Archive for the ‘Bookishness’ Category

The Easter Bunny has risen!

April 22, 2019

…and he left much chocolate.

Easter was a bit different this year. My two very grown-up childrens decided they were too old to color eggs. They were too old for Easter baskets. They were too old for staged photos (pffffft). And since I have to pick and choose my battles…and maybe because I didn’t want to crawl all through the attic looking for Easter baskets…I decided to let them have their way.

We were still doing Easter – just a more “grown up” Easter.

I decided it was time to start a new tradition: we would volunteer our time and help with service work. It is, after all, what Jesus would do. (That may or may not have been yelled at the girls when they were being whiny.)

So I found a service work through one of the missions nearby where we could help Sunday morning. I was picturing helping with a meal line of some sort, but it so happens that most of those places have a minimum age requirement. The one I finally found was willing to take our minor-aged teenagers and give us some work we could do: sorting through goods that had been donated.

So, Sunday morning we moan and groan at our waaaay too early get-up time, and keep pushing it back further and further. Finally it was so late that I had to call to warn them we’d be just a leeeetle bit late. I’m glad I did because the woman who was supposed to meet us had called in sick. Which is kind of a pain, but it turned into even more of a to-do because the woman who was called in to run the place in her stead had no idea we were coming, or what the lady was going to have us do. So our grand idea to give of ourselves ended in a big kerplunk. Not the Easter tradition I had in mind.

We tried to manage. The girls enjoyed their Easter “baskets” –

Bee-girl, my resistant reader, was the first one to find a book from the Easter Bunny this year – an American Sign Language book. She’s been pouring over it ever since! Gracie got the sequel to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. And I got….well, quite a few. Let’s see, my favorite is Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage. I also got Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay; Karen McManus’ One of Us Is Lying (Gracie has an eye on that, too); and Jeff Zentner’s Goodbye Days. Sooooo many good books! EB must have gotten a good deal at Half Price Books or something. Heh.

That afternoon, the girls and I got all dolled up to go to a nice restaurant as a treat. I picked Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse because it has steak so good it melts in your mouth, and enough seafood to keep Bee happy.

It was fun teaching the girls how to eat at a fancy restaurant, and the waitress we had was very cool with them (she told me later, during an aside, that she has a young daughter and has been thinking a lot about the teenage years, so that was why). It was just a fun time to eat food that was the best ever – we were all ready to pop! when we left!! The restaurant itself was gorgeous! And the service was impeccable. Gracie, especially, was crazily impressed by all the elegance. That’s her speed for sure! And me being me, I told her to keep doing well in school and that could be her everyday! (But I hope she remembers the service work, too.)

After our early dinner, we drove to Barnes & Noble to get a book Gracie needed. She and a friend went to see the movie After on Thursday night, and Gracie discovered it was not only based on a book, but that it was a series! And when we went into the bookstore…well…we sort of accidentally bought nine more books. Because it’s Easter! The book holiday!! We got The Librarian of Auschwitz (I picked it up, Gracie called second dibs); Interment by the brilliant Samira Ahmed; Gracie picked up Sadie (and I called second dibs); I picked up The Language of Kindness; Gracie picked up The Lost; anAt d I finally picked up The Woman in the Window. We couldn’t help ourselves!

It was a wonderful Easter, even if the morning didn’t go as planned. So many adventures at Casa de Katie don’t! But it’s okay. We take them as they come, because we are family!!



Book Reviews: The ones with suspects and prisoners, strippers and school shooting survivors.

February 28, 2019

Morning, peeps! (We should all be so lucky to be marshmalloy shapes covered in gobs of colored sugar…) Today I have quite a few books to choose from because: 1) I’ve been killin’ it with my reading pace lately, and 2) because I haven’t done my book reviews in awhile! So let’s get to it!

MarsRoomThe Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner (2018, Scribner, 338 pages, digital loan). I picked up The Mars Room because it’s a contestant in this year’s Tournament of Books, but I’ve read The Flamethrowers, which I remember hating the cover of, wanting desperately to love, and then putting down a thousand times because I just couldn’t quite enjoy the telling of. So you’d think once I remembered that, I wouldn’t have been so keen on Mars Room. I loved the cover, by the way, and fell just as hard for the pitch: unreliable narrator Romy Hall is in prison for two consecutive life terms, away from the city of San Francisco, which bound her in a way much different than her young son Jackson. The storytelling was smartly done: I loved watching Romy navigate life at women’s prison, broken and cursed. I kept thinking the fifth season of Orange Is the New Black meets Breaking Bad with the grittiness of a Leonardo DiCaprio or Jack Nicholson film. Only the difference here is that Romy got thrown in jail for being one of the other poorer characters, not Piper or Alex, but she navel-gazes like she was Piper. That could be a little distracting, I do have to admit. As much as I loved seeing the reality of prison laid bare before the readers, I loved even more – surprisingly – the way Kushner showed readers what a cursed dystopia San Francisco is to those who can’t keep swimming fast enough and are drowned by the tide. 3 1/2 of 5 stars.

ParklandSpeaksParkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories, by Sarah Lerner (editor) (2019, Crown Books for Young Readers, 192 pages, paperback)
Parkland: Birth of a Movement, by David Cullen (2019, Harper, 400 pages, hardcover). I bought these books on their publication dates (just a week apart) because, like many of us, I was so strongly drawn to the lessons of hope and of activism these high school students have fought so hard to teach us. Ridiculously, this is what feels like the thousandth school shooting in collective memory because there is no clear cut answer – at least that the country can agree on. That’s where the argument seems to stall. The survivors of Parkland say that’s not enough. Parkland Speaks is catharsis bound between a beautiful soft jacket cover. Essays, poems, cartoons, artwork – it is the collective hope of the students, teachers, and others impacted by the tragedy, edited by Ms. Sarah Lerner, an English teacher who watched events unfold from an uncomfortably close perspective. The collection is intimate and gorgeous; one that will help us not just pinpoint the moment the revolution was born, but also reflect on our own losses as well as love those still around us.
ParklandParkland: Birth of a Movement was written by the same journalist who penned the go-to book about the school shooting at Columbine, giving him a unique perspective for his newest project. Whereas Columbine ushered in a horrifically new era and kind of mass shooting, you can’t help but feel that Parkland might usher in the answer for the same. The reason you feel that way is because of the hope these students embody, as the world has borne witness, but also a mighty, present kind of activism MSD students have rolled out with a roaring battlecry: NEVER AGAIN. If you think 400 pages of politics and activism sounds a bit thick, you haven’t read anything by Cullen; he captures the day-to-day – sometimes moment-to-moment – activities of the students and their families so closely, intimately, powerfully that you feel the wind of the carousel as it whips you around. How many times after a school shooting have you thought Stop this ride, I want to get off? Parkland convinces you these kids are going to show us how. 5 out of 5 stars; highly recommend as paired reading.

TheSuspectThe Suspect, by Fiona Barton (2019, Berkley Books, 416 pages, hardcover). I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for myself. So many good books were published in the beginning of January by authors I’ve come to love and rely on. Fiona Barton was one. I stumbled upon her debut, The Widow, at the library. I had no idea it was her first book. It’s your basic psychological thriller: the story is set up, you get hooked, there are twists and turns, and then BAM! the surprise ending. There are bad ones, and then there are good ones. Barton wrote very good ones. Maybe not Gone Girl good, her books are a little formulaic, but good enough to keep me guessing. I love the way the point-of-view shifts, and the way that even I, after alllll these books I’ve read in my life, can’t guess the big reveal. Ooh, and also that while the books are all linked through the reporter, Kate Winters, each book is truly a stand-alone. (I’m not kidding; there was such a gap between when I read the first book and the second that I forgot Kate had been in both til halfway through!) At least, that’s how the first two were. The third one – The Suspect – was set up the same way. Only this time Kate’s son is the title character, unfortunately. The dynamic is shifted a bit, and that was a bit muddy. I found it a bit confusing, along with all of the pov shifts that I normally love. And there was something about the story just I just couldn’t hook into. Normally I race through Barton’s books – that’s why I finally just bought the third one. This time, of course because I bought the hardcover, it failed to catch me. I kept checking the page count and found I was reading fewer and fewer pages each time I sat down. I finished it in the end, but I was very disappointed. Even the big reveal was a bit dodgy and meh. So. Would I recommend? Maybe not this book. But I’m definitely still watching for the next in the series. Barton’s allowed the sophomore slump…even if it took a bit to catch her. I have hope. 2 1/2 of 5 stars.

So there you go – the books themselves are all over the place, from Cali, to Florida, to D.C. and across America, to London, and Thailand. But somehow we’ve all centered around crime. Crazy, huh? Reading is magical. And full of hope.

Book reviews: The ones without any hearts or snoogly faces.

February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s! Or not. There’s no snoogle bunnies or flying babies with harpsichords hanging out at my house today. On the other hand, I did get the girls very nice sterling silver necklaces with their initial on it. Ooh, and chocolates. But enough of that mushy stuff, let’s get on to the books.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, by Ottessa Moshfegh (2018, Penguin, 289 pages, library loan). I was a huge fan of Moshfegh’s debut Eileen. Her way to get inside a woman’s head and transform all of her onto a page, the living, breathing, mushy, uncomfortable bits – it was amazing. Rest and Relaxation does the same thing, only Moshfegh pYearOfRestAndRelaxationulls everything inside and slows it way. the f*ck. down. Slower. No! Even slower. Moshfegh shines a mothereffing brilliant bright spotlight onto her main character’s addiction to sleeping pills and benzos (and just about everything else, really) as a way of shining the light clear through her to society’s addiction to portraying women’s need to be perfect, and their addiction to society’s depictions of them. Yeah, it was just that philosophical. The way Woman is put up as a commodity is gobsmacking. We consume beauty products, wellness products, organizational gimmicks, magazines, commercials – wait, that’s it. Commercialization and consumerism. We’re addicted to the way they constantly pitch themselves at women. So Moshfegh fed them to her narrator and gave her a year off from work and a nice, dark apartment in New York in order to slow everything down to the most microscopic moments so we could see their effects on the narrator, her relationship with her best friend Reva (that’s a whole different bottle of Whoa Things Aren’t Right Here), and with her kinda sketchy Wall Street boyfriend. Moshfegh’s brilliance shines in both microscopic and macroscopic ways. Pretty much I want to give her Netflix and Sandra Bullock and ask her to do a story of my last five years and see how rich she makes me. If you guys are into Lit Fic, and you’re not in love with Moshfegh, you need to change that situation right the flip now. (4 of 5 very dark stars.)

The Golden State, by Lydia Kiesling (2018, MCD, 304 pages, digital library loan). This was a book I read for the Tournament of Books, and most probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise. Daphne is, essentially, a single mom. Her husband was forced back to his country of origin, Turkey, because of immigration issues. The forced GoldenStatereturn has put an enormous financial and emotional strain on Daphne, who then leaves her pretty good job (even though it, too, was crushing Daphne), takes her toddler, Honey, and heads for the hills. Literally – Daphne has a trailer home in the desert where she can collect herself. Only Daphne finds herself embroiled in one mess after another in what was supposed to be her calm new life. And see that’s where I would have abandoned ship – I don’t do deserts. They don’t appeal to me, even in the fictional realm where the analogies practically feed and water themselves. But Kiesling’s strong hold on language pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I wanted to know what happened to Daphne. I cared, even after just a page or two. That’s not so easy to do. Golden State offers sharp insight into big, human problems in one tiny 10-day window. I predict it’s the next big book club story once paperbacks hit the shelves. (3 of 5 stars.)

The House of Broken Angels, by Luis Alberto Urrea (2018, Little, Brown & Co., 336 pages, digital library loan). This might be my favorite to win the Tournament of Books. The ToB loves big, sweeping generational dramas, and you can’t help but fall in love with the Mexican- (not Mexi-can’t, as Big Angel would say) American de la Cruz familia. Big Angel, who rules the roost, is dying, and don’t you know his own mama steals his spotlight. His family gathers for a weekend of mourning, giving us an opportunity to peek in on everyone and watch Big Angel’s thoughts about hiHouseOfBrokenAngelss family slosh and spill about. Urrea has such a genius for pinning how big families really work, fighting over bathrooms and grumbling from the mouth but not the heart. I wanted to quote every single line in my book journal – as soon as the paperback hits, I’ll be underlining and highlighting like a college frosh. I had to laugh at Broken Angels, though – there are quotation marks, but no paragraphs! It because Big Angel’s importance and separation from his family is running out and getting all smooshed. Urrea’s wording and phrasing is gorgeous, like I said. All grown-up and plain, but evocative. I love the dual citizenry of the de la Cruz familiar rolled into one language, not in a YaYa way, but the way it truly would be spoken at home, spilling in and out of Spanish and English in the middle of sentences. Urrea perfectly captures family life, squished and compressed, but chock fulla love. Seriously, you guys: I’m in love. (5 out of 5 stars.)

That’s it for this week. My review for Darius the Great Is Not Okay will have to wait for next week. Til then, send me your recommendations on what I should read next once I finish the ToB shortlist!

Book Reviews: The ones with separation because the world died and total immersion in your own little world.

February 7, 2019

That’s a much better title than, Book Reviews: The ones with hardly anything to say. because that was straight up what I typed at first. No, really, it was our working title for a good paragraph until I realized that was a little much.

But… It’s still true.

It was a slow reading week for me. Just two books. I slept for most of this past weekend – still working on getting my anti-insomnia meds just right – and I spent a lot of time reading a book by an author I usually devour, but this thriller just isn’t thrilling. I like when the main character is a reporter outside the story, not so much in it. Anyway. You’ll hear more about The Suspect next week. For this week, we have…

SeveranceSeverance, Ling Ma (2018, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 304 pages, library loan). Severance was starred in my Little Black Book since I penned it in. It’s a The Stand plot-alike, with the world decimated by illness after getting sick from some mystery illness. See? Sounds great, right? Except while the story opens on the office where our main character (a 20-something coughMillenial Chinese daughter of immigrant parents who is delightfully awkward and dedicated to her job despite loathing it) is in the middle of an office scene, a problem that our MC describes in painstaking detail. [I have to add, too, that Severance sounds at times like it’s narrated by Velma from Scooby Doo and at times like Meg Ryan’s typewriter-loving boyfriend in You’ve Got Mail.] Rather than wrapping up the office-y bits, the story stalls there. Rather than let the office bits give us a basis for who our characters are and inform their later choices while sojourning from their origin to the meeting point after the apocalypse, Ma chooses to flip the drill. The apocalypse informs the office novel. She jumps between scenes from the office, and scenes from the journey, which I found terribly confusing, trying to get my bearings. The settings were obviously easy to figure out, but the characters, and where in the MC’s growth, and WHAT was going on – all confusing. Exacerbated by the fact that there were no quotation marks – a problem half my books from last week had too. Ugh. Sooooo, I’d say overall I liked Severance okay, and the idea to flip the script was different and cool, it just wasn’t the book I was trippin’ over myself with excitement to read. 3 of 5 stars.

DictionaryAnimalLanguagesThe Dictionary of Animal Languages, by Heidi Sopinka (2018, Scribe, 320 pages, digital library loan). This was another Tournament of Books selection, and honestly another book I only would have read because of that contest. It is gorgeously written, the language is like the world’s most comfortable bed you can sink into, surrounded by pillows and down comforters in blues and greys. Lush, but overcast in tone. That’s the best way I can describe this book: I could tell it was expertly done, that the quality was top shelf…it just wasn’t for me. It should have been – I love war stories, lives interrupted or formed in the cracks of what must be and what is happening all around them in WWI and WWII Europe. It’s fascinating! So this should have been a book for. Perhaps it was the wrong time. I just couldn’t engage, skimming and surface reading, never connecting with any of the characters or plot points. I didn’t care about older Ivory, out there in Siberia by herself (well, with Skeet), so I couldn’t care about her earlier Ya-Ya life. Or how she could possibly have a grandchild without a child of her own. I have no idea how to rate it. 2 out of 5 because a story should grab you? or 4 out of 5 because the writing was gorgeous and I think I picked a bad time to read it? Gah. It gets both. I can’t even compromise on 3 of 5 because that jumps it in the middle without explanation.

What is everyone else reading? I mentioned I’m halfway through The Suspect by Fiona Barton (that I pre-ordered for Christmas). I’m reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by the crazy-talented Otessa Moshfegh. And I have a riot of books I bought – Becoming (technically a gift), The Bear and the Nightinggale (a re-read so I can read the rest of the series), On the Come Up (gooooooo! Angie Harris!!!!!!!), CJ Tudor’s follow-up horror novel, and all. the. library books! Ugggggh, I need to not be sleepy so I can read!! Activate Reader Superpowers!

The reading hour idea that wasn’t even mine.

February 6, 2019

Maybe you do or maybe you don’t know, but the past couple of years, Reading Hour at my house has been met with some boos.

What is Reading Hour, you may ask?

Reading Hour was the idea I started when the girls were really little – 3 and 5 maybe? because I think think that’s how old they were when I started Harry Potter – during which I would (you’ll never guess) read to the girls for thirty minutes. Aaaah, see? tricked you there! The girls would sit on the floor, chair, me, whatever’s available, and I read to them for 30 minutes. There were not phones to distract them (or me) and no laptops, etc. They had to listen.

We’ve read some amazing books over the years – the entire Harry Potter series, Bunnicula, Little House on the Prairie, Ready Player One, The Hate U Give… I’m sure tehre are so many more. There are nights they complained, but they got through it. And as for me – that mad magical thirty minutes was what I lived for!

The past year or two, the complaints have skyrocketed. We fell out of practice, and when I remembered, the girls didn’t want to be bothered. And dang they’re vocal. It wasn’t a battle I wanted to die fighting for, so I gave it up.

Until I got my clarity back.

The girls were still adamant about not wanting to have to listen to a book for thirty minutes. I was adamant that they needed to. They might not know it, but we are desperate for some family time. Game night and pizza on Friday nights is one thing. Coming together to read for just 30 minutes a night – that’s something else altogether. It was important to me. We were at an impasse I was about to use my veto on.

Until The Flu-ish One resolved the issue. We were sitting at the doc-in-the-box. She was thinking; I was busy fuming over how long they were making us wait. Two hours in the waiting room, an hour in her room before the doctor saw her… I needed to recenter myself while still rather stuck with The Flu-One.

And then Gracie spoke.

(Well…whispered. Because: throat)

“What if instead of reading one book, we all ready our own books?” she asked.

“How would I know everyone was really reading?” I asked, “instead of getting distracted by socks, fiddly pages, and dust motes.” cough:Bee Hey, I was just thinking what we were alllll thinking!

“You could ask us to read a sentence after some time had passed and see if we had really turned pages,” Gracie added.

Hmmm. She had something there. If I did sentence checks every so often, I could check in to make sure the girls were reading their books. And it wouldn’t matter how slow or fast someone read, they could all go at their own paces, so long as they were making progress and not messing around. At the end of our 30 minutes, we could all give a summary of what we read. That way, we would have the benefit of all the books! It might not be the same as making the girls read(hear) stories I absolutely needed them to read and knew they wouldn’t get to on their own, but it was a good compromise.

Sunday night, I pitched the idea for our new and improved Reading Hour. It went over REALLY, really well! Bee asked, “Do graphic novels count?” worried, I’m sure, that her books wouldn’t be “approved.” “Of course!,” I told her. “When have I ever not let you read graphic novels?” She beamed. “Even audiobooks!” I added. “…so long as you don’t fall asleep!” Everyone laughed.

So it sounds like we’re all in agreement! As soon as The Flu-ish One gets over herself, we’ll acquire our books and begin. NEW ADVENTURES! Let’s gooooooooo!

Thursday Recaps with allll the ‘Tournament of Books’ books.

January 31, 2019

Good morning, starshines! Today is Thursday (right?), and you know what that means… book reviews!

Since I’m catching up still, and I haven’t posted on Thursday since the new year has started, I have quite a few books to choose from. 17 books in fact! (I read double that number last year, but let’s cut me a break this month, considering what I had going on. Mkay?) I’ll just grab a couple of them and see how this goes…

A Very Large Expanse of Sea, by Tehereh Mafi (2018, HarperTeen, 320 pages, Hardcover library loan). I know Ms. Mafi from reading her bestselling novel Shatter Me, which seems to have started a well-to-do series. I expect a series soon and I am here for that!!! For those who haven’t read it, briefly, Shatter Me is a dystopian horror/romance in the same vein of Divergent and Hunger Games. It was fantastic! When the plot felt a little shaky, Mafi’s voice was there to rescue it, strong enough to carry everything asked of it. Given that, I was curious how Mafi would handle teen romance. Expanse is about Shirin, a bright, sarcastic, nearly-mute, Iranian, Muslim girl whose family moves constantly, so Shirin never puts down any roots or tries to talk to anyone at school. It would be pointless. Until this year. It’s just after 9/11, Shirin’s having to navigate alllll the hate that – if you remember – was even more terrifying and devastating than ever before. Shirin and her brother also start a breakdancing club at school. I loved that Mafi was breaking stereotypes by letting a strong female lead enjoy an activity we typically see associated with men. Mafi drew on her past experiences to do so, and I loved the social commentary bit…but the actual talking about breakdancing was a little boring for me. It either needed to be the entire focal point of the book and just go there, or else the technical aspects needed to be trimmed. Otherwise, a very strong showing. 4 of 5 stars.

Call Me Zebra, by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (2018, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 304 pages, Digital, Tournament of Books finalist). Ohhhhh I so much don’t even want to talk about this book. Zebra has lost every around her, but that doesn’t matter anyway (hmpf!) because she’s a booklovin’ atheist anarchist on a mission to retrace the journey from Iran to the states that she and her dad took waaaaaay back in her childhood. (Pretty hand, huh?)  Dude = there was so much philosophical bullsheep that I couldn’t even barely make it halfway. This book was WAYYYY NIOT my cuppa. So I’m putting that out there. 2 of 5 stars – I could tell there were flashes of brilliance (probably more than a few) even if it wasn’t my thing.

My Sister the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite (2018, Doubleday, 226 pages, Hardcover library loan, Tournament of Books finalist). This book is hot, hot, hot right now and I’m so glad it made the cut for the ToB, even if it’s as this year’s Hot YA Book That Will Make Us All Think. My Sister is about two sisters, Korede (our narrator) and Ayoola, the title character. Korede feels like she’s the smart, ugly sister who is constantly bailing out her beautiful, dumb sister – I mean, she has had to help her sister cleanup after quite a few messes. Even though My Sister is a slim book, it packs a wallop, and I thoroughly enjoyed unpacking everything Braithwaite had to say about sisters – these two, and others. I mean, look at the title – even there, one can’t exist without the other: Korede is unnamed, only seen because she’s claiming her sister, but she gives her sister the big lights as subject and object. It’s glorious! The rest of the book is like that, quick little jabs in short chapters you’ll swallow whole – all the way to the sucker punch ending! 4 of 5 stars.

Census, by Jesse Ball (2018, Echo, 241 pages, Digital loan, Tournament of Books finalist). I have to be straight with you: I hate Jesse Ball. I hate him so much that I thought I would need to leave this book for last – that kind of hatred and judging the book by its author. But let me tell you this, too – I’m glad I read it, Census, because it was actually a really good book! It tells the story of a father who has found out he is dying. His wife has already passed. And he has a son he loves fiercely, a son with Down Syndrome. Clearly the only answer is to help the government take roll call. Adventures throughout England’s gorgeous countryside ensue, and if you don’t need tissues, knowing how everything will wrap up, well…you have a sterner constitution than I.  3 of 5 stars.

That’s all for this week! Have you read any other Tournament of Books finalists? I’ve also read The Parking Lot Attendant (3 1/2 of 5 stars) A Terrible Country (2 of 5 stars), and America Is Not the Heart (2 of 5 stars). I’m still looking for that one book… Every year the ToB gives me one book that surprises me and I fall in lurrrve!!! That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m patient. (Crazy idea, I know.) Give me your recs!

Five for Friday.

January 25, 2019

It’s Five for Friday time! Gracious, it’s been so long since I’ve done one that it’s a little intimidating. I don’t know know how to throw it together! Everything I can think of sounds like a full post in and of itself! Let’s just see…

1. The tone of my entire day has been set, thank you very much. Or maybe I should say: I’ve been saved from myself. See, last night I was running around losing my mother-lovin’ mind because I couldn’t find my purse. I needed it to pay the internet bill, which certainly explained why the kiddos weren’t out in the living room and were in bed before 9:30 p.m. No internet, no Netflix. No Netflix, no reason to stay up. (Which: same. Guess why I needed the Internet to begin with, hmm?) I called my sister, scared Hannah when she called – I was a wreck. I determined I must have left it at work. Or, at least, I hoped so. And then I started hoping the cleaning people wouldn’t take it. Thankfully, my ninja purse is skinny and black and hid against the side of my desk! Well, that or we have honest cleaning people. In any case – huzzah! Purse found! Day: commence!

2. Today after therapy there’s a ceremony where other people can come pick up service awards and I’m rather looking forward to it. It’s my first one (it’s monthly) and I’m not quite sure how this is going to work, but it will be fun. Everyone who is affiliated is allowed to attend, and I’m friends with a lot of my fellow looney-tooners. Heh. In any case, it’s during work and it will bust me out for a little while.

3. Ooh! I have a post I need to write for you about my first new StitchFix adventure! It’s my reward for pulling my shit together when no one thought I could do it. Not only do I get to blow a big raspberry in my doubters’ faces, I get pretty clothes, too! (Point of fact: today the sweater and jeans I’m wearing came from past Fixes!) I know I’m keeping a blouse and necklace. I need to remember to return the rest!

4. Is anyone participating in the Tournament of Books this year? I’ve only read 4 of the 18 books on the list – and 2 of those were after I checked out who the contenders were this week! I’m in the middle of a fifth book, My Sister, the Serial Killer, this year’s hot YA contender. It’s okay, I guess. I’m not sold on any of them – except There There. That read is steamin’ hot! Blows you right away kinda good! It’s my favorite to win right now. If I could get my act together, I could bring back Thursday reviews and let you guys know what I’m reading. Come to think of it, I need to do a 2018 Year-End Review still, too. Dang, my to-do list is long!

5. Does anyone else do this – I have a pile of 20 books from two different libraries, I got more than a few books for Christmas (Becoming!! Michelle, I am here for you, sister! YES!!), and so what do I do? …Go right out and buy a stack of books for myself. Offff course I do. I ordered paperback copies of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden because I never owned a copy of The Bear and I want to re-read it before I start The Girl. I bought Fiona Barton’s The Suspect, which just came out this week, because I always tear through her books! Even if I don’t keep it, I know it will get good resale value. I pre-ordered C.J. Tudor’s The Hiding Place, which comes out next week, because I so very much loved her debut The Chalk Man. It was so Stephen King-ish! Oh! And Angie Thomas’s book On the Come Up comes out in two weeks! SQUEEEEEEE!!!! I have been looking forward to that book from the very minute I finished The Hate U Give! Man, I have a lot of good books to read!

On that happy note, I’m signing off for the week! Have a fabulous Friday, don’t lose things like purses or debit cards (or your sanity), and have lots of happy adventures this weekend!


M-o-o-n. That spells Super Blood Moon.

January 21, 2019

It was quite a night. Christmas finally exploded in my house. There was some drama right after my meeting. I had approximately twelve heart attacks during just the end of the Patriots-Chiefs game. We went to the Superbowl, and…


…this happened.

The moon really did turn red!

While I’m reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower 4: Wizard and Glass.

(In which blood red moons are called demon moons and feature rather prominently, watching over the scenes in which characters meet their ends.)

(Untimely ends.)

I had no idea moons really did that in real life! Like, REALLY really!

So I’m going to cling to my house filled with laughter and how special their shrieking, delighted faces was, not the creepy, lovely moon.

But if you’d like…



…Charyou tree.

She’s creating.

August 11, 2018

One of the diversions in which I’ve been immersing myself to help keep away the ghosties is crafting. Book crafting. Ornament crafting. Baby blanket crafting. It’s all good!

And plus I get to rewatch all of Orange Is the New Black before I dive into Season 6. Yassss!

One of the items I’m onto right now is creating a bunch of framed pages with a phrase to pop out and catch your interest. I can pre-make a bunch of pages and then offer choices in frames. That way I can cut back on storage, customize my products, and give my Etsy peeps what they want!

I only have a limited number of books available to craft from, and I need to get my hands on a copy of Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – I want to do a frame of “I love you more than pie.” Because how sweet is that?!

As far as structure, I’m thinking of something like this:



You like? I’m taking orders. And ideas for price points. Basically I’m just having a lot of fun with my Saturday nights. Everyone be jealous!! Ha!

A little bit of why.

July 10, 2018

To know me is to really, really know that reading is my jam. At the moment, I’m devouring Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath. Right?! Right.

It’s life-changingly, gorgeously, unabashedly mine in all possible ways.

So there’s this quote I’ve read about 47 times in a row that goes something like,

Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mother’s diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the poems your friends leave in your locker. Read books about your body written by people who have bodies like yours. Read everything that supports your growth as a vibrant, rebel girl human. Read because you’re tired of secrets. ~Raging Flower

And I’m just like: yes. YES. This is just a little bit of why. It’s why I read and why I write.

Because, to me, it’s as essential as breathing.