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“How was your weekend?”

It is an early Sunday morning, but I already dread everyone’s favorite question at work after the weekend is over.

The mandatory Monday morning question.

The whenever you’re awkwardly standing by the Keurig machine waiting for the water to  heat up so you can make coffee question.

The whenever you spot someone pass your desk and you accidentally looked them in the eyes and you can’t ignore them question.

The question everyone likes to shout as they pass you by and obviously have no intention of knowing the answer to.

“How was your weekend?”

I guess this question  bothers me because I can’t ever answer it truthfully. Can I say that it was:

“Too short.”  “I did absolutely nothing.”  “I slept all day.” “I was exhausted from last week so I sat around all day and watched the Office.” “My weekend was ruined because of the mere thought of having to come to work.” “My weekend was bad because I got a bunch of emails from my boss.” “I had two glasses of wine which got me a little too drunk and I had to rest all Sunday to recover.”

So, meh, don’t ask me about my weekend on a Monday. Mostly it is two days of trying to recover from a crazy work week.

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The purpose of having dreams

Blah, 2016 did not start well for me. I mean, all the problems I’ve had so far have been first world problems, but since I live in a”first world” I tend to consider them to be actual problems.

I’ve been stuck deliberating at what point will I give up on my dreams. When will I just say, you know what, I’m done. I am done trying. My dreams of becoming a published author (Idk, self-published on Amazon just doesn’t have that ring to it), dreams of becoming a good illustrator (not great, just good- even solid is ok with me), dreams of having all the stories I keep having in my head read by hundreds of people.

They are ambitious dreams to have, I realize that. Not many are fortunate enough to ever get loyal readers and most of their books, their stories end up in a folder called “my book” on their computer where it sits as a sore reminder of unfulfilled dreams.

However, I realized this the other day as I was jotting down the first few lines in my new diary (it’s really pretty, a little old school but I don’t mind it)- I realized that succumbing to reality is why you should never let go of your dreams. Perhaps you should modify them, change them, alter them, make a few alterations here and there but no one should ever give up on their dreams. Because if you give up on your dreams, you let reality win- and reality can be so dull, so cruel and so factual. And I refuse to ever be dull or cruel or factual. Ever.

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Area dog more than happy to be a couch potato

“Would you look at her,” said Tanya with a hint of despise. She was referring to her dog Stella who was stretched out across the couch in the living room. “I think when she dies we will bury the couch with her.”

Tanya and I nonchalantly took a seat next to Stella. “Is it really that bad if a dog enjoys being on the couch?” I asked Tanya. “You love the couch as much as the next person.” “I do,” she responded and took a bite of the grilled cheese sandwich she made inspired by the one seen on America’s Test Kitchen. “But this dog, she almost abuses the couch. I’ve never seen anyone so happy just spreading across the thing in multiple ways. She lays on her back, her belly, her side- you name it.”

I looked at Stella. Her eyes gave away content and a sense of bliss. Soft cushions were supporting her big head as her butt was slowly sinking into the couch. This dog was happy, so happy to be a couch potato.

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The Old Owls’ Tales

Much like humans find wisdom and advice in the tales of the Old Wives, animals have the Old Owl’s knowledge which is widely shared when growing up. These tales were shared with me in the past few months in relaxed, yet intimate conversations with some very lovely owls in an undisclosed location.

Illustrations can be followed on my Instagram account leahrennes (and will be posted on WordPress sometimes too) and they are a celebration of a goal I set only in August of this year and I think have achieved quite well so far.

Before August, I would draw a cow and it looked more like an elephant. After doing the 30-day challenge by Mark Kistler “You can draw in 30 days” book, I not only realized drawing is something that can be taught (and don’t necessarily rely solely upon talent) but I also gained great confidence drawing. Suddenly, I can draw images for my stories which is something I though would be never able to do. Sure, I still need to practice but I have come a long way.

“The Old Owls’ Tales” are a result of the learning process and confidence I gained in the last two months. I hope you enjoy the illustrations and don’t be shy to follow.

And as a slight preview of today’s post- bring an umbrella if you see a worried bunny- according to the Owl tales, it means it is most likely to rain.

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Life without A/C

“It’s the devil,” my Swedish roommate whined. “It ruins the environment,” my German roommate assured me as he was backed up all his whining with staggering statistics. Living in France in the summer is much harder than people realize. A lot of those beautiful, old buildings do not have A/C. Particularly the student rooms- we were all meant to sweat until our clothing was wet inside out. I think I wrote my last will during those hot, summer days, as I was sure I wasn’t going to make it.

As I sit in my A/C room and reminisce my study abroad in France, I can’t thank Willis Carrier enough. A Cornell University graduate, he was the one that came up with modern electrical air conditioning. He was the one that makes my life, on a daily basis, much more tolerable. Living in Florida, life without A/C is unthinkable these days. People pass out from heat because it is so hot sometimes, and then somebody will tell me that A/C is bad? No, sir. A/C saves lives. According to CDC, an average of cca. 700 people die each year. Now, I’m not saying they were all trapped in their homes without A/C but I’m certain A/C could have helped. Unless they were stuck wandering the desert, then I guess they didn’t stand a chance really.

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Inertia and the factor of external force

Lately I’ve been having one of those “what life truly is all about” periods in my life. Don’t ask me why, I’m not even on my period or anything, but I have just been highly contemplative and reading such hard-core philosophical literature that gives me a nasty headache. One of the concepts that shows up a lot is inertia.

Inertia, by definition is a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. But I prefer the definition they have for it in physics (thanks Galileo and Newton) which states that inertia is a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

I’m quite the B student at physics (I mean, I think I kind of get Einstein’s E=mc2 formula), but I was compelled to the physics definition of inertia better because it highlights the external factor force. It’s not simply a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move.

Everything is incrementally changing around us whether we like it or not (state changed by an external force) until one day we notice the big changes. Therefore, the fact the someone/somebody/something can do nothing/ remain unchanged seems less realistic- for want of a better word. There is an external force- perhaps other people, perhaps an event that alters the mentality and gets people to change/think/feel differently about something. Our society is so change driven (whether we like it or not) and affected by external factors that there is no way anyone can remain in the state of inertia for long. I mean, just look at what happened to Greece 😉

Joking aside, the point is you should never just have the tendency to do nothing. Even when things are good- can’t they be better? Or if things are bad, can’t you do something about it? Transform the state of inertia into your benefit, because otherwise the external forces will change it for you.

P.S: Thank you for reading my blog, check out my books on Amazon and let me know what you think! Thanks! 🙂

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When you’re down, down low….

Weird. I have one of the Eurovision songs stuck in my head. I am down, down low. It’s been a rough, ROUGH week and I have little energy left. Or will to do anything, really.

How to cure the down, down low? Here are some of my tips:

1) Hug your kitty/ dog. They may have disgruntled faces (or are about to scratch you) but the feel of that soft fur will make you feel like the world is a better place.

2) Watch “Pursuit of Happyness”- when you realize Chris Gardner was homeless, with a kid, working like a maniac…. you realize you should probably get off your ass and be more productive.

3) Have a glass of wine. No, forget wine. Have a mix- maybe vodka and coke. Rum and coke. I’m not saying to drink your problems away, but sometimes alcohol can get you more relaxed.

4) Get your best friend on the phone. Or when you don’t really have a best friend, talk to your dog/kitty. They are great listeners, often better than people. And they will listen to your problems for hours.

5) Pet your dog/kitty for good measure. Again!

So that’s kind of what I do. What do you do when you have a bad day/week/month? Leave comments below 😀

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P.S: Thank you to those who took advantage of the free promotion of my children’s book “Ginger’s missing glasses”– don’t forget to leave a review! 🙂

Modern Hoarders

She was frantically pacing around the room. “I don’t know why you have to throw anything out! Don’t touch those books, someone gave them to me as a gift!” She looked livid. “Then why are they in the drawer?”

We’ve been looking for a battery charger all over the house for more than an hour, and still no sight of it. “This house has so much shit it in,” she grunted. “Finally!” I thought to myself. She was finally displeased with the piles of useless material items around the house. Maybe this is the opportunity to throw out some of it and clear out the dressers, the closets and the hallway.

Ten minutes into it, she got really mad. At me. For messing with her things, for trying to get rid of things. “You are ruining the order! You are making a mess! I can’t find anything anymore.” Her face was red from screaming at me and I haven’t seen her this upset in a while. I threw all the stuff back to where I found it and left.

I got home and Googled hoarders definition. I’ve seen the shows- Hoarders, buried alive! But my Mom’s place doesn’t look like that! She doesn’t have cockroaches laying around! She can still walk around the house without stepping on things. It did not match. She’s not a hoarder by definition. But what is she then? Why would a sane person get so upset over a pile of things she did not even know they were there?

I called David to discuss what I witnessed with him. His Mom is similar to my Mom- she has expired food in the fridge but she won’t throw it out. She still has the box from David’s first PC purchase. The blender box. Clothing from 1970’s. What is going on here? If they are not hoarders by definition but have separation anxiety, what are they?

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Snow perfect

“I looked out the window and for the first time in my life I saw snowflakes falling from the sky. I wrapped myself in a blanket and jumped to the window. Everywhere I looked, there was a white layer covering the Earth; ground disappeared, snow covered tree branches with a white coat. Cars were covered in a thick layer of white puffiness. For minutes I stared at the snowflakes and watched them twirl in the wind. Then, I put a coat over pajamas, changed slippers for boots and ran outside. Soft, wet snowflakes landed on my face, melting at the touch of my skin. It felt like rain, only softer. I looked straight in the sky; the air was foggy while dancing snowflakes approached the ground.”Jenna Gunner

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To gym or not to gym?

1:00 pm- My lunch break is over and I successfully avoided my lunch running buddies. I mean, I have horrendous back pain, what can I do?

1:15 pm- Starting to feel a little guilty about lying to my co-workers about back pain. But they always go so fast! I can’t catch up with them. It’s better I didn’t go.

3:00 pm- I feel like my legs look excessively large today. I should have gone running.

4:00 pm- Great, because I skipped my lunch run I have to stay late at the gym.

5:15 pm- I feel guilty as I drive by my gym. It’s staring judgmentally back at me. Look away, gym. There is nothing to see here!

7:00 pm- Got my grocery shopping done. My running shoes are ogling me. I feel so darn guilty. Should I go to the gym or not? I am so darn tired.

7:30 pm- David asks me why I skipped gym. I hate it when he points things out. I skipped it. So what? He mumbles something about me constantly complaining about my weight and how I should go to the gym since we paid for it.

7:32 pm- We did pay for it but I am entitled to a break, aren’t I?

7:45 PM- I drive to the damn gym. The moment I start running I actually feel better. My body is thanking me. I needed this.

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