Tally Monday- October 29, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  3. Giant Days: Extra Credit by John Alison
  4. Being Home by Gunilla Norris




  1. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter
  2. Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf
  3. “King of the Animals” by Josh Russell
  4. Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr

Reading Elevation by Stephen King, How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr, The Best Loved Poems of the American PeopleSimple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Honestly, I don’t know how to make time for reading right now.  Honestly, I don’t know how to make time for much of anything right now.

This weekend I am hosting my annual Halloween party and at present I haven’t carved pumpkins or cleaned and decorated the basement or even decided that I’m alright with my costume.  (It’s lame, a decision based purely on frugality.)  I have a list of things to do that I have been carrying around for over a week and the sad thing about it is that there are a number of things that I could knock out in less than 30 minutes if I just did them.

Yesterday I took a “day of rest” and turned off my habit tracking and my to do list.  I spent lots of time in bed and on the couch.  I snuggled and played with LD.  I watched pointless YouTube.  I made chorizo stuffed jalapenos.  It was wonderful but right now most of the things that I want to do are things that I can’t do with LD around.  I can’t play on my computer.  I can’t read.  I can’t even sit and watch TV.  I LOVE that my kiddo wants to spend so much time with me and he’s a ton of fun right now…  but when he goes to bed it’s like my brain jumps into hyper mode.  I waste so much time deciding what to do that sometimes I end up just going to bed because I’ve run out of time.

Audiobooks are saving my ass right now but listening to those means that I’m not listening to podcasts.  The same way that reading is so great and I love it but also there are a literal crap ton of shows and movies that I want to watch right now.

Tonight, I could go home and try to carve pumpkins while LD is awake or I could wait until he goes to bed.  I could finish up filling in those couple of holes in the wall so that I can paint over them tomorrow.  I could clean up the basement and dig out decorations.  I could color and watch TV.  I could read with a nice up of tea.  I could give up on trying to make it all balance and drink the rest of my beer from the weekend and just let my brain stop.

There are a lot of things vying for my time and vying for my brain space.  I have a hard time making decisions even though I know that MAKING THEM is the hard part.  After that it’s usually smooth sailing.

Still, I know enough to know when my reading is in dire straights.  For now I need to get one thing straight:  I’m most likely not going to read 50 pages of a book each day right now.  Would it hurt me to aim for 10?  This isn’t all or nothing, you know.

I did finish quite a bit this week! What to Say When You Talk to Yourself was a slooooow read for me but I took a lot from it.  I’m not planning on writing a review for it, as I don’t think I read it fast enough to write anything cohesive, but I am actively putting some of the concepts to work in my life.  I revisited Teen Witch, which I read 20 years ago, because it was my first book on Pagansim/Wicca and I wanted to kind of follow my own trail.  I realized that there are a lot of things I got from this book that I still use in my life even if I now find some of it to be, well, watered down and the tone to be a little condescending.  I imagine I ignored that tone the first time I read it.  “King of the Animals” was a One Story that Hubby left in his car for months and I just got and it was TERRIFYING.  It shouldn’t have been but it was and it gave me freaking nightmares.  Finally, Deep in the Valley was exactly the kind of book I was looking for when I asked for a “small town, contemporary romance full of quirky characters, not a lot of hot stuff, and not a lot of religion.”  It was downright readable and I super enjoyed it.

Not all is lost!  Let us have our books and read them too!


Tally Monday- October 22, 2018

Checked Out

  1. Family by Mical Ostow
  2. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  3. Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
  4. Nightingale by Amy Lukavics


  1. 14,000 Things to Be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer


  1. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Reading: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter (print), Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (audio), Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr (ebook), Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (nonfiction), The Best Loved Poems of the American People (poetry), Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach (morning), The Empowered Mama by Lia Druxman (monthly), and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (nightly)


There’s a lot going on in that reading, isn’t there?  But again I am finding myself feeling pretty content with it all.  I am about 40 pages away from finishing What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, having made myself actually read a bit this weekend, and I like it and plan on finishing it soon.  I’m close with my nonfiction and my ebook too.  Actually, I’ve been awake since 2:30 and I read two chapters in between trying to force myself to sleep and getting angry at myself for still being awake.

You’ve probably noticed that my audiobook hiatus was short lived.  I realized a couple of weeks ago that audiobooks could really help me to get through my big ass fall reading list and I now have something like five out of the 26 books on hold on Overdrive.  The key here is to have the digital audiobook instead of the disks.  That way I can listen anywhere, not just in my car.  I am still listening to Awesome with Alison when I don’t have an audiobook or when I need a pick-me-up.  I just started Dark Places this morning and I can already see Gillian Flynn’s twisted mind at work.  That woman is scary and a genius.

Ever since I made my list for winter, I’ve been feeling the real need to make a push with my reading.  I also keep thinking of MORE books that I’ve “really been meaning to get to,” like Gone with the Wind and Emily of New Moon and Anna Karenina and Ethan Frome.  I don’t usually plot out my reading like this.  I gave up TBR lists right before I had Little Dude and was happy living mostly without one for a while.  Now I can see that this purposeful reading might actually help me out.  Maybe I’ll get to more that I’ve been meaning to get to.  Maybe I’ll end up with a convoluted and complicated plan that will end up ditched for all of the books I can’t stop myself from checking out.  Only time will tell.

Nanowrimo is upon us.  I’ve often called this the most wonderful time of the year.  I love seeing what my brain can crank out when I’m writing more than a page at a time.  Last year was the first year that I didn’t participate since, I kid you not, 2004 and it felt terrible being on the sidelines.  I knew that it was too much with the kiddo in tow.  I don’t want to live this year like that.  I want to seize the day!  I want to crank out one of those projects that has been nipping away at the back of my head for a while.  I just don’t know which one.

So, here’s the outline for the rest of the year:  Reading, writing, and getting my health in order.  It’s a lot but I have never shied away from a challenge… Except Nanowrimo last year and I sorely regret it.

Read, my pretties!  Have a great week!

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

I cannot lie.  I am completely in for Hygge now.  I don’t know what possessed me to check this book out months ago, in the blazing summer heat that I love, but I did.  Now that it’s fall and I finally got around to it, I’m in.  I listened to the audiobook, which was a super short 3.5 hours, and so I got the pronunciation down (I think) and now I pretty much walk around my house chanting, “Hygge!  Hygge!”

Basically, Hygge seems to me to be a lot about making things nice.  Just nice.  Cozy.  Good smelling.  Friendly.  Nice.  And, to be honest, I think that I could really use some nice right now.

While I checked this book out, I have put it on “to be purchased” list.  It includes lists, recipes, ideas, the sort of thing that I can see myself referring back to now and then.  The basic concept is simple enough.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that you’ll see a number of reviews that talk about candles.  There is a lot of talk about candles.  I’m not currently in a position to light many candles, as I have a toddler who likes anything he’s not supposed to have, but I don’t feel put off by that.  Hygge socks?  That’s a thing.  I HATE socks but I don’t feel put off by that.  Instead I feel inspired to make these coming winter months and every day before them a little more homey and nice.

I liked this one a lot.

Planning My Winter Reading (a Little Early)

My stack of fall books is sitting on the corner of my desk.  I have only completed 2 out of 26 of those fall books.  I may have *accidentally* ordered some books through the library again.  Look, accidents happen, okay?

But today I started thinking about what I want to read this winter.

The idea just kind of struck me today.  I feel like there are a handful of books that I haven’t read but have always wanted to.  These are the books that I have to explain “I’ve been meaning to get around to” whenever someone asks me about them but also books that I’ve just been wanting to read.  I made a list of 10 that I will base my winter reading off of.

  1. The Hobbit
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. The Two Towers
  4. The Return of the King- Why is it that suddenly EVERYONE loves The Lord of the Rings?  I mean, I know that Tolkien has been a thing for a long time but I feel like I am surrounded by hard core fans lately.  I will indulge them.  Or try to.  Again.
  5. Little Women– The only reread on this list!  Woot!  I’ve been thinking a lot about this book lately and a friend said she would like to read it too if I could hold off a bit.  No problems there!
  6. Rebecca– I think that I have spent two years picking this book up and putting down with a dramatic, “I have too many books to read!”
  7. The Group– Honestly, I just want a big, fat book and this one keeps popping up.
  8. The Valley of the Dolls– I started this one years ago and put it aside because of college.  It’s been that long.
  9. Wuthering Heights– At this point, I should know the story well enough that I don’t need to read it.  This is one of those books that everyone just assumes that I’ve read.  I’d like to, you know, actually read it.
  10. The Count of Monte Cristo– Real talk.  A while ago Hubby and I were at a party and a friend of a friend kept making very snooty proclamations.  I like to put on a fake accent as I recount it.  “Merlot is simply the only wine I’ll buy.”  “I HATE ales and simply refuse to drink them.”  “Dumas is simply the BEST author.  If you haven’t read The Count of Monte Cristo I don’t believe that you can even call yourself a reader.”  Seriously.  When it was suggested to me as a great follow-up to War and Peace, I decided to give it another shot… and haven’t.

For now, I am working on my self-help book, chipping away at my e-book, and killing it with the Hygge book.

Tally Monday- October 15, 2018

Checked Out

  1. 1 Year, 100 Pounds by Whitney Halcombe


  1. Dark Corners collection
  2. Be the Parent by Kendra Smiley


  1. Giant Days, vol 8 by John Allison

Reading What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter (print), The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (audio), Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr (ebook), Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf (nonfiction), Bee and Puppycat by Natasha Allegri (comic), Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, and The Empowered Mama by Lisa Druxman

Last week I started listening to the Awesome with Alison (and Eric Too!) podcast and I have since been through 15 episodes.  I am LOVING it.  I’ve been feeling kind of down for a while now.  I would say that I have actually been depressed probably since about May.  Of course, I’ve had my up spikes (like when I read The Secret) but when I look back over the summer it feels like a big, dark fog.  I don’t remember a lot of it.  I don’t know what happened to it.  I spent most of it feeling like I needed to change.  I needed to stop smoking and stop drinking and stop eating so much and stop being so stressed out and stop being nasty to people and because I wasn’t stopping any of those things I was feeling completely worthless.  “What the fuck is wrong with me?” I would lament, only to feel so defeated that I would repeat these behaviors over and over again.

Awesome with Alison really did set a kind of fire under my ass, though.  She’s so positive and happy and bubbly that I started feeling positive and happy and bubbly.  Each episode is like a little self-help nugget and a little boost of vitamin c to my attitude.  Thursday I listened to her episode about losing weight and I have tracked my calories and stayed in range every day since.  I know how to lose weight.  I didn’t need the help.  But she suggested something that made everything click.  Why do I overeat?  Easy, I overeat because I feel like I deserve to for working so hard and trying so hard all of the time, but I don’t feel like I deserve the things that I actually need to feel better: a break and some quiet and some time.

I have promised to give myself some time.  This week is about books and people, people and books.  This week I make time to sit quietly by myself if I need it.  This week I give myself permission to go to another room if I need to, even if that means locking myself in the bathroom for a few minutes.  This week I am going to read to relax.  This week I am going to do my best and then let it go instead of being a crazy woman.  This week I live MY life by MY expectations and MY way.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading, even if I am reading it at a snail’s pace.  I’m really enjoying my e-book.  I just started listening to the Hygge book this morning and I am currently seeking a nice warm sweater and am completely in for cozy.  I’m in a good spot and hopefully I’ll finish like 5 books this week!  (No expectations, though, k?)

Tally Monday- October 8, 2018

Checked Out

  1. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  2. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  3. Giant Days vol 8 by John Allison


  1. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
  2. The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
  3. Alfred Hitchcock’s Daring Detectives


  1. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. “A Box of Hope” by Brian Panowich

Last week I spent a lot of time reading.  I read way more than I have been.  I read on the couch.  I read in bed.  I read at work.  I read because what I was reading, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, made me feel wonderfully nostalgic, made me laugh, made me cry.  It was a wonderful experience and i am glad that I had it.

I’ve had the feeling lately like nothing is fun and I don’t get joy out of anything but that isn’t true at all.  It’s just that right now I am living a life that forces me to MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS I LOVE instead of just scraping by.  The problem with that is that I am usually just scraping by.  I get my work done.  I spend time with my family.  I’m exhausted.

Last Monday I talked about how I was going to try to live without expectations for the month of October and I have to confess that I failed miserably at that.  Last week was pretty great Monday through Wednesday.  I had a good time.  I took it easy on myself.  I read and I ate food I liked and I hung out with Hubby and Little Dude and it was all very nice.  Then the expectations crept back in and Thursday morning was miserable and Thursday evening was miserable because I couldn’t shake it and that bled into Friday and then Hubby went to bed super early on Friday and I had been expecting to have a good time and then Saturday I worked really hard and got a lot done but at the end of it was exhausted for the get together I went to.

But Saturday night I had fun and Sunday was okay until I had expectations.  I think that I’m really seeing the devil in this whole thing.

Basically, I know that reading is something that brings me joy and balance and those are two things that I really need to be investing in right now.

An update on my audiobook hiatus:  I’m really enjoying the break!  I’ve listened to music that I forgot I loved and discovered a new podcast that has me thinking thinks!  I’m glad I lowered my expectations of myself and opened up to doing something different!

(OMG, guys.  I’m so tired.  I’m pretty sure this was a shit Tally Monday but I’m too tired to even re-read it.)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I don’t remember what made this book pop in my head way back in July.  All I know is that I was sitting at my desk one day and I thought about it and I could see that green spine on the shelf and I decided that I wanted to re-read it.  I’ve been kind of in the mood for re-reading lately and it seemed like the kind of thing that I could get through quickly.

Now, when I first read this book seven years ago, I thought it was okay.  It was one of those books that had a cult following and I liked my favorite book with a cult following better and that was that.  Though, I apparently liked it enough to give it four stars.

This book was so much better than I remember.

I mean, it’s serious and it deals with really serious issues but it does so with a lot of heart and humor.  I laughed.  I cried.  I gasped at one point and said, “Charlie!  No!”  I read some of it out loud to Hubby, much to his dismay.  I really enjoyed it and it was the kind of book that I found myself wanting to read every chance I got.  It was a great experience.

This is the story of Charlie, who is writing letters to someone who he heard didn’t sleep with that person at that one party.  Charlie is about to start high school and he is nervous.  His only friend, Michael, committed suicide and Charlie is just kind of alone in the world.  Not long after he starts school, he goes to a football game and sits with Patrick, who he knows from shop class, and Sam.  They are seniors and they take him to Big Boy and take him under their wing.  Meanwhile, Charlie’s English teacher is giving him special reading and has told him to participate in the world.  Charlie writes letters through the year as he falls in love, dates, notices things about his family, deals with some heavy stuff, and experiments with illicit substances.  Charlie is mostly clueless which is kind of endearing, even when he does blatantly stupid stuff.  Charlie is also dealing with his mental health and always gives off a feeling of fragility that isn’t explained until later in the book.

This was excellent.  I’m so glad that I reread it!