A Change of Direction

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 20, 2008 in Family Stuff

If you haven’t already noticed, my blog has a new title and a new look to go with it.

I felt that my blog has taken a different direction the past few months. While in the beginning I used to post mainly about my stamping and craft projects, I have found that my focus has shifted (both on my blog and in real life).

I have found myself writing more about what’s happening in my personal life – especially with my family. I’ve been sharing more reports about my family’s experiences, our comings and goings, my children’s achievements and even a few book and travel reviews thrown in here and there.

I’m still crafting and I’ll still share my projects here (and will keep all previous posts available for viewing), but I don’t think I’ll be getting work published again any time soon (unless you count the specification that I just developed for the FAA…and you would only want to read that if you’re having trouble sleeping).

The new working title, “Flying By the Seat of My Pants”, accurately describes my current family life.

I have friends who have their lives perfectly planned out – what they will wear, where they will go, when they will retire…even what their kids will be when they grow up. You can give them a time of day and they know exactly where they’ll be. Give them a month in any given year in the future and they can tell you what they’ll be doing. I wish I could be that way.

But I feel like I have no consistent plan – every day is really like flying by the seat of my pants. Where will I be next year? Not really sure – will I still be working? Full-time? Part-time? Heck – let’s not even look that far ahead…what are we doing tomorrow after church? What are we having for BREAKFAST tomorrow? Some may call that spontaneity…to me, that sounds too kind. It’s really more like trying to get through each day, trying to go with the flow and basically…surviving with myself and my family intact.

So I’ll be sharing more of those personal experiences here on my blog in the months to come. Hey…is that a plan? No…it may not work out and I may change my mind. See – I’m still flying by the seat of my pants – even here on my blog.

One idea that I’ve been tossing around in my head is the idea of doing a little bit of writing (maybe that’s why I haven’t been sleeping – I need to bring home a copy of that specification as a sedative). I’ve been doing so much reading this summer and I can’t help but feel drawn to writing something myself. And as silly as it seems, writing up that specification has brought out the writer in me again. I just need to shift from boring technical writing to something more interesting (not too hard to do).

So I may test out some of my ideas here – I was really drawn to the idea of little essays and observations like the ones written by David Sedaris in the last book I read, “When You Are Engulfed in Flames”. Not that David and I have anything in common – he’s a small, Greek homosexual man that graduated with a literary degree from Princeton…and I’m not. I have no writing experience or education other than that I did in college.

But I have a few ideas both for little essays and even for some potential longer stories that have been floating around in my mind for a few months – maybe I’ll give it a shot and let some of those ideas loose on paper.

Then maybe I’ll have some room in my mind to sleep at night again…


Summer Reading – When You Are Engulfed in Flames

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jul 20, 2008 in Books I'm Reading

I’ve been reading quite a bit this summer but have started to grow tired of stories of failed relationships and family tragedies…I just needed a change of pace.

When I heard an interview with David Sedaris on NPR last week about his new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, I thought it was just the change I was looking for in my next summer read.


Okay – the cover looks sort of scary and the title’s a little bit odd, but this is a great book that had me laughing out loud several times.

The book is a series of essays filled with life observations as seen by the author. The title comes from a Japanese hotel safety brochure written in poorly translated English. And the skeleton…David’s boyfriend Hugh asks for one for Christmas and then decides to hang it in the bedroom right next to the bed.

This is certainly not a book for children (or for conservative adults, for that matter), but you can’t help but find the humor in stories like “Solution to Saturday’s Crossword Puzzle” where the woman next to Sedaris on a plane that asks him to give up his seat to her husband so the couple can sit together – and Sedaris refuses because he doesn’t like where the husband is seated. The woman screams to her husband, calling Sedaris a very unflattering (and obscene) name across the aisle…then she falls asleep. At which point David sneezes and loses his cough drop on the woman’s lap – what to do…what to do…

Sedaris’ storytelling is so clever and funny…I just love his writing style. Some stories are silly and touching at the same time – others are just plain weird (like the babysitter who made David and his siblings scratch her back for hours with a “plastic hand attached to a foot-long wand” – or the birds that keep flying into his windows until Sedaris cuts pictures of terrorists’ faces out of the newspaper and hangs them on the glass). Either way, the stories are still lots of fun to read.

I started reading this book yesterday…and have finished all 323 pages by today! I was sorry when I’d read the last page – I wanted more of Sedaris’ wit. After reading this, I’m definitely going to pick up other books by this author and give them a try.

This book was indeed a nice change of pace – I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a little laughter while enjoying the summer sun.

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