what my 11×14 was supposed to represent. I had aimed with fireworks in mind (but they are pastel colors…almost like the fading of the fireworks). I had glued three buttons on the bottom to match the colors and give it a bit more spark. The conversation:

Me: “This is fireworks.”

Uncle: “What is this?” (pointing to the buttons)

Me: “Um, people watching the fireworks??” 🙂

The fireworks painting also gave my mom and I a great laugh. She was helping me finalize the titles. We set up the study room like an art gallery then sat down and experimented with different words and titles. We were a bit stuck on the fireworks painting. It could almost be a touch of patriotic theme: The 4th of July. But again, too pastel. I finally blurted out, “Evening Fireworks.” I turned to my mom and she had that look: fireworks ARE in the evening! We laughed so hard I was crying!!! Truly a classic Mel moment! 🙂 We finally took my dad’s advice and named it, Celebration.

I must be off! Time is approaching quickly! More to come…


Filed under Funny Stories, Muffy, Paintings