Tally Monday- February 26, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  2. Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan
  3. The Heart of Wicca by Ellen Cannon Reed
  4. Zine by Pagan Kennedy


  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  2. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
  3. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton


  1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke

Currently Reading:  “The Crazies” by Maud Streep, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, United We Spy by Ally Carter, Marbles by Ellen Forney, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, Simple Wicca by Michele Morgan, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, The Best Loved Poems of the American People

Again, as crazy as my reading life has been this year, I have really enjoyed it.  I am amazed at how much my brain can handle sometimes.  I mean, I’ll forget something you told me ten minutes ago but I have no problem telling you exactly what is happening in all of the books I’m reading right now.  There’s, in order, fake shoot outs, a young knight who was treated poorly when he was the charge of Sir Key, a couple of spy kids arguing with their parents about having to go back to school when there is so much else to do, a depression, a discussion of women making writing suit their lives instead of using the same forms as men, just the intro (lol), still some shorts about love, listening to my inner silence, focusing on spending 10 minutes a day on on the thing I feel most lacking in my life, and a “story poem” that so far is about feeding paupers on Christmas Day.

See?  I’ve got it!

Only, I’ve been feeling a little suffocated by my inability to find good reading time lately.  We’ll use today as an example.  When I set out this morning, I told myself that I was going to read through one short story and the rest of Marbles today and MAYBE a second short story if I got to it.  It’s not a lot.  It’s one or two short stories and a graphic novel that I am already half way through.  But already I have been putting other things first.  This morning I rushed to get ready and do my usual morning things AND fold the laundry that I just finished washing this morning.  At work, I filled my planner and then thought of three more things to add.  When I get home, I’ll play with LD and eat dinner and HOPE that I get a chance to read tonight.  Or maybe Hubby will put on a show I want to watch or maybe he’ll ask me to play a game.

And part of this is that I have been trying to be a little easier on myself.  I know that I put a lot of pressure on myself to GET THROUGH THINGS and GET THINGS DONE.  I have this feeling through most days of rushed, cramped worry.  My stomach is tight and wiggly.  I’m unable to catch my breath.  And it’s all ME.  It’s something I have to improve because I 100% think that stress is the cause of one whole side of my family’s illnesses and deaths.  I don’t need the stress and I need to figure out how to manage it.

A large part of managing my stress is doing things that I enjoy and a lot of the time that means reading but something it means watching the whole of Everything Sucks on Netflix on a Sunday.  Sometimes it means playing a game with my husband.  Sometimes it means reminding myself that I love to read and it makes me feel better.

For now, for this week, my goal is to mess around on my phone less when I should be reading and to take my melatonin right before bed so that I get some reading time in after a lay down instead of just dying.

Little things!

Always be reading, my friends!


Some Thinking

Boy, it has been a long time since I have done a random post here about my personal life, but I have had very little sleep and that means that I have been thinking and I want to share what I have been thinking about.

Recently I was reminded to listen.  In my life, I have a tendency to shut down my intuition and just plow into whatever is in front of me without a second thought.  But I also know that I have been living wrong.

I want to make changes.  I have already started to make changes.

I am working on my book and I am taking a much more purposeful approach to it.  I am not thinking about what will happen if I don’t succeed.  Instead I am thinking about persistence.

I have been asking myself, “How do you measure a life?”

I thought about how I wanted my life to look in five years, and worked backwards from that to plan how to get what I want.

Then I took off like a whirling dervish, doing it all until I couldn’t anymore.  And then I dropped.

So, here is my current thinking.  I am going to slow down and focus on a couple of big things at a time.  Because I am working on a lot of big things.

Right now:  Write and don’t smoke.

I’m not saying that I should spend all of my money and drink every night and eat all of the food. (I had been dieting, cutting back on drinking, trying to stop smoking, writing, budgeting, trying to pay things off, barely keeping a lid on completely redoing my house.)  I am also not saying that I am going to stop my little things that I do every day (meditation and focusing on a year of LESS).  I am saying that primary goals are working on my book and not smoking.  Maybe that means I need to eat some Doritos to get through but I’m not beating myself up over it.

And really, that’s it.  There is a part of me that will always remember someone I loved and trusted turning to me and telling me that I was not hard on myself.  But I don’t want to be hard on myself.  I love myself and I want to do good things and have a good life and feel good.

Now it is out there in the world.  That is the first step.

Tally Monday- February 19, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Marbles by Ellen Forney
  2. The Graphic Canon, vol 1 edited by Russ Kick
  3. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  4. Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven


None, but not for lack of trying.


  1. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Reading: My own novel, The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, United We Spy by Ally Carter, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf, Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke, Chicken Soup for the SoulSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman, and The Bst Loved Poems of the American People

I have been a bit manic for a while now.  Nearly a week, which is a long time for me.  I was wondering this morning if it really was mania or if things had just clicked.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about things lately and I’ve figured some things out.  I feel really good, like I am on the right path and making progress and all of that.  But I know that I’m manic too because of two things:  First, I cannot get myself to settle down and focus on one thing for the life of me.  Second, books I’ve requested have started rolling in.

It should have been a sign when I decided last week that I was going to read all of Jane Austen and then after I talked myself down from that I we hell bent on rereading all of Joe Meno.  At least I’ve managed to control myself a little.

Last week I focused on reading my own novel.  I’ve been working on it for years but have never really managed to edit it.  Whenever it was time to edit, I would do that thing I do where I come up with a ton of other things that have to be done Right Now because I tell myself that I don’t know what I’m doing.  And that’s absolutely correct.  I DON’T know what I’m doing but I’m never going to know if I don’t try.  So, armed with Chuck Wendig’s advice on editing from his blog, I have undertaken the great re-read.

And, you know, it’s better than I thought.  Some of it is actually, like, really good.

I feel good about that.  I am a little disappointed that I haven’t finished the reread yet.  I started a week ago and I made really good time at first but then I got busy with some other things for work and I pretty much ran full out for the second half of last week while accomplishing very little.  “I’ll finish reading it this weekend,” I told myself.  Saturday I went out with Hubby and told myself that I was taking a day off because I needed it.  Sunday I was frustratingly out of sorts, unable to finish one simple task and too distracted to focus on anything.  Finally, last night I sat down with it and read 10%.

I had a talk with myself, see.  Right now the novel is the most important thing.  I can finish reading it if I just make it my top priority.  So, the laundry will have to wait and the house will have to wait.  Right now I need to read my novel and love my family and take care of myself.  If I focus on those three things, I’ll be alright.

For now, the plan is to finish the re-read and then let it sit for a week so I can process.  Then it’s back to editing which will have to take a front seat.  I may not read as much this year but I am doing something and that something is very important to me.

You guys have to keep your reading up for me, okay?  I’ll join you again soon.  Always be reading, my friends!


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I’m going to start off right away by saying that I’m kind of iffy about this book, thus the three star rating.  There were some things that I liked about this book and then there were some things that drove me up the f*cking wall.

If you have never read a self-help book before, if you thought that they were hokey and you only picked this one up because there’s a swear in the title, you might get a lot from this book.  There is a lot here and I was actually impressed with the number of sources at Manson pulls from.  He has personal experience, psychology, and philosophy all through the text and there are a lot of areas where I felt like he went deeper than he needed to, which is fine.  I also appreciated his look at values and I think that’s because another book that I was reading at the same time addressed values.  It’s an interesting way to look at things, I suppose.  Honestly, I cannot remember a book I’ve read that talked about values in the past few years.

Now, here’s my problem:  Manson says a number of times that he’s going to cut through the bullshit and this isn’t going to be like every other self-help book you’ve ever read.  Only, you know, it is.  Putting the same ideas into blunt language doesn’t make the ideas any different.  I also got to the point where the word “entitlement” made me see red.  There was a particular discussion about how thinking you’re better than everyone else and thinking you’re worse than everyone else are the same thing, a way to feel special, and that idea really rubbed me wrong too.  Also, sometimes he tries to be funny and it falls flat, like very flat.  He literally reeks of entitlement…

So, I kind of trashed this one but I didn’t mean to.  Again, it wasn’t bad and it got me fired up and motivated which is the reason I read things like this.  I have to give it credit for that.  Maybe it will do the same for you and maybe it will seem like brilliant, new ideas.

Tally Monday- February 12, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Practical Intuition by Laura Day




  1. Missed Conncetions by Sophie Blackall
  2. “Toby” by Mark Manson
  3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Reading: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter, The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights by James Knowles, Practical Intuition by Laura Day, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleChicken Soup for the SoulLetters to a Young Poet by Rilke, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Last night we watched hours of The Wire, which has been our recent obsession because we’re, like, a decade behind everyone else.  Just before Hubby turned it on, I looked at him and said, “I really just want to read right now.”  And I did.  Before dinner I had been attempting to get Little Dude to nap.  Usually we nap together on the weekends but I just wanted to read so I sat in bed with him laying against me and I read.  It worked for maybe 10 minutes while he had a bottle and then it was impossible.  Still, I had 12 pages left in a book and I was going to finish the thing, dammit.

We had an early dinner.  LD eventually took a short afternoon nap.  Hubby put on The Wire.  I let my daze out on it.  I had popcorn.  I put LD down for the night.  By that time, Hubby was dozing on the couch and I was thinking that I should turn the TV off.  Instead, I waited it out a little and watched as he maybe took in half of what was going on.  Finally, I got up and started my kettle, brushed my teeth, and got the coffee ready for this morning.  Hubby excused himself to bed.  I sat on the couch and finished those 12 pages, a mere 4 hours after I intended to.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy that time yesterday.  But, honestly, yesterday was a very strange day and none of it was terribly satisfying.  Not even the book I finished.

After finishing the book, I looked at my reading life for a second and felt the panic of having too much going on.  I’ve been arguing all year that reading so many different things at once has made me feel really good about my reading life.  But then I started picking at a book here (Chicken Soup) and picking at a book there (Letters to a Young Poet) and then I checked out a book that seemed really important to my current personal project (Practical Intuition) and suddenly, SUDDENYL!  it just feel like too much…

The problem with me is my need to consumer.  Books and shows and podcasts and all of the delicious things possible.  I want them all, regardless of time available.  I follow too many podcasts.  I want to watch too many shows (X-Files and Mad Men and Supernatural and The Wire and Desperate Housewives and more).  My head is always going in too many directions at once and there is always, always something else to do.

So, what do I do?  Do I rush through a couple of things and trim back?  And what about my sudden longing to just, you know, maybe take a break from King and read all of the Austen instead?  How do I make these decisions and how do I live with my choices and how do I make the time?

I’m sure that by next week I’ll be feeling different about the whole thing.  But right now I just feel overwhelmed.

Always be reading, my friends…  And today I start rereading my novel and taking notes…

Graphic Friday- Missed Connections by Sophie Blackall

This little book was waiting for me when I got in on Monday morning and by the time that my computer logged on I had read almost all of it.

Blackall discovered missed connections one day on her way home to Brooklyn from Manhattan.  She was used to mining for material, reading old letters and telegrams and other personal artifacts for inspiration, but here was an endless well of possibilities.  Blackall resolved to illustrate one a day and post them to a blog.  This book is a collection of some of those drawings.

This was an interesting read.  The joy of a missed connection is that they are usually short and sometimes they sum up huge emotions.  Blackall’s illustrations were sometimes funny (like the hairy swimmer or the man with the amazing mustache) and sometimes sweet.  Plus, I always like a peek into the lives of others, their shared bear costumes and moments of bashfulness.

All in all, this was a cute, fast read.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King

As with all King books, this took me a frustratingly long time to get through.  The worst part is that there is no real reason why.  I loved the book.  I loved it so much that when I finished reading it last week I wanted to keep it to myself for a while.  I wanted to think it over a bit before attempting to talk about it with anyone and then I wanted to be sure that I talked it over with the right person.  Approximately four hours after I finished it, I decided I was ready and over those four hours I had decided that I loved this book.

A plague is spreading across the world.  When women fall asleep, they develop cocoon-like growths over their bodies and woe to any man who tries to remove those growths.  A woman who is awakened from this magical slumber is likely to rip your throat out.

In Appalachia, the city of Dooling is about to be thrust into a battle that could mean the end of the world as we know it.  A strange woman, Evie, has appeared in a spectacular fashion, by putting a meth head’s head through a trailer wall.  Evie is arrested by Lila, the sheriff, and through the pulling of strings she is sent to the women’s prison where Lila’s husband, Clint, works as the “prison shrink.”  However, it doesn’t take long for someone to notice that Evie is the only woman in the world not effected by the sleeping sickness and Clint is smart enough to realize that there will be more than one desperate father/husband who will want to know why.

So, let’s break this down.  First, there were a lot of things in this book that reminded me of The Stand.  I didn’t mind that at all.  I mean, if you write as many books as King, you’re going to have some similarities popping up.  If you read enough Stephen King, you probably know that there are a lot of similarities in his books other than plot point.  As an example, I like to yell “Eyeball!” the first time one is mentioned in some gross way.  When describing a character to my husband, he said, “Sounds like a Stephen King character.”  Whatever.  If you like him, you like him, and he’s my favorite.

Second, let’s talk gender because that’s what this book is about.  Not all men are bad men.  We know that and I think that there are quite a few men in this book who are not “bad” guys.  There ARE some really shitty men who do really shitty things but that’s pretty true to life too.  There’s obviously one character who you just want to die the most unfortunate death ever throughout the whole damn book but there almost has to be.  It’s an interesting idea, though, to split the genders apart in an “end world” scenario and see what they do and I don’t think that either side is a very accurate portrayal of how that would be.  You know what it is, though?  It’s a book and it’s a book that is playing with some ideas.  If you want accuracy, go read a newspaper if you can find one and quit the fiction.

The more I thought about this book, the more I liked it and it was the kind of book that gave me a lot to think about.